It is a “no brainer” for superannuation funds to leverage the technology and capability of custodians, according to Paul Toepfer, director at financial sector consultants KONU.
Speaking at a webinar, Toepfer said there was a huge amount of value to be gained from the investment custodians had made into technology and the knowledge they had gained from developing product solutions that catered to a wide range of organisations.
“You get the benefit of that deep brains trust of people, not only in Australia but around the world,” said Toepfer.
He said technological innovation from custodians came from client discussions where the custodian could improve on strategies that were already in place by the super fund.
Commenting on the role technological capability played in selecting a custodian, QSuper’s Alana Wilson, senior valuations and alternatives manager, said it was an overarching consideration rather than the only consideration.
She said super funds could leverage custodians for integration platform solutions, enhancing their exiting services or to partner with the custodian to scale technology or automation in order to reduce operational risk.
Agreeing with Wilson, EY’s Amy Spencer, senior manager, consulting, said technology also supported clients in running requests for proposals (RFPs) to select or kick ties for custodians.
“It's absolutely something that we would include in an RFP,” said Spencer.
“We need to see your architecture; we need to understand the integration and the data flows because that underpins how the service is delivered and we can look at certain things whether particular core systems are outdated or need to be updated.
“That that could be a crucial decision point in choosing a custodian.”
Wilson said some funds had internal strategies of building their own technology and insourcing their own databases.
“Some firms have more sophisticated internal data analytical reporting that they are looking to achieve for boards and internal management decisions,” said Wilson.
She said there was different drivers as to whether a custodian was able to provide the right level of customisation, including scale, efficiency and cost.