At KAS BANK we take matters such as transparency and responsibility to our clients and the market very seriously. How is this translated in our strategy, vision and mission?
"Our vision of modern ‘custodianship’ is that we want to be a network bank for our clients through working together with specialised parties", says KAS BANK's CEO Sikko van Katwijk.
16 Mar 2016
Sikko van Katwijk, Chairman of KAS BANK's Managing Board
What is the added value and the social importance of a custodian in a continually changing environment? And how is that translated in the vision and mission of KAS BANK? As Chairman of the Managing Board, Sikko van Katwijk thinks about that a great deal. “A modern custodian must be more than a keeper of securities alone. Together with all of its stakeholders, it must think about the question of how securities can best be protected and developed. A network of knowledge specialists is essential for that.”
“I actually see KAS BANK as a continual 'start-up'. Throughout our 210 years we have continually been adapting to developments within the financial markets. We follow developments in the market and among our clients, but also take the lead. That is only possible if you identify trends and possibilities and translate these in new services and products. In this way, we have already continually been realising an up-to-date interpretation of the term 'custodian' for more than 200 years.”
How is this then translated in our strategy, vision and mission?
“Our strategy is aimed at organic growth and continuity in the long term. Our clients enter into long-term relationships with us; this means that we have to be able to trust each other completely. It also means that we have to invest in relationships with potential new clients. No over-hasty decisions are taken in our business. We see this clearly in the UK and Germany, where we focus entirely on growing new business in the pensions sector. Our name recognition has grown spectacularly in the past year, but that has not yet translated directly into winning new clients because we focus on the long term. I am convinced that good things are in the pipeline in both countries.
In the Netherlands, we do have strong name recognition, but other factors play a role here. Take the shrinkage in the pensions sector: Pension funds are disappearing or merging. The pensions market is therefore gradually shrinking in terms of independent funds, but is growing in terms of assets held per client. We are well-positioned to serve that changing market with the right products.
"In the coming five years, the market will therefore increasingly move towards reporting and accounting. That offers ample opportunities for us."
Realising the most effective solutions for our clients
Cooperation takes priority here. We want to share our knowledge of the market - whether that concerns pensions, Solvency II, EMIR or the Validation System - as far as possible, in order to realise the most effective solutions for our clients. That strategy is catching on, for the Assets under Administration at the bank are gradually rising. This indicates confidence in the market.
Our vision of modern ‘custodianship’ is that we want to be a network bank for our clients. One of the features of a start-up is that it works as much as possible with partners that are outstanding in their professional fields. Doing everything yourself is no longer the way things are done. Our clients also opt for KAS BANK because they count on our machine working under all circumstances. For that, the various parts must meet high quality standards. For this, we work with providers that are the best in their professional fields.
Working with specialised partners is always in the interests of the client. Our task is to connect all the incoming data to the technical infrastructure. That is the basis for error-free processing and high quality reports. These range from regulatory reports to Dutch Central Bank to ESG screening of the responsible investment policy of investment funds and charitable institutions.
As a result of increasing regulation, liquidity and collateral management are becoming more and more important for all trading parties. By delivering high quality solutions, we can provide optimal support for all client groups. Our mission is to create a win-win situation for our clients. By outsourcing part of their work to us, they can design their own organisations as efficiently as possible in order to realise their corporate goals. They are supported in this by experts in their professional field. On the operational level, for example, we enter into long-term partnerships with organisations that take over part of the operational risk. Our clients notice nothing of this, but do benefit optimally from the advantages.”
"The capital markets and the balance of power are changing fast. Power is shifting from intermediaries back to owners of securities; this is partly the result of increasing transparency in the entire investment chain. All parties involved must make how, and with what, they earn their money increasingly clear. We welcome this, although it is not, by definition, in our favour. For the more that transaction costs fall, the more we shall have to earn our money still more effectively by providing specialised services. In that regard, market developments are in progress that are of major importance for us and for our clients. There is a growing need for up-to-date insight into the performance of investment portfolios. As a custodian, we possess a great deal of information that we can make accessible to our clients. Good and reliable valuation of investment portfolios therefore holds an increasingly important place in relation to ‘simple safekeeping’. Our clients actively request services and products that can assist and support them with this. Taking over administrative tasks and reporting obligations for our clients as far as possible allows them to focus on realising their investment performance.
Another trend we see developing is socially responsible investment. The social pressure to invest responsibly is growing all the time. Returns do remain crucial, but no longer at any expense. Investors and participants in pension funds want to know what their money is invested in. An independent ‘look through’ of the investment portfolio is essential for this. We can provide that to the line level and report on this.
In the coming five years, the market will therefore increasingly move towards reporting and accounting. That offers ample opportunities for us. A good partnership with our clients and suppliers is essential here. We learn from our clients and our clients learn from us. Together, you then realise the best results. Sharing knowledge therefore helps us all.
At the same time, we cherish our independent position in the market. We feel a strong social responsibility to keep, protect and develop the securities entrusted to us as well as possible. Only in that way can you honour 210 years of trust, every day again.”