Last November, I had the pleasure of attending the Fund Operators Summit 2021, at the fantastic County Hall in Westminster, London. With over 200 Senior Fund Operations Professionals in attendance, I felt a real sense of community within the industry. It was two extraordinary days of panel debates, networking, fireside discussions and topline objectives, plans and thoughts for the coming years of Operations within Financial Services. Take a look at what I gathered.
When to outsource & when to develop inhouse Operational Efficiency?
One of the recurring themes was ‘How can we optimise our workforce without hiring more people?’ Living in the digital age, to answer this question becomes not a mere possibility but a necessity. Whether you are an administrator or a CEO, there’s always a certain urgency to increase efficiency in a cost-friendly manner.
Automation and outsourcing are heavily explored tactics to achieve that goal. There’s a common practice to outsource Middle and Back Office functions to parts of Eastern Europe and Asia or allocate resources to exploring automation. There’s an internal ‘checklist’ when looking to future-proof workflow and task force. Does it fit into the new way of thinking? Could the process or task be automated? Was the solution available in the Cloud? Was it fitting to the idea of digitalisation? Yet, the most overwhelming thought is that responsibility and overview of the processes would still be held in the hands of a staff member with the idea that eventually these processes would be held back in-house. So, even if you do explore automation – there will always be a human being overseeing, and the company you outsource the tasks to doesn’t share the same level of responsibility. If there is an error or mistake – the responsibility is held internally.
So, if you asked Arne Martin Moen, the COO for Storebrand in Norway, and other panellists, they’d gear you towards ensuring your staff are happy and aware of this and to perhaps instead focus on their well-being.
Focus on people at the forefront
There is a realization that the pandemic has inescapably changed the finance industry. Although it is extremely common for a high staff turnover within Operations Teams, there is a shift in the working patterns and conversations around staff wellbeing and headspace. While some managers had found ‘hidden gems’ within their organization, others looked for innovative, inquisitive and organized people who were good communicators. It is no longer purely knowledge of the industry and role – but also the ability to troubleshoot and adapt.
The industry is ready to give recognition to the people behind the scenes, the experts and the unsung heroes – the operations team. However, there is a lack of tools or resources to do it. The finance industry is facing a gap. The managers struggle with a real-time overview and the ability to show investors, auditors or management the exact proof of their success. Alongside, as information spreads over many different systems and data points, the data quality decreases.
Yet, in order to grow, reliable data is a must-have. Any new system, workflow, solution or process must be scalable and flexible in providing information. When it comes to scaling, the old saying of ‘Data is King’ is well and good – but how you use the data is Power.
Here at Strivr, we see the power in gathering relevant information and making it accessible to your relevant team members. In order to scale, companies need to keep up with the continually changing regulations. As regulations get tighter, companies must map out what they are doing and find structure to create an independent digital fail-safe. Not only does it allow you to consolidate information but also to classify risks and identify the most efficient workflows.
Easy-to-digest data and ambitious growth targets are inseparable. It allows valuable insights into resource allocation – be it an ability to focus on what the staff does best or streamline certain processes that are time-consuming. To say lightly, the industry is craving overview and control, and there are tools for that.
No matter how far the world and financial services industry progresses with automation, outsourcing and the blockchain – it is still a people and relationship business – and this will never change. So why not give your people a happier work environment and a more structured approach to their work? Let them flourish by using platforms that have the ability to showcase and communicate their efforts to the entire organization in real-time.
Strivr is a custom-built process management solution for the Financial Services Industry. It enables users to track, prioritise and oversee business-critical recurring processes within their Operations and Administrative Teams.
The solution is proven to increase control and oversight of these tasks, in turn mitigating risk, reducing errors and increasing compliance.
Strivr details when the process needs to be completed, by whom and its priority level – alongside how to perform the task all in one window. In the main workspace, you can easily retrieve, verify and sign-off the status of any process or task in real-time, from any location and on any device.
The best thing? There is no big implementation project – it’s a secure online platform, that is simple to use, and gives you a full audit trail.
Each and every client we work with has explained that their Operational Resilience has increased thanks too Strivr.
If you’d like to explore more about Strivr – book us in for a free 15 min consultation here.
Written by Account Executive James Lankester