Trusted data: mirage or nirvana?

The C-suite talks of how the interface between technology, data and the business is critical for data success.

A C-Suite perspective on what matters when it comes to data


Words and definitions matter. So many of our industry’s conversations around data use evocative and metaphorical language: ‘data integrity’ , ‘golden sources’ of data, ‘single source of the truth’ - the vocabulary borders on the religious and mystical, at odds with the prosaic reality of LEIs, ISINs, and NAVs. Since ‘data’ covers such a wide field, the use of broad and imprecise language is hard to avoid, and in many cases, it is a useful way to convey an essential shared property of data management realities and best practices.

None more so for the notion of ‘trusted data’. The concept of trust is essential in financial data management - a direct and necessary quality for any financial relationship or transaction. Our relationships with banks, asset managers, wealth advisors, insurers and, other FSIs are underwritten by a trust relationship, codified in best practices, codes of conduct, societal conventions, and in many cases - regulation and the law. 

While everyone agrees that trust is important - it is notoriously hard to define. What makes an institution, a brand, an individual or a piece of financial data ‘trusted’? The dictionary definitions don’t help: trust is "a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something" - setting us up for the definition of belief: "an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof". Going around in circles is an experience familiar to many data professionals ….

Does this tendency to talk about data and trust in religious and mystical language leave us with enough firm ground to build specific, tangible and outcome-focused data management projects?

To understand why and how data can be labeled as ‘trusted’ data, we wanted to build on the findings of our 2019 Data Exception Management paper to get a more holistic view of how senior executives (CEOs, CTOs, COOs) are defining trusted data vs fit-for-purpose data, and how digital transformation and tech innovation are changing the rules of the game.

This research combines findings from a survey of 90+ Financial Services executives and in-person interviews to better understand what ‘trusted data’ means, and why it matters to the C-suite.

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