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Paving the streets of Guernsey with Gold

David Sherriff, CEO, Microgen ®

Business is booming for the precious metals industry, particularly as continued volatility and uncertainty in the Eurozone markets are making gold, platinum and silver a safe haven for investors. Investment opportunities for bullion, perceived as a low risk investment option that keeps its bargaining power compared with other investment opportunities, has skyrocketed.David Sheriff

One company taking advantage of this uptake in precious metals is Guernsey Mint Refined which was founded at the start of the year. Building on a business with a history that dates back to 1887, Guernsey Mint Refined is a new arm of Guernsey Mint that provides a platform for investors to build an unparalleled precious metals portfolio. The vision was to create a package that would be attractive to institutions, high-net worth individuals and their intermediaries in the finance industry. Through Guernsey Mint Refined, clients can enjoy physical bullion trading at transparent and competitive prices with the option to collect from Guernsey, store in Guernsey or Switzerland, can trade in unallocated ounces with one of the world’s leading refineries as counterparty, or can invest in exchange-traded commodities using Guernsey Mint Refined’s relationships with leading offshore stockbroking firms.

In order to provide this kind of service however, Guernsey Mint Refined needed a portal and platform that ensured smooth running of the business, in a clear and easy to use format for investors. It also wanted to keep operating costs to a minimum. Furthermore, in such a highly regulated industry,Guernsey Mint Refined is required to provide a complete and transparent audit trail of all transactions to ensure compliance and security.

The challenge
Investing in technology at a time of significant planned business expansion meant that Guernsey Mint Refined needed total confidence in its software supplier, both in terms of financial stability and ability, to deliver a solution successfully. The vision was to create a platform that allowed investors to look at their precious metal holdings securely online in the way that they had become accustomed to viewing their regular investment portfolios and their bank statements. This meant that accurate dealing, record keeping, reporting and reconciliation were essential not only to ensure compliance, but also to guarantee high standards of customer service.

As a start up business however, Guernsey Mint Refined could not afford a lengthy and complex IT systems project to deliver these requirements. Instead it needed a straightforward system that delivered an end to end real-time solution that would support the rapid expansion plans of the business. In an industry that is frequently required to demonstrate due diligence and compliance when processing and holding important client information, nominee company trading and cash records, Guernsey Mint Refined needed a system that was able not only to offer straight through processing that was fully auditable but also instantly to update its own business accounting records. When assessing the market for suitable solutions however, Managing Director of Guernsey Mint Refined, Robin Newbould found that many products were simply not able to offer the solution he required at a competitive price.

Microgen ® 5Series was recommended to Robin by a business contact who knew that Microgen’s financial strength as a UK PLC, its long track record of successful implementations, its local presence in Guernsey and the capabilities of its Microgen 5Series software meant that it was able to offer the perfect solution.

Following a competitive pitch, Guernsey Mint Refined decided that Microgen 5Series offered the complete solution needed to allow its customers’ trade instructions to be captured through the Microgen 5Series Secure Web Portal and fed automatically into Guernsey Mint Refined’s order management system. In addition, Microgen’s solution is able to feed instructions from Guernsey Mint Refined’s order management system into Microgen 5Series Portfolio Administrator for accounting and record keeping.

Microgen’s open architecture meant that both Microgen systems were able to integrate easily with Guernsey Mint Refined’s other IT systems. This allows straight through processing (STP), which brings increased operational efficiency and reduced error volume compared to typical data processing.

Deployment of Microgen 5Series also matched the timescales required by Guernsey Mint Refined. The combination of an intuitive, modern system and an out-of-the-box core configuration enabled deployment in just six weeks.

Microgen 5Series has allowed Guernsey Mint Refined to capitalise rapidly on a highly lucrative and growing area of investment. By implementing the software at the outset of its move into this market, Guernsey Mint Refined has avoided the common error that all too many businesses make of initially relying on spreadsheets and manual processing, which can restrict future business growth and lead to a more complicated transition to a proper software package down the track.Choosing a modern system with comprehensive investment and accounting capabilities combined with a highly secure web portal has enabled Guernsey Mint Refined to grow from strength to strength in an industry that demands high levels of credibility and confidence.

Investment record keeping and accounting have been made easier and the business can easily be scaled for thousands if not tens of thousands of customers. All client assets and cash balances are reconciled to central systems which most established investment houses would be envious of. Guernsey Mint Refined has brought straight through processing to the bullion markets with all of the robust procedures you would expect of a company regulated by, and registered with, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Microgen ® Microgen plc.