Regulators stifle innovations
Nowadays, private banks are faced with the need to distinguish themselves by innovative approaches to consultation and portfolio management. Tight budgets and rising expenses make it difficult for private banks to implement regulatory requirements.
S&N: Mr. Tanner, with which project topics are asset managers and private banks currently dealing?
Urs Tanner: Private banks currently invest about 80 per cent of their project budgets in the implementation of regulatory requirements. The agenda of projects is strongly affected by domestic, but also foreign, regulatory authorities. The new tax law, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), as well as the actions of Federal Financial Supervisory Office (BaFin) and other European regulators, who aim to provide more protection and transparency for investors, are hotly debated issues.
S&N: What are the current topics in regard to Germany?
Urs Tanner: Germany already addressed the issue of transparent consultation processes at an early stage. Let's take the record of consultation. With effect as of 1 July 2011, BaFin issued a new directive on product information sheets. This directive requires financial consultants to individualise such general information sheets as of this date. This presents a considerable challenge for banks, in particular in the case of flexible products.
S&N: Leaving aside regulatory directives for the moment, which issues are private banks currently addressing in unison?
Urs Tanner: Discount brokers are pioneers when it comes to offering targeted information and consultation via the internet channel. Conventional private banks and portfolio managers are made to express their added value in a written form. The process of acquiring customers is the starting point; at this stage already, banks can distinguish themselves from virtual distribution channels by means of a personal interview and are able to document this in an investment proposal. Customers want to know what happens to their assets. Periodic reports have changed from being mere "figure reports" to financial statements with specific, itemised comments.
S&N: How do the DocFamily products of Assentis address these issues described by you?
Urs Tanner: Our products enable banks to generate documents such as investment proposals, forms for the opening of customer accounts, corporate action notifications, notices, tax documents or other periodic client reports in a highly individualised fashion. In this way banks can respond more quickly to new regulatory requirements and implement them. DocFamily makes it possible to generate objects entirely in the specialist department; this makes interfaces with the IT department redundant, and project administration can be significantly reduced.
S&N: Which kind of customer typically benefits from the advantages of DocFamily?
Urs Tanner: Our customers range from companies with less than 100 employees to the well-known big banks. Small private and retail banks often apply our solution in combination with a core banking system and use our technology to create all customer documents. In the case of In the big banks, we often address a number of different issues, such as client reporting or client on-boarding.