I have been working in the Financial Sector for approximately 34 years now, and when I started as a Life New Business filing clerk at Scottish Amicable (now Prudential) in Stirling back in 1987, there was no way I could have imagined the different career journeys and locations I would have travelled to before I became a Client Relationship Manager with Bravura Solutions based in the Edinburgh office.
Over the years I gained some great experience working with Sottish Amicable, Scottish Widows and Bank of New York Mellon (formerly RBS Trust Bank) in Life Underwriting, Pensions Administration, Investment Administration, Training and finally, systems testing on Bravura’s Transfer Agency platform Rufus. Working with the Rufus platform gave me the appetite to switch over to Bravura Solutions from the Bank of New York Mellon in 2008 when I worked in the Luxembourg office.
I originally joined Bravura as a pre-sales consultant in the Product Team and progressed into a Business Architect role when moving to London in 2009 becoming a ‘Product Expert’ and helping our clients with their system enhancement requests. This role also allowed me the opportunity to visit new prospects and clients to review their requirements and discuss equivalent Bravura Solutions product functionality or suggest potential alternatives if any gaps existed.
In 2014, I moved into my current role as a Client Relationship Manager and have responsibility for the service provided to my clients and act as a point of senior escalation for problems, issues, and urgent requests among other responsibilities that include assisting the business development team with software demonstrations and propositions.
I have concentrated on the Funds Admin space with Bravura over the past 14 years and a priority I have seen for our clients has always been to reduce the costs of providing fund administration. As their funds with less complex investment strategies get squeezed, our clients will be looking for ways to stand out with more differentiated products. Some of the most promising areas will likely include more exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and the rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds.
Historically, fund administration was originally carried out using paperwork and wet signatures but today we are increasingly moving toward automation where possible for many of these tasks to help reduce costs including Straight Through Processing of dealing via SWIFT, Calastone and EMX using Babel and self-service via web portals for Corporate and Retail investors using TaWeb. Bravura has also introduced a new machine-learning tool called Stanza that can read incoming e-mails and direct them to correct workflow queues to reduce the need for manual intervention.
At Bravura, we are looking to support change with the progression of our product suite to a microservice ecosystem that can support individual requirements and allow a gradual move to a new platform rather than a big bang approach. Alternatively, if our clients only want certain microservices, we can supplement their existing systems. To supplement this move to microservices we are also introducing external API services that can access the features and data of these services.
In addition to change, our clients are looking for increasing resiliency with our applications in the hosted environments. To assist with this, we are progressing with a move to Cloud Services which will bring improved scalability, availability, and reliability along with increased agility and flexibility for new projects and features.
I know that we will continue to be a leading global provider of transfer agency software solutions with these new ventures.