• Is your investment and research process data drawn from a consolidated source?
  • Is the data used in your spreadsheets and reports centralised and easily accessible to all?

No? You may be a victim of the spaghetti knot.

  • Do changes to research reports take too long, and need considerable involvement from IT?
  • Do you warehouse data and algorithms in spreadsheets?
  • Do your spreadsheets have many links and dependencies?

Yes? You probably are a victim of the spaghetti knot.

What is a spaghetti knot?

Many role players are involved in the investment and research process. This includes investment analysts, fund managers, economists and the risk and compliance teams. These role players retrieve data from various data providers, be they Bloomberg, the London Stock Exchange or a Portfolio Administration system. Resources also use third-party tools and applications to generate research and make decisions. However, almost all role players generate and share data using Microsoft Excel®, an ideal tool for the job.

The problem arises when many spreadsheets are maintained by many staff members, with several links and interdependencies. The above combination of factors can create a scenario that resembles a tangle of spaghetti – complex, messy, prone to duplication and error, and greatly inefficient.

My experience of such a spaghetti knot

I was brought in as a consultant to analyse a company’s investment and research process early in my career. The situation I found was as described above: many role players, many data providers, many third-party tools and applications, and many interlinked spreadsheets.

I found that the spreadsheets had layer upon layer of dependencies. The situation was complex and difficult to unravel and understand. Also, a lot of data was stored in spreadsheets as opposed to a centralised data warehouse.

After much untangling, I discovered that there was one core spreadsheet, containing a great deal of data. Most of the other spreadsheets linked to this core sheet in some way, often indirectly. This spreadsheet had been created by a staff member who had left six months previously. So no one was responsible for the spreadsheet. The data was not being maintained or updated, meaning that many of the dependent reports were erroneous, inaccurate and out of date.

As you can imagine, when investment analysts requested changes to reports, the work took a long time, and necessitated many complex and time-consuming changes, with a great deal of input from the IT team.

A spaghetti knot:


A pervasive problem throughout the investment management industry

With experience, I realised that this situation was not unique, but in fact very common in the industry.

How Quintessence can facilitate the unravelling of your spaghetti knot

Quintessence enables asset managers to efficiently manage and streamline their investment and research process. The system allows and manages the consolidation of investment research data into a central repository. Seamless integration with your business is achieved through the provision of Quintessence functions in Microsoft Excel®, allowing your employees to access research data and create powerful dynamic reports with ease. Research analysts can develop and deploy tools to aid the investment research process.

Excel® spreadsheets have the functionality to dynamically retrieve data from Quintessence using Excel® functions. This platform also provides functionality to maintain and insert data back into your central warehouse from Excel®.

All role players can continue to use Excel®

Most importantly, all role players can continue to use Excel®, the tool they are comfortable with, but there are no longer complex links and interdependencies between spreadsheets. Excel® is no longer used to store data, but is used as a presentation layer for data, a use that it is well suited for.

Result? The spaghetti knot is unravelled throughout your business.

Quintessence facilitates the design, implementation and management of a company’s proprietary investment and research process. The Quintessence platform enables a company to maintain a single data warehouse, facilitating all investment and research processes across multiple locations. Changes to reports are quick and simple and can be made by the investment teams with no or minimal involvement from IT.

An unravelled spaghetti knot:


Want help unravelling your spaghetti knot? Contact us for more information.

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