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5 min read

Supporting the investment philosophy at Formue with a rich data estate

Supporting the investment philosophy at Formue with a rich data estate

Founded in the year 2000 with over 350 employees across Sweden, Norway and Denmark, Formue provides its clients with advisory services and management of their NOK 128 billion in assets. The company is growing, bolstering their presence in the Nordic region with new offices in Sweden and expanded to Denmark as well. Amidst this growth, Formue stays laser focused on their goal of developing ever more valuable services and advise for their clients.

Awarded digital wealth management initiative of the year 2022 by Aite

Supporting the investment philosophy at Formue with a rich data estate

Already back in 2016, Formue realized that modern client reporting is a critical component of holistic wealth management. With the goal of provisioning self-service insights to both advisors and individual clients, the company started a journey towards a modern, automated data estate and user-friendly tools for reports, visualizations and analysis.

“Reporting is the connective tissue between all aspects of an investor’s balance sheet, and their financial goals. The translation from dollars to action is particularly important for high-net-worth-investors.”
Anders Zachrisson, Head of Strategy, Formue

To accelerate this journey, Formue evaluated different tools for ETL and reporting. After careful contemplation, Formue decided to deploy TimeXtender in combination with Qlik Sense. Liv Bøstrand, Head of Data and Analytics at Formue explained the inspiration: “We really looked at the needs. We had a need to combine data, but we only had one developer, Henning Naarlien-Tolpinrud. So with limited capacity we didn’t want to invest in writing scripts and code for data ingestion and preparation. We understood that, even with TimeXtender, you cannot automate the logical thinking, but the tool would definitely allow us to do more with less.”

When the decision to go with TimeXtender and Qlik Sense was made, the implementation process to redesign and reimplement the current SQL server-based data estate using TimeXtender started. Henning, the consultant orchestrating the deployment, was impressed with the speed of the whole process. “Things really came together quickly,” he said. “We started the first phase of the project on October 25th and by January 20th, even with Christmas and New Year vacations in there, we had reimplemented a new data warehouse, defined data marts and launched a Qlik Sense dashboard for 140 advisors – all with the simple, drag-and-drop user interface from TimeXtender. This first delivery was based on two data sources, our portfolio management system and the CRM system SuperOffice.”

Soon after this deployment, Formue decided to roll out Salesforce as their new CRM-system. Developer and architect Henning credits TimeXtender with making the rollout process smooth. “During this process, we again gained value from TimeXtender,” he says. “Of course, we had to make some changes in TimeXtender following the deployment of Salesforce, but this was done using drag-and-drop instead of coding and scripting. We changed over to Salesforce without making any changes in Qlik for any of the reports involving data from the CRM system. We just transitioned, from one day to the other, without any impact on the advisors in terms of reporting.”

“TimeXtender enables Formue to transition to Salesforce from one day to the other in terms of reporting, without any impact on our advisors.”
Henning Naarlien-Tolpinrud, Founder and Insights Architect, Tallmaker

In the beginning of 2018, Formue was ready to take the next step, and set out to develop a platform for holistic client reporting. “This new reporting platform had to allow our clients to assess their portfolio on a wide range of KPI’s, from overview of returns to portfolio analysis on geographical and fund level» said Liv Bøstrand. “The reporting solution had to embody the principles of modern reporting, and had to incorporate external data, amongst others from Bloomberg,” she explained.  Despite the challenges one might expect to encounter in this process, Henning found again that TimeXtender made the process seamless. “This might seem daunting, but with TimeXtender you can get connectors to 250+ sources, that includes the most common cloud based services, and all the databases and file formats you can think of,” he said. “You don’t have to build tables yourself, which makes connecting new data sources a breeze.”

As with the reporting tool for advisors, the first version of the platform for client reporting was launched within a short timeframe. Liv Bøstrand remarked how Henning implemented the data handling part of that first successful version of the reporting platform almost single-handedly, thanks to TimeXtender. “It was really only Henning who did all the data handling, yet from the first day we launched the new platform, it was a leading reporting & analysis platform in our industry” she said. Henning agreed that TimeXtender was a major key to their success, saying, “I had been doing this work for lots of years, and my experience with other development tools was that you can do the same things, but it take 10x the time. With TimeXtender, many of the things that used to take a full day, take only 5 minutes. The tool is extremely effective.”

And TimeXtender has continued to deliver at Formue through the years as the biggest gain of TimeXtender is the agility to add new data sources for reporting and analysis.

A new and growing area of analytics is Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). “When it comes to providing insights and reporting, you need to be able to respond to changes as they occur, whether they are organizational or in terms of business processes,” said Lars Erik Ødegaard, the sustainability engaged addition to the Data and Analytics team at Formue.

And Liv Bøstrand continues: “With TimeXtender we are able to do exactly this - a prime example is the way we were quickly able to incorporate reporting on ESG in our platform. At Formue, sustainability became an important cornerstone of our advice over the past years, as we believe that making sure what is valuable today also needs to benefit future generations. To visualize this for our customers, we incorporated a new sustainability view, incorporating amongst others data from MSCI on ESG-ratings and climate change metrics in our digital reporting tool. Clients can now easily follow visuals and alerts  on how their portfolio performs from a sustainability perspective, aggregated for all funds and investments. Analytics are provided on carbon intensity, as well as an overall ESG Quality Score measuring how underlying companies manage key risk and opportunities that arise from Environmental, Social and Governance factors. This level of portfolio analysis, and the very rich and lean time to report, would not have been possible without TimeXtender.”

“When it comes to providing insights and reporting, you need to be able to respond to changes as they occur, whether they are organizational or in terms of business processes. With TimeXtender we are able to do exactly this, with as prime example the way we were quickly able to incorporate reporting on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) in our platform.”
Liv Bøstrand, Head of Data and Analytics at Formue

The team at Formue was already convinced that their decision back in 2016 to deploy TimeXtender as data estate builder was the right decision. However, the fact that their reporting platform also is an important component in their digital customer service platform, and that this customer platform gets acknowledged by others in the industry is the icing on the cake. Liv Bøstrand feels extremely proud of the digital customer service platform’s success. “Aite-Novarica-Group recently announced the winners of the 2022 Digital Wealth Management Impact Innovation Awards,” she said. “These awards aim to recognize and celebrate the industry’s best and brightest financial services firms across seven dynamic categories – and our digital customer reporting platform won the impact award for ‘Digital Initiative of the Year’ in Europe. This makes us extremely proud and reaffirms the strength of our tools and our team.”

The Data and Analytics team has significantly expanded in recent years, adding new talents and expertise to the team. With the growth, the data warehouse has become the backbone of the organization, supplying data to numerous other solutions that drive important business decisions. As a result, Formue is now a much more data-driven company compared to 2016, and TimeXtender has continued to be an integral part of this evolution by supporting the development and growth of the IT architecture, alongside several other cutting-edge technologies.

About Tallmaker

Tallmaker is a Norwegian company who works with numbers. Your numbers. We make them meet, talk, make them safe and more clever. Our areas of business are usually called Business Intelligence, Analytics, Data Warehouse and Data Management.
Numbers is what we do, it is our expertise.