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Connexus : Issue 40
Finding a strategic partner From spreadsheets to systems Financial institutions are looking for more cost-effective ways of working as they see their margins being squeezed by a combination of increased competition and new legislation. Outsourcing is an option, says Richard Palmer, managing director of fnancial ser vices technology provider FIS Australasia. While mutuals can’t “out-invest” the global players, they can look to improve effciency and control capital costs. "Investing in new technology to help meet rising customer expectations and to maintain a consistent experience across multiple products and channels, can be a specialist, risky business and the sums involved can be colossal," he says. “A well-str uctured outsourcing arrangement can replace speculative lump-sum capital expenditure with smooth, predictable expenditure that is directly related to business volume. It empowers a small organisation to extend its digital reach far beyond bricks and mortar." But choosing the right partner requires careful planning and meticulous due diligence, warns Palmer. An outsourcing provider should have suffcient scale to justify strategic investment in systems and software. "The ideal outsourcer is a strategic partner that offers fexibility and choice based on shared business goals. This may involve a mix of outsourced and managed ser vices while some functions are retained in-house,” says Palmer. "Over time, roles and responsibilities of the two parties will evolve, but a fnancial institution should always retain control over its product design, marketing and customer ser vice," Palmer says. For more information go to www.fnis.com.au A lean and effcient treasury function is critical to maintaining a strong and well-funded mutual. While treasury operations in the past have relied on either spreadsheets or external advice, today there's an understanding of the benefts of a treasury system, says Glen Giffen, head of business development at Visual Risk, a treasury solutions company. "These include the ability to maximise operational effciency, optimise balance sheet performance and ensure that the mutual is operating within acceptable risk limits." Qantas Staff Credit Union treasurer Anthony Moir says his organisation has recently started implementing a treasury system. "Really, we'd reached a stage of maturity whereby a treasury system was necessary to support the increased complexity of our operations," he says. "For a credit union of our size and ambition we'd outgrown spreadsheets and, over time, the case for moving to a treasury system had become obvious," Moir says. Treasury system technology is evolving rapidly, says Giffen. "Typically, modules are available to deal with areas such as asset- liability management, liquidity management, treasury operations and hedge accounting. These modules can be combined to build an end-to-end solution providing complete visibility across the treasury operation," he says. The process of implementing systems has been streamlined in recent years, says Giffen. A fully operational system can usually be in place within four to six weeks, he says, thanks largely to the modular software package. "In an increasingly tough operating environment, embracing clever technology and optimising treasury performance has never been more important. "A treasury system may ultimately prove to be the competitive edge needed to stay ahead of the game," Giffen says. For more information go to www.visualrisk. com For a credit union of our size and ambition we'd outgrown spreadsheets and, over time, the case for moving to a treasury system had become obvious. While mutuals can't “out-invest” the global players, they can look to improve efficiency and control capital costs. 38 Connexus Technology