Building the efficiencies needed to drive performance

24 October 2019

When time really is money, efficiency becomes a priority. Barclays Investment Advisers, Operational Director and Head of Fiduciaries from the Crown Dependencies discuss how achieving greater efficiency can drive performance.

Our Barclays Advisors

Nick Carpentier

Nick Carpentier

Corporate Investment Specialist

Chris Grant

Chris Grant

Investment Specialist

Richard Steffan

Richard Steffan

Offshore Investment Advisor

Lawrence Looney

Lawrence Looney

Head of Overseas Services Operations

What factors are driving the need for greater efficiency amongst your clients?

Nick Carpentier: There are a number. One is having to deal with a multitude of different providers and put the information they provide into their own accounting system to ensure that client reporting is standardised. Another comes from the regulatory requirement, the checks and balances to ensure that you’re acting as a regulated fiduciary. Both reduce the time that fiduciaries can charge to their clients and potentially this reduces their profitability. Add to that the absolute requirement for a client’s investments to perform, and knowing what you have, where you have, and what it actually is becomes critical.

Chris Grant: Alongside that there’s been huge consolidation of trust businesses in the last few years so there’s pressure to harmonise different operating platforms. With private equity ownership fiduciary businesses are looking at the bottom line, seeking to optimise value from the business as efficiently and quickly as they can. Then there’s pressure from clients too – everybody wants things faster and delivered better.

Richard Steffan: It takes a little thought and time, but the leaner businesses can make themselves without impacting client service (in fact with the aim to improve), the easier it is to streamline profit margin and effectively manage their business strategy.

How can Barclays support this need for efficiency?

Nick Carpentier: The most fundamental way is by consolidating the banking, the credit, and the broad need for investments for that fiduciary. If their underlying clients are agnostic as to who they use, then we can make the onboarding process as seamless and as painless as possible.

If a client only has to open one account which covers banking, investment and credit should they need it, then that makes the fiduciary's life a lot easier. Also, if they have a large number of clients already on our platform, it's easier for them to process trades, to look at what their clients have, to consolidate reporting or even integrate our systems with their accounting systems. Effectively it means they don’t have to do so much admin and form-filling and they can spend more time developing relationships with their clients.

Adele Bohlen: Time is money for fiduciaries, and if they deal with a lot of different providers, then they have information sent to them in various different ways, which they then have to standardise in order to analyse, report and share with their clients. The less they have to change and the more fit for purpose it is, the less time it takes and the more cost-effective it is.

So, by offering them everything under one roof, we can save them time and money. And, because we have a full range of products and services that their clients would need, it's a one-stop shop.

Chris Grant: We also bring the powerhouse of Barclays to the jurisdiction whether it is banking, lending, or investments, and that’s particularly important when many of our clients are facing cross-jurisdictional pressures. What we're trying to do is make sure we've got consistency across areas like pricing, and through our operating platforms, for example, pulling in balances from a variety of different areas into one hub to deliver efficiencies across jurisdictions. We’ve also got an open approach to client risk, taking time to understand their needs and, as long as it's commercial, we’re open for business.

Richard Steffan: Having boots on the ground locally as well as in multiple countries means that we can work hand in hand with local clients. We also have global expertise and we're market leaders in a number of solutions. It’s also not just investments, if clients have got their banking, investments and credit with us, they can leverage this economy of scale across all aspects of the services provided. In addition, and of growing popularity with clients that custodise assets with us, we can also offer liquidity lines, due to the nature of being a banking provider.

Lawrence Looney: Some clients are reasonably simple with their needs and it's all about pace and seamless end-to-end delivery. When it's more complex, we can access all the expertise around the business: the Advisers, the Relationship teams, the Dealers, the Portfolio Managers and Operations, to focus on making sure that we get the deal through in an efficient way for the  client.

Our business is getting our people in the right place, doing the right things for the client, and then using our technology to do what it does best; to execute the deal. It’s back to the old basics of people doing what people do best, and systems doing what they do best. Resourcing each part correctly is where the difference in delivery comes to the fore.

How important is technology in helping you deliver client efficiencies?

Chris Grant: We've invested heavily in trying to improve how we onboard and spent a huge amount of time getting rid of details we don’t need that often frustrate clients. The result is a dynamic application process that makes onboarding as efficient as possible. On the reporting side, we’ve developed our systems and platforms to interact with the trust platforms and packages.

Richard Steffan: Yes, our investment platform is also particularly powerful in allowing clients to have everything in one place with one log on. They can see the overall portfolio of assets under management at Company level, or drill down to a particular structure to review, which gives operational efficiencies from a reporting perspective. It also allows stakeholders (for example directors, shareholders, beneficiaries and settlers) access to their portfolio and associated service, from Advisory, Execution Only and Discretionary Portfolio Management.

Lawrence Looney: Having our credit and our investments running through one platform means clients can seamlessly buy stock or withdraw funds for financing against the value of their portfolio. Making portfolio finance transaction much easier is a bit of a game changer in terms of how quickly we can get some of these deals done for clients.

Nick Carpentier: And that technology is constantly evolving. For example, if we set up an intermediary as an approved introducer, then any client they subsequently introduce doesn't have to undergo the full suite of due diligence processes which makes it as painless and quick as possible.

How would you say these efficiencies drive performance?

Richard Steffan: I think it's working smarter and having more of a strategic partnership between the bank and the fiduciary, streamlining processes and offering cost savings.

Nick Carpentier: I'm struggling to think of other service providers that can offer the services described for their local client base in the scale and efficiency that we can, ranging from personal or individual clients that might have modest sums to invest, right up to institutional clients investing in the 100s of millions. Our operational set up, on-going investment and global support infrastructure allow this to happen. The combination of breadth of service, breadth of client, along with the local presence and technology helps increase efficiencies, and also provides a better level of end to end performance.

Please remember the value of investments can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than your original investment.

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