The pace of digitalisation in the financial services industry is sometimes breathtaking and the pandemic only accelerated the pace of technological change in organisations.
It is sometimes difficult to keep pace, and with an increasing number of business processes being transitioned to various digital forms, it can be challenging for organisations to assess what kind of software solution would strategically be the best fit.
An additional challenge also sits in the traditional organisational setup of key business functions. For example, the Compliance function has traditionally been separated from the administrative functions responsible for day-to-day maintenance of customer data, and customer contact. The responsibility of Compliance functions has been to act as ‘the second line of defence’, meaning they need to provide an objective challenge to the business functions and are a primary contact for the regulators.
But with the regulators digitalising, would the teams collaborating more and data being consolidated into one cohesive system be a more efficient approach?
The traditional segregation of responsibilities has often led to the use of separate software tools or heavy reliance on Excel extracts and reports. This often resulted in the need to maintain two separate sets of customer and transaction data, increased risk of human error, as well as being time-consuming and frustrating for staff.
The new era of digitalisation gives organisations an opportunity to revise their processes, reduce or completely remove the duplication of customer databases, and benefit from decreased operational and regulatory risks – not to mention reduced staff stress levels and significantly improved customer service.
There are also two additional driving forces that are putting pressure on firms to automate and digitalise their processes: global competition and an increased pace of digitalisation by regulators – from Company Registries, Financial Services regulatory agencies to Tax Authorities.
To achieve a maximum benefit from the digitalisation, there is a challenge that firms will need to learn to overcome: Digitalisation and automation of processes work best where organisations use a golden source of customer data. Centralised, high quality and up-to-date data combined with the right software tools and business controls enables the customer-facing, administration functions as well as the compliance teams to interact with customers, process transactions and updates, and deliver required regulatory reporting in a streamlined way, reducing the risk of errors in the process.
To identify the optimal software solutions for that purpose, the administration and compliance teams are required to work closely together, understand each other's needs and requirements. This however is creating a new dynamic in the organisations, which staff are not used to.
If teams continue to operate separately, with little or no communication on how to make their business processes more efficient, the organisations will stay in the dark as to what solutions each of them needs or already have and could be leveraged.
This could result in organisations falling behind the competition, becoming increasingly inefficient or worse, spending a lot of their investments on separate software solutions which are incompatible, do not increase organisational efficiency, and increase the operational and regulatory risks.
So if you are in a customer-facing, administrative or compliance role within a trust and corporate service organisation, discuss with your colleagues, managers, and information technology teams what tools are used in the organisation, what could be leveraged by multiple departments.
If you are a TrustQuay customer, make sure you’re collaborating with your colleagues and your IT team to ensure you’re using all the available capabilities to digitalise and automate your processes across the business, to stay ahead of the competition.
Nina is Compliance Product Manager at TrustQuay