Member analytics now benefit from AI and big data


CoreData, the Sydney-based global financial services research firm, has launched a subsidiary which specialises in providing analytics to big super funds and other financial institutions of their members’ activity patterns, seeking to predict member actions. It’s called Janus Analytics.

Janus, which has already secured some clients, starting with Swiss Re, differentiates itself by combining external data, such as through artificial intelligence (AI), with the organisation’s own proprietary information. It competes with Link Group’s Empirics and some smaller providers.

Andrew Inwood, principal of CoreData, who founded the firm in 2002, said that when people spoke about “big data” they often had an inability to triage the inputs with the actions which resulted.

“A common mistake, for instance,” he said, “is to mistake the frequency of certain activities on the web with likely actions, such as changing funds… Perhaps they checked their super fund balance every day but were not going to go anywhere. They may be a pensioner who uses it like a bank account.”

So, Janus built a learning algorithm to triangulate the data and give a richer set of genuine information for the client. Inwood likes to use the company slogan, “Different. Special. Better.”, with respect of the new business as well as the firm’s traditional surveying of investor attitudes, in Australia, the UK and US.

Mark Brackenrig, a data scientist with Janus, said the firm did not “just take a data view of the world”. It combines multiple data sources, both primary and secondary, to “really understand what’s going on”. It was very important to understand that was behind the drivers, he said. The firm also analyses “unstructured” data, which is often difficult to collate and analyse.

Tai Rotem, the director, research, said the business was born out of other work being done at CoreData, involving a multi-disciplinary approach. The result of more than two years work was a system which was “robust, scalable and hard to replicate”.

Inwood decided to ring-fence Janus with its own corporate structure to better allow for growth and direct ownership by management.

Janus provides tailored services. With one client fund this even got down to providing the scripts for contact point people at the fund to use in their discussions with members.

The tool sits inside the fund’s system, so, if it has the resources, it can do the analytics itself.

– G.B.