Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has upgraded the platform underlying all of its capital markets solutions including its corporate actions offering: TCS B?NCS for Corporate Actions. Devesh Gupta, principal consultant for the vendor’s corporate actions solutions, tells Reference Data Review the details of the version five upgrade and its three recent client wins.
The main focus of the upgrade was on improving the workflow tools for the solution, says Gupta, so that users of the data can have access to what they need without having to navigate difficult systems. “The solution pulls information out and pushes it to users and it is available over the web, which means the front end is much more accessible than before for users such as those in the front office,” he explains.
The vendor has been upgrading its solution over the period of a year and has been working on customer feedback and requests. The improvements have therefore focused on the customer experience by providing greater flexibility in managing data through real-time anticipations and projections. It has also involved an upgrade in the solution’s operations monitoring capacity in order to provide heightened compliance functions around data flow and reduced risk and cost of message transport in the current climate of regulatory change and risk management awareness.
TCS has also been engaged in improving the solution’s integration with third party products and compliance with industry messaging standards like Swift FIN, FIX and ISO 20022. Functionality, technology, process and market requirements are the parameters we have significantly addressed in this version, adds R Vivekanand, global product head of market infrastructure for the vendor. “Ability to support multiple asset classes, enhanced connectivity, advanced risk monitoring and improved cross border settlement are some of the benefits that our clients have experienced where this product suite has just been deployed,” he adds.
The vendor has used standards such as those being touted by the Securities Market Practice Group (SMPG) as a template for future change, says Gupta. “The solution has a rules-based engine and we have added in more rules than ever before. We have also benefited from technological developments such as Java J2EE technology, which is now the foundation of the solution set,” he continues.
The move to a web-based channel for some customers has meant the vendor has revisited its pricing structure in order to offer user-based licenses for this version of the solution. The vendor has also had positive client feedback from its user group on the new graphical interface, says Gupta: “It is more intuitive and means minimal manual intervention due to quick links on the dashboard and comprehensive workflow.”
Use of new technology is also aimed at expediting rollouts in a climate where customers want projects to be completed in a much faster timeframe. “Customer rollouts are significantly impacted by the size of the financial institution and the number of legacy applications involved,” says Gupta. “Smaller firms can take as little as three months but larger firms can take more than nine. It all depends on the number of applications and interfaces involved.”
A recent example of a speedy implementation of the TCS B?NCS for Corporate Actions solution was the rollout for Mizuho Trust & Banking (USA), which was announced at Sibos. The firm is part of the Mizuho Financial Group whose head office is located in Tokyo, Japan, and the implementation was focused on improving the quality and timeliness of corporate actions information to its customers.
George Ziemer, senior vice president and head of operations at the bank, says: “In this era of heightened uncertainty, and stringent regulatory environment, managing operational risk is the most pressing challenge for securities processing firms. We are glad to rely on TCS B?NCS for Corporate Actions to extract a unified view from multiple feeds and automate the notification and instruction process with our clients. Our ability to automate corporate actions processing and service our customers is enhanced significantly after this implementation.”
The upgrade of the solution has also resulted in three new client wins for the vendor, adds Gupta. TCS is also engaged in migrating its current customer base to the new version: “We always try to ensure that our clients are only at least one version behind the current version of our platform. So if version five is out then customers need to be at least on version three of the solution.”
Gupta reckons the market has picked up significantly for corporate actions over the last six months, following a lull in interest in the sector. “This is likely due to the fact that corporate actions are critical to the securities processing area and due to the risks involved and the regulatory scrutiny, firms are keen to get a handle on the space,” he explains. “The pipeline is therefore likely to be thick for us over the next six to 12 months and we have at least eight to 10 clients interested in signing up in the near future.”
The vendor aims to release a version upgrade for its solutions at least once a year and two to three minor releases over that period. These minor releases are usually focused on fixing any defects identified by clients or adapting to changing market requirements, says Gupta.
TCS currently has 35 clients using its corporate actions solution and these are largely based in North America and Europe, with a few in Asia Pacific. The vendor is now looking to increase its traction in markets such as Latin America and the Middle East, says Gupta.
“The next big thing in terms of functional upgrades will be compliance to Swift ISO 20022 messaging and this will likely be available by next Sibos,” he concludes.