ClusterSeven: Spreadsheet Management in BlackRock
Posted: 1 November 2013 | Source: Cluster Seven Services Ltd
BlackRock® is one of the world’s pre-eminent asset management firms and a premier provider of investment management, risk management and advisory services to institutional, intermediary and individual investors around the world.
BlackRock is a fast paced firm with new products and processes being created all the time. Excel plays an important role in innovation and is often used to prototype these products and processes. Whilst being innovative, it is important that controls are in place to prevent Blackrock being exposed to monetary, reputational and technology risk. The challenges presented were:
- Reduce and control spreadsheet risk
- Add control without making it onerous for users
- Meet regulatory requirements around the use of spreadsheets in business critical processes
The high-level objectives set out in BlackRock’s Global Spreadsheet Policy are to reduce the risks associated with spreadsheet use by:
- Making the use of spreadsheets and their business purposes more transparent
- Highlighting potential development needs in core systems
- Assigning risk metrics to prioritize spreadsheet remediation efforts
- Ensuring that spreadsheets are used from a secure environment where they are backed up and where changes are monitored
Ensuring spreadsheet-dependent business processes can sustain the loss of one or more key people
A spreadsheet is considered in scope for BlackRock’s Global Spreadsheet Policy if it meets BOTH of the following criteria:
Operates as an application driving a process that presents a high level of monetary, reputational or technology risk
Contains a high degree of complexity. For example, the spreadsheet includes complex use of formulas and calculation, a high number of connections to multiple worksheets or external data sources, or employs macros or other code.