Stephen Fice, Head of Operations for Bravura Solutions’ Global Transfer Agency business, examines the commercial drivers for technology migration. He shares his insight into how to manage the winning formula of achieving a quick and manageable transition.
Technology migration projects are sometimes viewed as a major undertaking fraught with risk and uncertainty. However, there comes a point where further investment in old technology isn’t sustainable and this applies in the transfer agency (TA) investment administration market as much as any other.
A transformation to modern, open architecture software can provide a fresh impetus to create opportunities for business growth that wouldn’t otherwise exist. The winning formula is in achieving such transformation quickly and with appropriate control and risk mitigation.
To be clear, technology migration itself isn’t the whole story.
Asset managers and third party administrators must become more focused on client retention and strategies to attract millennials into investing, alongside baby-boomers moving into retirement. The TA capability is increasingly important to the investor experience and administrators need to adapt to changes in consumer and distributor preferences and demands across global markets.
The need for slick, integrated, cost-efficient operations has never been greater. This means straight-through processing and digital self-service functionality on web-enabled technology that can seamlessly deliver the optimal consumer experience across investing and reporting with easy yet secure access.
With such constantly shifting requirements, it’s reasonable to expect TA providers to migrate to technology that supports low cost innovation. Technology with a flexible web front end to deliver quick responses to evolving consumer and regulatory demands becomes critical to business growth.
Despite the perceived risk and uncertainty of change, more often than not there could be significantly bigger risks with side-stepping migration. Many businesses are realising this and those with a clear commitment to change, and a strong partnership with their technology provider, are reaping the rewards. Successful migration projects bring long term operational dividends alongside an enhanced investor experience.
Of course, as with any project, having an experienced team and the proven migration approach is critical. Comprising business and technology experts, the team must have the right blend of software, industry and business expertise. The approach taken should be controlled and repeatable and more akin to following a well-trodden path than a hack through the undergrowth!
Choice of technology partner will always be a key decision. Best of breed solutions and proven capability are a given. Sometimes it’s overlooked, but a good cultural fit and a governance approach that prioritises business critical processes are vitally important. To fully realise the benefits of migrating to next generation technology, providers must also commit to embedding new best practice processes throughout the organisation. A strong partnership through change means the required cultural shift within the business is more likely to be successful.
The pain of change may not be as great as you think if you go through it with a technology partner who shares a clear vision of what your clients and business need.