It’s undeniable that the future is indeed digital. While some form of technological intervention has always been around, more and more, intelligent automation is changing the landscape for many investment industry businesses.
South Africa has for a long time been at the forefront of digitisation and collaboration, Saswitch for banks, and Finswitch in the Manco space are two areas where SA were early adopters. Already firms have embraced en masse the adoption of digital finance mechanisms having leveraged services like Internet banking, mobile, contactless payments and mechanisms for financial inclusion, globalisation and wider Internet accessibility. Developments extend from internal, core functions and processes to market-facing customer engagement and service options.
The Curo strategy
Digitisation has long been a part of Curo’s strategy and we are in the process of overhauling processes, removing unnecessary human intervention and reducing risk. Technology is an important aspect of our business so we are introducing high levels of automation, seamless processing, and integration between front and back office.
“It’s about being able to automate the flow of information from the asset manager to the administrator and back again,” explains Business Development Executive, Darren Botha.
“When viewing processes we take the end to end value chain into account and look to minimise non-value adding steps, while automating those that do add value. The automation of bad processes is counter-productive – doing something badly quickly does not benefit our clients”.
Curo has invested in the automation of the all-important trade processes to standardise and simplify these, and to allow our teams to focus on trade exceptions and not trade processing. These efforts are all with a view to mitigating risk without diminishing returns. Globally, the speed and efficiency of intelligent solutions are unparalleled. And these developments are evolving even more.
We strive to be a world-class services organisation offering experienced people who provide core third-party administration (TPA) services to the investment industry. Our mission is to enhance consumers’ financial dreams and goals by providing our clients with reliable services through innovative means and domain expertise.
Robotic Process Automation
Curo’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been around for some time and has already been entrenched to further optimise operations. Operations Executive, Lance Jacobs, explains, “In 2018 we introduced RPA into our business. The point of this automation was to get rid of the daily focus on mundane processes and allow staff opportunities to use their skills for problem solving, decision making and client investigation”.
“Our RPA capability continues to be rolled out within the operational environment by automating various processes to eliminate repetitive tasks being conducted by staff on a daily basis”.
“Our Cash Management team, for example, is, thus far, able to process approximately 4200 trade transactions per day with an additional 250 EFT transactions per day. Price source and scrubbing, Corporate Actions, Equities, Derivatives, NAV, Transitions and Off-market teams have all benefitted from the use of RPA. Error rates due to incorrect capturing have dropped significantly since inception, due to less human, manual intervention”.
The Atlas Platform
Using best of breed integration solutions, Curo started the process of transitioning to an ‘instruction format agnostic’ operation, while internal processes remain at standard, global best practice. With the expansion of the global Fintech market we were able to partner with providers offering global best practice, thereby reducing time to market and the cost of internal development. These partnerships encompass our full, end-to-end value proposition.
“Two years ago, we started a partnership with international industry leader, Temenos, to move funds to a new accounting platform. The product from Temenos is called Multifonds and provides simple architecture, enabling more automated exception-based processing to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and open up new opportunities for growth,” explains Botha.
“We are in the process of migrating more than 3000 funds from our legacy fund accounting platforms to a single Global Accounting platform which we have branded the Atlas Platform. We view this technology platform not just through the traditional lens of efficiency and cost, but the future opportunities it can create by facilitating entry into new markets, new and innovative services and new business opportunities. The switch further helps to provide cost effectiveness and delivery of quality, best-in-class services for clients”.
“In addition to Multifonds, we have recently partnered with Smartstream and Fund Recs who will each provide fit-for-purpose solutions in their niche fields”.
Market developments and the impact of COVID-19 have accelerated the digitalisation of currencies, markets and societies at large. At Curo, we are nearing the conclusion of our own digitalisation journey.
Botha concludes, “We strive for consistency and standardisation in order to easily cater for volume. Our value proposition is to delight customers through frictionless, accurate, reliable processes and associated expertise”.