Study Finds Firms Unable to Reconcile Financial Transactions in Real-time

Many financial institutions (FIs) are not yet ready for real-time reconciliations, suggests a survey by Gresham Computing of investment banks, inter-dealer brokers and buy-side firms in New York and London.

The company says that upcoming regulations such as Basel III and Dodd Frank are expected to result in additional reconciliations required between different systems; for example to ensure margin calls from central counterparties are reconciled in real-time as there may only be a matter of minutes to deliver collateral to satisfy the margin call. Failure to do so may result in the wrong amount of collateral being delivered with consequent opportunity costs and increased manual workloads.

Other findings in the survey include the following:

  • Sixty percent of FIs surveyed have not yet embarked on real-time reconciliation for any of their asset classes and do not expect to be in a position to move to real-time reconciliation by the end of 2013.
  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents encounter delays or problems when on-boarding new financial products and putting the necessary risk controls in place.

To overcome the on-boarding delays:

  • Forty-three percent are forced to bypass the main reconciliation system and set up work-arounds in Excel, Access and other similar applications.
  • Thirteen percent set a limit on the number of new products that can be created to avoid building too much of a backlog.
  • Nineteen percent simply add the new requests to their existing reconciliation backlog.

When asked about their state of readiness for intersystem reconciliation:

  • Forty-four percent said they are looking at this but are concerned there will be delays due to the limitations of their existing systems.
  • Thirty-three percent said they haven’t started looking at this and are not yet clear on the final requirements.

“The findings of this survey are consistent with the conversations we’ve been having with banks and other financial institutions across the world,” said Neil Vernon, development director, Gresham Computing.

“The vast majority are struggling to on-board new financial transactions in a timely and cost-effective way and many are still using work-arounds in Excel. New regulations are now putting them under pressure to put in place enterprise-grade solutions that allow rapid on-boarding of new financial products as well as real-time reconciliation.”

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