Realising the Benefit of Online Dealing Portals
by Cristiane Candeloro, Assistant Treasurer – Operations, AstraZeneca and Andrew Marshall, Director, Covarius
AstraZeneca prides itself on its sophisticated treasury technology infrastructure and aims to implement highly efficient and secure processes wherever possible. One key area of development has been the implementation of an independent portal for short-term cash investment instruments, such as money market funds (MMFs). Here Cristiane Candeloro, Assistant Treasurer – Operations, AstraZeneca and Andrew Marshall, Director, Covarius, who worked with AstraZeneca throughout the project outline, describe how a portal can offer compelling operational benefits, although these are not always obvious when considering whether to replace existing manual or proprietary dealing methods.
- Recognising the value that online dealing would offer, AstraZeneca approached its fund managers to see if it was possible to standardise the functionality they offered through their portals, in line with the firm’s requirements
- When this proved unrealistic they looked for an independent, multi-fund, multi-provider portal to be seamlessly integrated with their existing TMS
- After a rigorous selection process SunGard’s SGN Short-Term Cash Management portal (STCM) was chosen, based largely on the degree of automation and integration it offered
- The authors describe the implementation process and the benefits which AstraZeneca has gained from STCM
Before implementing a MMF portal, SunGard’s SGN Short-Term Cash Management portal (STCM), most of our fund transactions were conducted by telephone, so dealers needed to contact each of our fund providers to find out what rates were offered. Although each fund provider had its own portal, which they encouraged us to use, it was impractical to access multiple portals, each of which had different functionality, workflows and user rights. In addition, to maximise the benefits of an online dealing portal, it was important for us to be able to integrate the portal with our treasury management system (TMS) and we found that each of the proprietary portals we looked at used different integration formats.
However, we recognised the value that online dealing, fund analytics and straight-through processing to our TMS would offer to our business. We therefore approached our fund managers to find out if it was feasible to standardise the functionality they offered through their portals and develop their integration capabilities in line with our requirements. Ultimately, given the diversity of requirements across their client base, this was not realistic, so we needed to find an alternative solution.
Identifying potential solutions
Specifically, we decided to look for an independent, multi-fund, multi-provider portal that would enable us to achieve comprehensive and consistent analysis across funds, and standardise our workflow. The solution would need to be integrated seamlessly with our TMS for straight-through processing of transactions, and support our security and audit objectives.