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Aviva Investors

Transforming data workflow for informed decision-making

Macrobond helped transform the asset manager’s end-to-end buyside workflow by fully integrating the insights from its economists, strategists and quantitative analysts into the heart of its investment process.
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The opportunity

Like many complex financial organisations, Aviva Investors has a large team of analysts and strategists who regularly acquire, analyse and chart huge volumes of data that then need to be shared with portfolio managers and other teams across the organisation, as well as with external stakeholders. They would typically create these charts in Excel, copy them one by one to PowerPoint, then circulate the resulting document via e-mail. The workflow was laborious – charts had to be manually updated and re-sent as markets evolved – and not entirely reliable: charts were often already outdated by the time they were received. Aviva thus wanted to explore a solution for delivering ‘live’ charts that would always reflect the latest updates, helping portfolio managers make more informed investment decisions.

The approach

A few of Aviva’s economists and strategists were already using Macrobond, which enables them to quickly source and convert data into dynamic charts via built-in analytics and visualisation tools. What they needed was a way to share these charts across the organisation and externally, so everyone had access to a single source of truth that would never go out of date.

Stage 1: Transition from Excel

First, the team made Macrobond their default system for sourcing, analysing and visualising data – including third-party data. Key to this decision was the fact that Macrobond’s open architecture allowed them to ingest and work with premium content from suppliers such as Bloomberg, and crucially, with Aviva’s own proprietary data as well. This meant they no longer had to rely on Excel for chart creation – eliminating the wasted hours spent manually entering, manipulating and updating data.

Stage 2: Bring in the quants

Aviva also needed to integrate the firm’s quantitative analysts into this workflow so they could create econometric models with the same efficiency, from the same data, and seamlessly share those insights with their colleagues. Enter Macrobond’s premium Data+ licence and web API solution, which allow users to quickly access and extract raw, true-to-source data on demand from Macrobond’s entire universe of 285 million timeseries. The API is fully compatible with all popular programming languages including Python, MATLAB and others. With Data+, users can take unlimited amounts of data into their desktop environment for research before sending web API requests for any data they need in their production environment. Crucially, the connection is two-way, allowing the models created to be sent back to Macrobond for use by the rest of the team.

Stage 3: Create live-sharing platform

The next step was to enable others across the organisation, especially the portfolio managers, to see and view the charts and models – even if they don’t have a Macrobond subscription. The solution needed to fulfill several criteria:

  • Users can view and download the latest charts created by Aviva’s economists and strategists
  • Both creators and recipients of PowerPoint documents can instantly update the charts embedded within them
  • Recipients can make stylistic edits to the charts
  • The interface is simple and easy to use

Working in close partnership, Aviva and Macrobond developed Macrobond Viewer, a ‘lite,’ read-only version of the core Macrobond product. It provides live access to the thinking of Aviva’s in-house experts. This means users will always see the most current version of a chart, no matter when or how they view it. This includes charts embedded in PowerPoint decks circulated by the research team. With just one click, the charts automatically update to reflect the latest changes.

Stage 4: Extend workflow to external publication process

Now that Aviva had streamlined and harmonised its internal processes, it wanted to extend that simplified workflow to the material it shares externally. With Macrobond, users can integrate their company’s branded assets into the system. This means they can publish the charts they create in Macrobond without having to redesign or brand them for external audiences.


With in-house experts all working off a single platform to source, analyse and chart data – and with portfolio managers and other colleagues getting live access to the team’s latest work, Aviva Investors have realised several gains:

  • Enhanced trust: Portfolio managers can be confident that all charts they see or receive represent the current house view
  • Time savings: No one needs to manually create charts in Excel or copy and paste them on to PowerPoint or other documents and channels
  • Greater flexibility: Colleagues in any location can instantly access the latest research and charts
  • Improved productivity: Teams can spend their time discussing what the data shows rather than whether the data is correct.
"What’s really been the game changer for us over the last couple of years is the way in which we’ve been able to integrate our research more fully into the investment process from one end to the other and engage the portfolio management teams. And the key there has been the Macrobond Viewer.”
Mick Grady
Chief Economist and Head of Strategy
Aviva Investors
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