Dealing with information overload
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Dealing with information overload

Fund managers are deluged by research information. Brokers didn't really consider this when they first started providing data electronically. Now they've been persuaded that choice, not undifferentiated quantity, is what is wanted. Mary Cullinane and Simon Asplen-Taylor look at the latest developments.

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Fund managers suffer from information overload. They constantly appeal to brokers to stop inundating them with research they don't want. The bottom line is that they want to spend their time acting on the research they do want. Do the brokers really understand what the fund manager means by information overload? Have they just ignored this problem and hoped it would go away? Or are there real reasons why it has not yet been solved?

A real example of a large fund management firm for which information overload was a serious problem is instructive. Individual fund managers were receiving metre-high piles of research, on average, every day. This was taking several hours to filter, sort, circulate and file at a cost of more than £50,000 a year.

The investment house was unhappy with the speed of searching for research through physical archives, not to mention worries about the ecological impact and disaster recovery. It decided to move to the paperless office by using an electronic research service.

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