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    From paper to personalised, digital asset servicing

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    From paper to personalised, digital asset servicing

    Philippe Zuberbuhler - Head of Global Assets+

    Philippe Zuberbuhler

    Head of Global Assets+

    Article published in L’Agefi Indices No. 3, March 2020

    The world of asset servicing is evolving rapidly due to advancing client, technological and finance needs. Tomorrow’s world of finance will not only need to understand financial movements but must master clients’ asset data.

    Both private and institutional client assets are increasingly diversifying as shown by trends towards assets such as private equity. Today, some professionals have plans to tokenise non-banking assets such as buildings, works of art or vintage cars. At the same time, for instance, the Swiss stock exchange has announced they are set to open a digitalised assets exchange, in a few months. Therefore, one must be able to provide efficient, customisable solutions to help clients consolidate and analyse their assets.

    Tomorrow’s world of finance will not only need to understand financial movements but must master clients’ asset data.

    Asset management, family office and pension fund professionals are faced with a plethora of financial and non-financial information. How then can this mass of data be consolidated, summarised and made accessible to all? It is an extremely time-consuming and costly task. These are the sticking points. So, at Lombard Odier, we created a roadmap, using the experience of professionals and by prioritising the elements that offer the most added value.

    Using a financial assets database, our tool1 offers a consolidated and interactive view of assets, has a dashboard view of key metrics and generates consolidated digital or PDF reports. Furthermore, it includes a presentation tool, similar to a slideshow, for portfolio reviews.

    Using a financial assets database, our tool offers a consolidated and interactive view of assets.

    Breaking down the barriers between business and technology

    The biggest challenge is to avoid complexity. We believe that simplicity equals sophistication. Our aim was to offer a tool where the only requirement is that the user knows how to use a smartphone.

    To meet the challenge of digitalising hard files and consolidating documents, we turned to the digital world. We created a ‘smart squad’, a cell dedicated to the project. This team consisted of financial representatives, professional users and IT developers.

    An integrated team such as this encourages discussion and stimulates creativity, with each individual bringing their own tool box and solutions to the mix. The key to the project lay in the team’s ability to introduce and implement new functionalities every two weeks. These very short iterations made it possible to implement functions that were quickly tested and validated by the users, or corrected and adapted by the developers.

    The development of the tool can be compared to sea voyage: the arrival port was known on departure, but the varying winds and currents had to be navigated to get there as efficiently as possible, whilst maintaining the same number of people on board.


    Agile method of working

    To best leverage this combined finance/IT skillset and use the development resources as efficiently as possible, all new functionalities were first tested on paper. We created visuals with the help of post-it notes.  Once validated by the user, this “paper interface” took the form of a low resolution visual with interactive links.  This made it possible to tackle problems of user understanding and make necessary adjustments before a developer had even coded a single line. This way, the use of development resources was optimised.

    Agile working avoids long months of development to deliver a component, which ultimately may not even necessarily meet the user’s needs. Today, a portfolio may require many different financial reports. Report needs will vary from a review of the overall portfolio, reporting specific mandates, particular asset classes or a focus report based on topical financial issues.

    Agile working avoids long months of development to deliver a component, which ultimately may not even necessarily meet the user’s needs.

    To meet the advanced requirements of some users, an application program interface (API) was also put in place, making it possible for users to access the raw consolidated data. In this way, users have complete freedom to apply the data to meet their specific needs.

    Thanks to substantial in-depth work on the user experience, the interface was developed with a particular focus on flexibility, customer experience and security.

    The interface was developed with a particular focus on flexibility, customer experience and security.

    Twelve months was all it took to move from post-it notes to a roll-out of the solution2.

    1 The tool is in pre test phase
    2 Idem

    Important information

    This is a marketing communication issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”).
    It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a marketing communication.
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