FundServ amps up automation for investment industry

In a bid to keep pace with the escalating level of automation in the investment fund industry, Toronto-based FundServ has turned to Sajus Technologies Inc.

FundServ was looking

for a business process management solution that could help establish new business rules for automating additional facets of certain financial transactions. It encountered a sea of large providers, all of which lacked the type of “”focused application”” the company craved, explained Carol De Veau, FundServ’s vice-president of business development.

FundServ, the operator of a large investment fund transaction processing system, said it had chosen Sajus’ BPM solution as part of an effort to monitor and optimize business processes, particularly as they relate to nearly three million transactions that flow across its infrastructure every month. FundServ’s transaction system oversees serves nearly 200 investment fund managers, close to 500 distributors and over 40 intermediaries.

Key to the company’s operations is the ability to “”help our customers zero in on areas that can increase their automation levels,”” explained De Veau. The company hopes Sajus’ solution will provide the necessary analytical tools to figure out the business rules that drive the automation of the investment fund industry, she added.

“”There’s an understanding that certain kinds of transactions have certain business rules. And this tool helps you create (those) rules … and look at the exceptions to those rules.””

Prior to adopting BPM Suite, FundServ relied on internal program developers who may have run some analysis of transaction sets, but didn’t have an ongoing analytical tool, said De Veau. “”

By adopting Sajus’ solution, FundSERV can “”truly understand which customers aren’t taking full advantage of (automation), and then go to them to reduce the costs that they pay for transactions,”” said Matthew Smith, vice-president of sales and marketing at Sajus.

De Veau emphasized the software will not “”spit out a solution”” but will provide the company with data it can use to then steer customers toward further automation opportunities.

De Veau noted the ongoing move toward straight through processing within the retail investment fund industry. And FundServ recognizes there is room for more automation than currently exists, she said.

“”We certainly are far along in automating workflow, but in order to go further we recognize that we need to do some analysis that needs to be broad enough to cover our customers.””

Warren Shiau, research manager of Canadian software markets and directions at IDC Canada, also recognized there is room for additional automation of financial transactions.

“”Even (in areas where) there’s a lot of automation, it doesn’t always tend to be across a whole process,”” Shiau said. “”There can be automation of individual elements. And you see that even in enterprise applications. The entire process of taking an order and delivering it to the customer, all your internal accounting, your internal inventory and manufacturing control, all those pieces aren’t always linked together.””

However, Shiau said the automation of financial transactions has come a long way in the last 10 years. In 1994, if someone went to pick up a cheque from their brokerage account in downtown Toronto, “”they’d tell you to go to the cage full of a whole bunch of people typing away on machines.

“”There, you’d get a whole bunch of tickets and you’d get your cheque. Nowadays, you have your bank account tied into your brokerage account, and you can (automatically) access it right from there,”” he said.

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