“Our solutions act as the glue that connects corporates to the financial institutions and payment providers of their choice, using the channels of their choice, regardless of location or messaging format,” says Simon Kaufmann, Head of Client Relations and Marketing at Fides Treasury Services.
Fides is the winner of the Global Banking and Finance Review award for “Best Multibanking Solution Provider 2019 – Switzerland”. Founded in 1910 as Fides Trust, the Zurich-based company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Credit Suisse, has been focused on multibank connectivity and messaging solutions since 1985.
Kaufmann, who leads sales and marketing for Fides, including customer relations and partnerships, came to Fides in 2014 from parent company Credit Suisse. In 2018 he was appointed to the firm’s executive leadership team. We sat down with him to talk about multi-banking, Fides, and the future.
Q: What are the challenges you see Swiss clients facing with regards to multi-banking?
While Fides is based in Zurich, we have clients around the globe. What we see with our Swiss clients is fairly typical: corporations that need to streamline their connectivity to four or more banks to save time and effort, increase security and be confident in their cash visibility for accurate positioning and forecasting. In addition, there is the challenge of safely and securely executing cross-border payments using multiple currencies.
Managing payments and messaging for more than three or four banks is challenging for any corporation’s treasury department. And the more banks and accounts there are to manage, the more time and resources it takes. The amount of time that treasury analysts typically end up spending on reconciliation alone is staggering. These companies can truly benefit from having a single web-based solution to manage their payment flows.
Q: How does Fides address these challenges?
Fides centralizes and simplifies bank connectivity. With Fides, clients can connect to any bank in any country using any channel. We can handle any and all kinds of messaging between our clients and their banks and payment providers. This allows clients to be flexible, scalable, and bring their solutions to market more quickly, and also reduces risk. Plus, it reduces spreadsheet work. We have heard from clients that Fides has saved them 50 percent of the time they used to spend in spreadsheets.
Fides can streamline payment processing, aggregate bank account statements in any format for global cash visibility, securely deliver foreign exchange trade confirmations, build up tailor-made connectivity solutions and other value-added services – and as part of Credit Suisse, Fides has the backing of a trusted, solid Swiss bank and the benefits that come from that. One benefit unique to Fides is the ability to provide a dual-BIC model for clients who wish to use the SWIFT network for bank transfers but either do not wish to have their own BIC, or want to start using SWIFT services without waiting for the BIC to be set up.
Q: Why should a corporation choose to work directly with Fides rather than managing their bank connections in-house or through their TMS provider?
Fides has been focused on multi-bank connectivity for more than 30 years. Our implementation specialists are experienced in dealing with different connectivity channels and formats, and understand the challenges that treasurers face every day. If you know what channels you want to use, we can get them set up in the most efficient way possible. If you aren’t sure, we can make recommendations.
No TMS on its own supports the range of bank protocols and formats that Fides can. We can work with any bank or payment provider, and convert their messages into a standardized format. This means that you can onboard banks much more quickly than you might otherwise be able to do. We also have a large number of clients who don’t want to be locked into any one TMS or ERP vendor — some don’t want to use a TMS at all. For those who do, we partner with the leading TMS vendors to make integration easy, providing the ability for full systems integration and straight-through processing.
Q: What is new with Fides solutions, and what do you have planned for the future?
We are continuously looking at ways to innovate and expand our ecosystem – going beyond the services we offer today through both our own solutions and complementary offerings from our partners. Small to mid-size enterprises are a core market for Credit Suisse, which gives us access to more data, information and clients that will help us build new solutions for this group.
Within the last year, we have been focused on streamlining processes. We brought in an experienced senior product manager, who has been revamping our release cycles. Recently, we have released new versions of our EFT Web and ARS Web tools, which contain some significant improvements to the user experience. Clients can opt to use these web-based tools, or can integrate our solutions with any TMS or ERP system or use our APIs to connect to new SaaS offerings.
We are currently near the end of a multi-year project to create a new and improved multi-banking platform, with an expected end date of end of this year or early 2020. The new platform will give us the ability to deliver even more financial services to our customers in addition to our core multi-banking capabilities. It will deliver all the functionality that our system today offers but will also have the capability to extend our service offerings, provide additional value to customers, and continue to extend our market leadership.
This new platform will also enable us in future to create a single, unified portal for both Fides ARS and Fides EFT. Having a single login will streamline the process for our customers and also gives us the ability to provide additional services. At the end of the day, everything we do at Fides is focused on helping our clients be more efficient, more effective, more innovative and more successful.
About Fides Treasury Services
Fides is the global leader in multi-bank connectivity and transaction communications. With the industry’s largest bank connectivity network, Fides helps over 3,000 active clients communicate with more than 10,000 banks globally. Our geographic reach spans 170 countries across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions.Committed to helping corporations optimally connect and interact with their banks for over a century, Fides’ solutions deliver critical multi-bank account statement, payment workflow and reporting capabilities that allow treasury and finance teams to easily, accurately and securely communicate with their banks through any possible channel such as SWIFT, EBICS, SFTP, APIs or any alternative network.