Global asset manager Schroders and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions firm Nexus FrontierTech today announced the successful development of a Proof-of-Concept (POC) for a data parsing and extraction solution that achieved over 97% extraction accuracy. The successful POC is the first step in developing and integrating an AI solution that will help Schroders’ Fund Accounting to accurately complete reporting validation checks in just half the current timeframe.
The collaboration between the two parties took root in March 2021 on the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Open Innovation Platform (OIP), hosted by Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS)’s Digital Accelerator Programme, that connects and matches problem owners, consisting of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, and government agencies, to a pool of problem solvers with a range of expertise.
Nexus, an AI software and systems development firm that automates and accelerates business processes involving large amounts of fragmented and unstructured data, proposed the creation of a custom-built, industry-specific data parsing and extraction solution.
Using a combination of a new, multi-step engineering method combining Computer Vision and Machine Learning techniques, traditional Optical Character Recognition (“OCR”), and financial-industry specific Natural Language Processing (“NLP”) to detect domain-specific content, the solution’s POC aimed to achieve three main objectives:
The timeframe of the POC build was just over 3 months, beginning early September and successfully completed in December. Results far exceeded expectations, with Nexus’ Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) model:
The POC successfully demonstrated the technical feasibility and potential business value of applying intelligent data parsing to address user pain points and improve user productivity.
Chwee Kan Chua, Global Head of Operations Innovation, Schroders, commented, “Next-gen NLP-as-a-service is fuelled by the demands of accessible AI models to quickly and accurately extract and process complex data that was previously impossible or extremely labour-intensive. By leveraging such capabilities, Schroders can rapidly scale up operations to meet the increasing demands of the business without compromising our quality of service to our clients.”
“With Schroders’ deep domain knowledge of the asset management industry and our IDP capabilities, we’re confident that this partnership will yield numerous benefits for not only the two companies but for the asset management industry as a whole,” added Nexus FrontierTech Chief Operating Officer, Derrick Liao.
“This POC is an important milestone in an industry that is witnessing tremendous growth and under enormous pressure to enhance operational efficiency and satisfy customers. Asset managers are now more than ever depending on Machine Learning and AI technologies to stay competitive, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with Schroders in their move towards digitalisation.”
Schroders and Nexus are moving forward to define the path to production, integrating the models built into the Schroders Fund Accounting team’s day-to-day operations, and will continue working together to achieve further breakthroughs for the asset management sector via intelligent data parsing and reap significantly improved operational efficiencies.
 These tables had high variation due to non-standardised structures featuring multiple pages and columns, increasing the level of difficulty in achieving high accuracy in typical data extraction projects
 Estimated market standard for accuracy levels in artificial intelligence
Founded in 1804, Schroders is one of Europe’s largest independent investment management firms by assets under management. As at 30 September 2021, assets under management were £716.9 billion. The founding family remain a core shareholder, holding approximately 48% of the firm’s voting shares. Schroders has continued to deliver strong financial results. It has a market capitalisation of over £9 billion and employs over 5,500 people across 37 locations. Schroders offers innovative products and solutions across their five business areas of solutions; institutional; mutual funds; private assets & alternatives; and wealth management. Clients include insurance companies, pension schemes, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and foundations. They also manage assets for end clients as part of their relationships with distributors, financial advisers and online platforms. Schroders’ Wealth Management offering reflects their strategic ambition to provide wealth management and financial planning services to clients across the wealth spectrum.
Schroders’ strategic aims are to grow their asset management business, build closer relationships with end clients and expand their private assets and alternatives business. Schroders’ purpose is to provide excellent investment performance to clients through active management. The business channels capital into sustainable and durable businesses to accelerate positive change in the world. Schroders’ business philosophy is based on the belief that if they deliver for clients, they deliver for Shareholders and other stakeholders.
Nexus FrontierTech accelerates enterprises by building Artificial Intelligence solutions that automate intensive processes and enable more efficient and effective use of data. Since 2015, Nexus has successfully partnered with financial, governmental and other organisations to streamline operations and optimise performance. With a global team of more than 100 AI researchers, analysts and business leaders, Nexus has developed a flagship AI platform with three key financial data processing products, targeting workflows in ESG analysis, financial modelling, and risk management. Nexus envisages a digital world transformation that maximises human potential and sustainable value creation.
The Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS) is a representative body of investment managers spearheading the development of the industry in Singapore. IMAS joined Schroders as an industry partner in the OIP challenge, looking at the solutions from a broader asset management outlook.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) develops and regulates the converging infocomm and media sectors in Singapore in a holistic way, creating a dynamic and exciting sector filled with opportunities for growth, through an emphasis on talent, research, innovation and enterprise. The IMDA acts as host of the OIP, bringing together problem owners and problem solvers to accelerate digital innovation
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