Stocks and Securities Limited reduces operational risk and gains competitive advantage with IPBS
Founded in 1973, Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) is the second oldest brokerage firm in Jamaica. It is a full service Wealth Management, Investment Banking and Advisory Firm, a securities dealer regulated by the Financial Services Commission, and a member of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. SSL has deployed a modular private banking and wealth management system from IPBS. It has enabled SSL to reduce operational risk, increase efficiency, enhance reporting capabilities and improve customer service. A recent major enhancement has been the launch of online portfolio access for customers. Adoption rates have been encouraging and client advisors report that customer feedback on the service is very positive.
Investing in a best of breed solution
SSL aims to be the market leader in specialized local and Caribbean wealth management solutions, investment banking advisory services and structured products with global reach. It previously relied on a legacy system up to 2009 for wealth management. This posed a number of operational and competitive challenges not least to the company’s aim to continue to provide outstanding service and innovative product offerings. With a client base that demands ever higher levels of service, greater reporting flexibility and easier online access, SSL recognised it needed to invest in the operating technology that supported its business.
Mark Croskery, President and CEO, Stocks and Securities Limited commented, “We aim to listen to our client’s needs and stay a step ahead of the competition, and a key part of achieving this is the ability of our technology platform to enable effective service delivery to our customers. We therefore needed a best of breed private banking and wealth management platform and our detailed evaluation led us to choose the modular IPBS system. Since going live we have grown considerably but the IPBS system has helped us to continue to offer a boutique service and maintain our first mover advantage in different markets. The launch of online access in October 2013 was a natural progression with the IPBS system and we have been very pleased with the customer adoption rates. Our adoption rate to date is 3.41% of our approximate 5,000 customers with Assets under Management (AUM), and our goal is to achieve 20% by June 2014.”
Implementing a modular private banking system
One of the major benefits of the IPBS system is that clients can choose from a range of integrated private banking and wealth management modules. SSL has deployed the following:
- IPBS/Banking delivers all of the operational functionality to manage traditional banking functions such as payments and transfers including cheque payments to clients as well as other business related disbursements, Cambio Dealing for Foreign Exchange, Repurchase Agreements ( Repos) and Matching Repos to Investment Assets. Transactions are processed in real-time and update all relevant accounting records and positions.
Integrated into the IPBS platform is a sophisticated multi-entity, multi-currency general ledger accounting system, ninety percent of which is fed automatically from operational and trading activities.
- IPBSe/Banking is the technology platform that powers a new service which allows customers to log in at www.sslonlinecom and view investment portfolios and statements of account online in near real-time. Customers register for online access and receive a username and password which allows them to log into their account 24 x 7 via a computer, tablet or mobile device. This delivers a more transparent and fulfilling user experience for the customer.
- IPBS/Business Manager provides the framework for managing clients and related parties from a Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) viewpoint. It enables SSL to screen customers against Watchlists from the Central Bank of Jamaica.
- IPBS/Investments allows SSL to manage client investment assets, from the initial portfolio allocation and structuring through to trade order placement, order dealing and trade settlement. It supports SSL’s local market trading, and has been customized to manage the Jamaican taxation system as well as managing the various exchange and depository fees that have to be paid
Delivering instant customer satisfaction with online access
Croskery comments on the launch of online access for customers, “Enabling online access was a logical progression for SSL. The IPBS/e-Banking module benefits our customers as it enables them to log in 24×7 at www.sslinvest.com and instantly see portfolio valuations for example and their respective statement of account. There are also substantial productivity benefits for SSL as the IPBS system has freed up a significant amount of our resources from manual processing. Our wealth advisers can spend more time on value added activity such as prospecting, business development and managing their clients’ funds, which in turn enables us to increase revenue streams and to listen to clients’ needs.”
Croskery stated, “The IPBS system has enabled us to introduce greater levels of automation and eliminate manual processes which have also helped us to reduce operational risk. End of month processing times have been shortened and we have enhanced our client offerings with the provision of detailed and timely statement information. We have also been able to improve our internal controls for example by implementing an uncleared FX mechanism which ensures that client service officers can instantly see if there are sufficient cleared funds in the client account before executing a transaction.”
Retaining a competitive edge with IPBS
SSL Directors, stakeholders and clients have all benefited from the enhanced reporting capabilities that the IPBS system delivers. SSL has improved internal financial management processes by enabling a greater emphasis on audit and compliance. This has led to enhanced internal decision making, for example the Audit and Finance committee and the Assets and Liabilities committee now has better visibility over assets and liabilities.
Croskery added, “We have a saying, ‘Partner for Prosperity’ which applies both to our partnership with IPBS, and our ability to work with our customers for their long term benefit. It has been incredibly valuable to SSL to not only deploy a modern private banking and wealth management solution but with the support of IPBS, we know it is future proof and scalable. We have absolute confidence that the system will continue to enable us to manage the complex tax requirements of the Jamaican market and how we meet evolving reporting and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, it will open up opportunities for the diverse local population to invest through this portal from Jamaica. We have an excellent relationship with IPBS, and this has helped us to maintain our innovative and competitive edge in the market. The key to the relationship is the communication and responsiveness that IPBS is able to provide and their ability to understand SSL’s managerial queries and changes needed in IPBS given the team’s professional experience and background.”
Bruce Raine, Founder and President of IPBS concluded, “Private banking and wealth management is a dynamic market which requires companies to constantly evaluate their business and technology strategy. With the IPBS system, companies such as SSL can deliver ever higher levels of service, offer new products and remain one step ahead of their competition. I am delighted to have successfully supported SSL’s demanding requirements and helped them launch a new online service to the market. I look forward to working together with Mark and his team for many more years to come.”