Information Mosaic used this year’s Sibos as the platform to launch its new IMConnecting solution, which purports to provide a next gen interface to the post-trade environment for front office users and clients with its handheld device compatibility. Custody bank ING is the first to implement the solution in beta form and will install it in the first quarter of 2011 in three or four countries in Eastern Europe, explains Information Mosaic’s deputy CEO Grace O’Donnell.
In line with a number of other mobile technology friendly solutions launched at the Swift user conference last week, Information Mosaic’s IMConnecting is aimed at allowing middle and back offices to better service their internal and external clients by making the user experience much more intuitive and portable. “For example, by allowing end clients to conduct proxy voting via the medium of the iPad while they are out and about, it means they are no longer tied to a PC,” explains O’Donnell.
In order to make sure the solution is as intuitive as possible, the vendor has been working with a number of customer user groups, but it is ING that will act as the first adopter to prove its worth in the market. The custody unit of the bank, which is already using Information Mosaic’s custody platform, is planning to install IMConnecting in central and Eastern Europe over the course of next year, gradually adding countries as it goes along. Custody staff at ING will therefore use the communications platform on a desktop to analyse and value their portfolios and instruct trades electronically through the central communications hub.
The focus for ING, according to global head of investor services of the bank’s Commercial Banking Securities Services division Lilla Juranyi, is to streamline its downstream data flows and improve risk management by providing a much quicker client communication interface. The reduction of the response times for these communications from “minutes to seconds” is a significant benefit, she indicates. “The risk mitigating aspect of this system is very important,” she adds.
O’Donnell continues: “This provides the firm with an opportunity to differentiate itself from its competition by adding value to its clients and providing a more responsive experience. It is a flight to quality from a custodian point of view.”
As for its full range of interactive capabilities, the Information Mosaic solution features a mailbox, chat features, touch screen and alerts, and notifications are pushed to users by custom set rules and processing is sped up using default instruction preferences. IMConnecting can also be white labelled and integrated with an institution’s existing internet portals ensuring a consistent brand experience, contends O’Donnell.
In addition to its use as a central communications hub in a custody context, the solution can also be used for managing corporate actions and proxy voting. Users can view and analyse corporate actions data, including ‘what if’ analysis, and make decisions closer to final deadlines due to the mobile aspect of the solution. Likewise, in the proxy voting context, the solution can connect shareholders with proxies, proactively providing information about proxy events and alert deadlines and allowing e-voting. The system also automatically collates votes and declares results.
As demonstrated on the iPad at Sibos, the solution allows a user to see the particular election options for a proxy vote and enables them to take action by the press of a touch screen, for example.
All of this is reflective of Information Mosaic’s solutions pitch to improve transparency around data, risk management and operations, which is also mirrored in its recent asset surveillance solution launch. O’Donnell explains that this is an attempt to address the issues that arose around Lehman’s collapse and to help firms to get a better handle on their risk exposures via the surveillance solution and take action on this data via IMConnecting. The vendor is also keeping a close eye on regulatory developments and she indicates that the aim is to allow for a degree of flexibility in its products to be able to react to these changing requirements.
Asia also poses an opportunity for the vendor in terms of client growth, according to O’Donnell, and it is currently engaged in trying to find suitable partners in the region.
In terms of its corporate actions solution, Information Mosaic is investing in making sure it is in line with ISO 20022 developments going forward and it currently has two pilot clients helping to develop a new solution in this space. “Corporate actions continues to be an area of growth for us, as it is one of the least automated in the asset servicing arena and manual intervention continues to pose a headache for those in the space,” says O’Donnell.
She notes that some clients are keen for vendors to get more involved in the Securities Market Practice Group (SMPG) work around corporate actions standards development, which is currently limited to market practitioners. “We could add valuable input into the debate,” she says.