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Commerzbank: Meeting Risk, Regulatory and Cost Management Requirements with Asset Control
7 July 2015

International commercial bank, Commerzbank, has developed and implemented a centralised data management platform which facilitates effective risk management, whilst meeting the three critical factors of timeliness, quality and cost. Christian Knapp, Vice President, Commerzbank, explains how the institution has worked with Asset Control to establish these robust processes and methods for its market and counterparty risk calculations.

The Business

Commerzbank, founded in 1870, is a leading international commercial bank, with branches and offices in more than 50 countries. Its core markets are Germany and Poland and its private customers and corporate clients, as well as institutional investors, profit from a comprehensive portfolio of banking and capital market services.

Commerzbank boasts approximately 15 million private customers and 1 million business and corporate clients. The Bank is represented at all the world’s major stock exchanges. In 2014, it generated gross revenues of almost EUR 9 billion with an average of approximately 52,000 employees.

In the mid to late nineties, the need for quality assured market data and its timely delivery to systems was heightened by the evolving regulatory environment. Risk control and management became a fixed item on Commerzbank’s board meeting agenda. This focus led the bank to look for a technology platform and a partner with whom it could work to establish strong data management processes. Commerzbank chose Asset Control to fulfil this role, which has since evolved to sit at the core of the organisation’s market data depository service: MDDS.

 

MDDS: Delivering market data downstream

Commerzbank receives market data from a number of providers (10 different interfaces), covering equities and indices, bonds and futures, interest rates, volatilities and ratings (~17 million instruments; 500,000 live instruments). This data is requested on a daily basis by approximately 20 systems within Commerzbank’s Risk, Finance and Business divisions globally, in a variety of formats. It is MDDS’s responsibility to ensure that its clients get the data they need in a timely fashion.

Christian Knapp explains: “MDDS provides a range of services to our users. Its primary responsibility is the research, analysis, sourcing, prioritisation and derivation of market data to systems downstream. It is the central source for near-time, independent and validated market data and is the system for all market data processes and methods for Market and Counterparty risk calculation.”

Central to the MDDS system is Asset Control’s data management platform. Asset Control provides key functionality for Commerzbank in its ability to store raw data and calculate and store derived and statistical market data based on the bank’s own methods and processes.

“Asset Control is the original model for the different data sources and the way in which risk is calculated,” Christian continues.

“It provides snapshots of the raw market data for key time zones across all asset classes, as well as historical data for risk calculations and derived data. Finally, Asset Control enables us to centralise and manage the daily automatic and manual validation processes.”

 

The Benefits

Together, MDDS and Asset Control are integral to Commerzbank’s use of market data and its risk management. The data management platform allows the bank to meet compliance regulations and has improved its ability to process an increasing number of audits, whilst also addressing the three critical factors of timeliness, quality and cost.

“We are increasingly responsive to our users’ intra-day needs and can now demonstrate that we are able to calculate exposures in a timely manner on the basis of consistent data.” Christian says.

“In addition, data quality and integrity is of prime importance. Asset Control provides full transparency with audit trails and as-of-date queries. Raw data is stored in the way it was received and Golden Copies are derived based on transparent user-defined rules.”

“Finally, it is providing us with detailed knowledge on the data flow, tracking how the incoming data we have acquired moves throughout the system. This is a basic requirement to then optimise our costs. Asset Control ensures the quality, timeliness and flexibility in risk data management that today’s financial markets demand.”

 

The future with Asset Control

Commerzbank has recently upgraded to Asset Control’s 7.3 platform. This upgrade offers enhanced audit functionality that will enable the bank to further monitor, audit and report on the changes that have been made within the data system, a gradually emerging regulatory requirement. It will also provide the institution with the ability to continuously improve its data management system and processes.

Christian concludes: “The financial market and sovereign debt crisis has fundamentally changed the conditions for the banking sector. We will continue to focus on optimising the quality and timeliness with which market data is used throughout our organisation. Asset Control has been part of this process for over 15 years and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.”

 

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