Author: Mark Croskery, President and CEO, Stocks and Securities Limited
Founded in 1973, Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) is the second oldest brokerage firm in Jamaica. It is a full service Wealth Management, Investment Banking and Advisory Firm, a securities dealer regulated by the Financial Services Commission, and a member of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. SSL has deployed a modular private banking and wealth management system from IPBS. It has enabled SSL to reduce operational risk, increase efficiency, enhance reporting capabilities and improve customer service. A recent major enhancement is the imminent delivery of online portfolio access for customers and this will be a levelling of the playing field for SSL in Jamaica with some key differentiator components for SSL.
Investing in a best of breed solution
SSL aims to be the market leader in specialized local and Caribbean wealth management solutions, investment banking advisory services and structured products with global reach. It previously relied on a legacy system up to 2009 for wealth management.This posed a number of operational and competitive challenges not least to the company’s aim to continue to provide outstanding service and innovative product offerings. With a client base that demands ever higher levels of service, greater reporting flexibility and easier online access, SSL recognised it needed to invest in the operating technology that supported its business.
We aim to listen to our client’s needs and stay a step ahead of the competition, and a key part of achieving this is the ability of our technology platform to enable effective service delivery to our customers. We therefore needed a best of breed private banking and wealth management platform and our detailed evaluation led us to choose the modular IPBS system. Since going live we have grown considerably but the IPBS system has helped us to continue to offer a boutique service and maintain our first mover advantage in different markets. The online platform is a next step in the process with IPBS.
Implementing a modular private banking system
One of the major benefits of the IPBS system is that we can choose from a range of integrated private banking and wealth management modules. At SSL we have have deployed the following:
• IPBS/Banking delivers all of the operational functionality to manage traditional banking functions such as payments and transfers including cheque payments to clients as well as other business related disbursements, Cambio Dealing for Foreign Exchange, Repurchase Agreements ( Repos) and Matching Repos to Investment Assets.Transactions are processed in real-time and update all relevant accounting records and positions.
Integrated into the IPBS platform is a sophisticated multi-entity, multi-currency general ledger accounting system, ninety percent of which is fed automatically from operational and trading activities.
• IPBS/ Business Manager provides the framework for managing clients and related parties from a Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) viewpoint. It enables SSL to screen customers against Watch lists from the Central Bank of Jamaica.
• IPBS/ Investments allows SSL to manage client investment assets, from the initial portfolio allocation and structuring through to trade order placement, order dealing and trade settlement. It supports SSL’s local market trading, and has been customized to manage the Jamaican taxation system as well as managing the various exchange and depository fees that have to be paid
Delivering instant customer satisfaction with online access
SSL is in the process of deploying the e-Banking module from IPBS. Enabling online access for our customers was a logical progression for SSL. The IPBS/e-Banking module benefits our customers as it enables them to log in 24×7 at www.sslinvest.com and instantly see portfolio valuations for example and their respective statement of account to a limited period which is set by SSL. There are also substantial productivity benefits for SSL as the IPBS system has freed up a significant amount of our resources from manual processing. Our wealth advisers can spend more time on value added activity such as prospecting, business development and managing their clients’ funds, which in turn enables us to increase revenue streams and to listen to clients’ needs.
The IPBS system has enabled us to introduce greater levels of automation and eliminate manual processes which have also helped us to reduce operational risk. End of month processing times have been shortened and we have enhanced our client offerings with the provision of detailed and timely statement information. We have also been able to improve our internal controls for example by implementing an uncleared FX mechanism which ensures that client service officers can instantly see if there are sufficient cleared funds in the client account before executing a transaction.
Retaining a competitive edge with IPBS
SSL Directors, stakeholders and clients have all benefited from the enhanced reporting capabilities that the IPBS system delivers. SSL has improved internal financial management processes by enabling a greater emphasis on audit and compliance. This has led to enhanced internal decision making, for example the Audit and Finance committee and the Assets and Liabilities committee now has better visibility over assets and liabilities.
We have a saying, ‘With SSL, life appreciates’ and we certainly appreciate the partnership that we have built with IPBS. It has been incredibly valuable to SSL to not only deploy a modern private banking and wealth management solution but with the support of IPBS, we know it is future proof and scalable. We have absolute confidence that the system will continue to enable us to manage the complex tax requirements of the Jamaican market and how we meet evolving reporting and regulatory requirements. We have an excellent relationship with IPBS, and this has helped us to maintain our innovative and competitive edge in the market. The key to the relationship is the communication and responsiveness that IPBS is able to provide and their ability to understand SSL’s managerial queries and changes needed in IPBS given the team’s professional experience and background.
Bruce Raine, Founder and President of IPBS added, “Private banking and wealth management is a dynamic market which requires companies to constantly evaluate their business and technology strategy. With the IPBS system, companies such as SSL can deliver ever higher levels of service, offer new products and remain one step ahead of their competition. I am delighted to have successfully supported SSL’s demanding requirements and look forward to working together for many more years to come.”