Swiss Life Asset Managers is a well-known European asset manager operating in Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK. They first introduced SimCorp Dimension in Zurich in 2010, and then in 2012 extended it into Germany and finally in France in 2013. Today, SimCorp Dimension modules and functionalities are set up from front-to-back, including securities accounting at all Swiss Life Asset Managers market units.
Based on a presentation at our annual global client conference by Fiorina Stutz, Head of Securities IT Solutions Front & Accounting we captured some of the key points she shared with her audience about Swiss Life Asset Managers journey towards system consolidation and the replacement of various legacy applications.
Key challenges that resulted in a need for system consolidation
From a technical point of view, the old environment was very complex, slow and cost-intensive to maintain. There were numerous unsynchronized upgrades that had to be dealt with in the different countries and business segments and the old applications also struggled to fully meet regulatory requirements.
Their pre-study showed that they had only 40% of their functional requirements covered. One major gap was missing functionality and data to efficiently manage P&L. Furthermore, Swiss Life Asset Managers were missing opportunities for higher returns due to too high a cash buffer, sub-optimal pooling of liquidity excess and needs, and delayed collateral re-claims.
Swiss Life Asset Managers were also missing functionality in various business areas such as portfolio management, risk management leading to high operational risk - which led to higher operational risk. Furthermore, due to a complex and inflexible system landscape it was nearly impossible to implement new instruments or new functionalities themselves in a timely manner and with justifiable costs.
Against this backdrop, Swiss Life Asset Managers made the strategic decision to overhaul their IT landscape. “It took a lot of strong resources and dedication, but we finished this project on time and on budget” says Fiorina Stutz. As a result, they were able to decommission the numerous systems and condense down to one main tool managing securities front to back. SimCorp Dimension now covers 85% of their scope.
Key benefits for Swiss Life Asset Managers from system consolidation
One key benefit has been an efficient and streamlined system governance due to one budget and one IT team. Swiss Life Asset Managers today has more accurate information and is able to manage assets and the resulting P&L more effectively due to timely information including accounting data and better risk management. Compliance with regulatory requirements is less costly due to consolidated and consistent data in one system. The operational risk decreased due to reduced manual interventions and automated consistency checks. One important point, especially for their senior management, was having more accurate data leading to precise, timely, coherent and consistent reporting.
In addition, Swiss Life Asset Managers improved the efficiency of their processes and achieved a higher degree of standardization across the different market units. Because of a standardized and single infrastructure for all countries, they are able to streamline processes and identify operational synergies more easily. The firm has seen a considerable decrease in manual operational activities such as reconciliation, manual settlement monitoring, matching and so on. With more standardized interfaces and workflows Swiss Life Asset Managers can connect faster to the outside network, for example with SWIFT or FIX protocols. Fiorina notes that, “consolidating our IT landscape around SimCorp Dimension has been a strategic success and we are proud of what we have managed to achieve with it in the broader organization.”
ABOUT SWISS LIFE ASSET MANAGERS
Swiss Life Asset Managers is a well-known European asset manager operating in Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK. They are the 3rd largest institutional Asset Manager in Switzerland, and are the number one European institutional real estate manager. Swiss Life Asset Managers have more than CHF 200 billion assets under management, split between third party Asset Management and Insurance Asset Management.