Equiniti, a provider of shareholder and employee services, is implementing SMA Financial’s SWIFT service bureau alongside the administrator system from aquilaheywood. The joint implementation will enable Equiniti to employ ISO 20022 messaging standards for transmission over SWIFTNet Funds to investment managers, resulting in straight-through processing (STP), lowering operational risk with increased efficiency.
Equiniti is a third party administrator (TPA) that has been using the administrator system from aquilaheywood for two years to support a diverse range of pension schemes and clients. However, like many companies in the pension industry, it had still not fully embraced STP. Recognising the needs of their clients, aquilaheywood enhanced the system to create and accept ISO 20022 messages. Equiniti has used this to reduce their costs and introduce more efficiency and flexibility. Equiniti then selected SMA (aquilaheywood’s partner) to enable it to transmit the messages via SWIFT.
Geoff Francis, pensions director, Equiniti, said: “The SWIFT service bureau and administrator system represent best of breed solutions that allow us to make full use of SWIFT messaging and follow ISO 20022 standards. SMA and aquilaheywood clearly work well together and have demonstrated seamless SWIFT connectivity. The implementation is on target to go live with our first investment manager in July 2010. This will allow us to lower transaction processing costs and substantially reduce operational risk.”
The project will support Equiniti as it moves to a daily trading operation. It will create transaction instructions from within administrator that meet the ISO 20022 and SWIFT messaging format, the recognised standard in the corporate pensions industry. The message transactions produced by administrator can be transmitted without intervention or amendment securely via the SMA service bureau over the SWIFT network to the relevant investment manager.
Additionally, Equiniti will receive messages such as the custody statement of holdings and unit price report from the investment managers over SWIFTNet Funds. The SMA bureau will automatically send these to administrator. Automation in loading the unit price report and custody statement of holdings allows the administrator functionality to fully reconcile the reported fund holdings from the investment manager to that held on administrator. Eliminating unnecessary manual intervention in the payments and reporting process, Equiniti can increase the frequency with which it transacts and reduce the time taken to reconcile key information. By identifying and correcting any exceptions earlier, Equiniti will have a more accurate view of its financial position and benefit from lower operational risk.
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