Delivering technological innovation has always remained at the heart of how we approach pension scheme custody. Furthermore, areas such as custody or solutions like cost transparency, require the ability to continually enhance technologies and technology processes as client expectations evolve.
We talk to Arnaud Misset, Chief Digital Officer at CACEIS who oversees CACEIS’ digital transformation.
19 Feb 2020
What was the catalyst that sparked off the digital transformation programme at CACEIS?
The seeds of this programme were already there, but we began in real earnest in 2017. We were seeing a lot of change in the market and people everywhere were talking about digital. As a result, we asked ourselves what does this mean and how are we going to approach it? Everyone involved in the asset servicing business for pension schemes offer similar services for areas such as custody and governance reporting. The only difference is the appetite a client has to work with you. Consequently, we concluded that user experience was everything. That was our first pillar.
Our second pillar revolved around the fact that we were working in a volume business. We are an outsourcer. Therefore, we need to manage our business in a very efficient manner. Our approach needed to be simple and easy, leveraging new technology as much as possible.
However, we are seeking to change things. The examples above highlight that in this digital age, individuals are growing more comfortable with the idea of selecting products and services online, sometimes ones that are more complex in nature. Consequently, we are bringing this flexible, technology approach to CACEIS in a number of ways, such as the ability for clients to add additional services such as performance measurement or ESG reporting online. In the case of performance information, for example, we can offer clients a three-month service for free before we start to charge for it – this follows a similar approach used by other technology proficient online providers.
What did you do at CACEIS to transform the client experience?
We launched a new programme that involved creating a client portal. This provides clients with ‘real time access’ to their assets with tools for data analysis and generating reports. It wasn’t easy, but we got there in the end. One of the issues in banking is that people work in silos, and this breaks down the barriers to communication – we focused on removing these barriers. At the same time, we looked at the development of the client portal through the lens of our clients. Consequently, we took great strides in thinking about client experience when developing the dashboards for the client portal, mindful of the fact that clients would be highly focussed on ease of use in accessing the information they needed. This project took a year and a half to implement.
In fact, CACEIS’ pensions business also applied the same principles to client experience in developing their proprietary cost transparency dashboard for pension schemes, which helps bring costs to life. The pensions business worked on making the cost information easy to interpret, to help trustees make decisions that are more informed.
Can you tell me a little about your Ambassador programme?
This works with both internal and external people and it’s our second year of doing it. Part of it relates to the fact that we don’t want to be viewed as a two-tier company. We want everyone to be involved in our digital activities and we use the same collaborative programme that we use with our clients. For example, we ask staff to post their ideas on a message board and then other staff members can either like or dislike them. It’s anonymous, so no-one gets hurt. At the end of the first year we had 150 ideas posted.
We then selected fifteen teams. Each team was then trained to pitch to general management. Each team had fifteen minutes each to present and fight for their project. It was really inspiring. Finally, we selected five ideas, which are now real-life projects.
Can you say a little bit about how you foster a Fintech culture at CACEIS?
We are part of Credit Agricole – Le Village. This is an important incubator for us. It’s very good at sourcing Fintech companies we can work with. Indeed, external Fintechs want to work with us rather than compete with us. We don’t pay for the product development, but we sell it. It’s easy to integrate it and we get an attractive price for our clients – it’s much cheaper for them. The aim is to have a wide range of services.