Winning formulas

FStech brings you the lowdown on its 2013 Awards, which took place on Wednesday, 17 April at the Lancaster London Hotel

Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Credit Suisse, RBS, Misys and Temenos were among the winners at the 2013 Awards. The event, into its 13th year, kicked off with a welcome speech by FStech Editor, Scott Thompson, who noted that much had happened since the last gathering. 2012 was a year of negative headlines, budgets under pressure, trigger happy regulators and creaking legacy systems hampering business and creating deeply unhappy customers. “But, as a famous sitcom character of yesteryear was fond of saying, don’t panic! I’m not going to kick the 2013 Awards off on a downer. In fact, I am pleased to be the bearer of some good news,” said Thompson. “Since the start of the recession in 2008, banks and other financial services providers have understandably reined in all non-essential IT spend, with the notable exception being solutions to manage regulatory compliance. The focus on regulatory compliance remains but as IT spending begins to increase in 2013, and let’s hope beyond, funding is increasingly becoming available for projects which aim to attract customers and drive customer satisfaction.”

Dinner was then served, after which the host for the evening, comedian and actor Miles Jupp, took to the stage to deliver an opening routine that poked fun at the audience (“Lock up your daughters the IT decision makers are in town!”), FStech (“They sent me a copy ahead of this evening and I must say I found it very useful. I used it to prop up a wonky piano”) and some of the shortlisted companies (“We have the great and the good here tonight and also Wonga...National Australia (Europe), either a sign they can’t make their minds up or proof of plans for world domination.”

And the winners are…
And so onto who won what…First up was Best Use of Social Media which saw Thomson Reuters emerge triumphant. Thomson Reuters Machine Readable News, including News Analytics and MarketPsych, is a service for systematic analysis and consumption of news. Committed to providing customers with intelligent information, the company launched two new products in 2012 which mine the wealth of social media content and deliver digestible analytics to help identify and capitalise on new trading opportunities. Next up, Best Use of IT in Retail Banking, which went to Lloyds Banking Group/Charter UK. Lloyds Banking Group is using Charter UK to identify and resolve the sources of customer concerns, cutting complaints per account to 35 per cent of industry average within 12 months, and empowering frontline staff to resolve 90 per cent of complaints at first point of contact with the support of its own complaint-handling specialists.

Best Use of IT in Wholesale & Investment Banking was awarded to Deutsche Bank. It picked up a gong for Horizon, a dashboard for risk managers to access critical information in a timely, innovative and intuitive manner which enables key risk making decisions across the entire organisation at the touch of a button.

In the Best Trading System category, the MahiFX trading platform won out. This was developed in response to its founders’ belief that retail FX traders should have access to the same sophisticated technology and wholesale quality rates enjoyed by institutional traders. Rather than relying on third party technology, MahiFX’s team of ex-interbank traders, statisticians, developers and analysts set out to develop a proprietary platform to deliver optimal reliability, security, functionality and pricing direct to retail traders.

Avelo landed the Best Use of IT in Insurance award. With RDR on the horizon and a greater demand for impaired-life annuities, coupled with an increase in smaller-pot business, Avelo recognised a need to improve the efficiency and profitability of its enhanced annuity business. The administration of enhanced annuity business is a challenge for advisers. Research found concerns about the time taken to obtain quotes from providers and to progress an enhanced annuity case through to application. The current process, a paper common quotation request form, is outdated and inefficient. The form must be faxed or emailed to each provider for them to return a quote and adviser firms often need to chase up for a response. It’s not uncommon for firms to wait up to two weeks for a quote from providers. Avelo knew it could work with providers to streamline the process. It set out to create an electronic version of the common quotation form which would be used on the Exchange Portal to enable intermediaries to obtain instant, guaranteed, enhanced annuity quotes. The company teamed up with Aviva, Just Retirement, Legal & General and Partnership. The end result is a fully automated online common quotation form which features the very latest question set and is backed by all the major annuity providers, meaning advisers only need to complete and submit the form once to receive quotations from across the market.

In the Data Governance Project of the Year category, Credit Suisse impressed the judges with MYRIAD. This provides improved risk data policies, quality and efficiencies by providing efficient and transparent data capture for market and credit risk management. It processes batch and real-time data, enabling more intra-day risk management and accurate “on-demand” trusted risk exposure information for consumption by risk management, front office and finance. Best Use of Technology in Customer Service went to Barclays Wealth & Investment Management Barclays has implemented an innovative voice recognition solution which matches the client’s stored voice print (once enrolled) against their live call in real-time, ensuring the flow of the call is not interrupted and dramatically reducing the authentication stages each client would have to go through.

Best Use of Online Services was won by MKK Central Securities Depository of Turkey. e-GEM is a web-based online platform for general meetings that was completed and went live on 1 October 2012. The judges saw it as a significant development for both institutional shareholders and corporate governance community as it increases transparency and removes barriers to effective cross-border voting. e-GEM revolutionises the whole chain of general meeting operations in Turkey and raises the level of local market practices with international best practices and, in a first, it requires that issuers change their company statutes in order to allow electronic participation and voting at their general meetings. In the Best Use of Mobile category, the winning entry was Lloyds Banking Group – Halifax/Grapple. With one in three property searches made from a mobile device, Halifax utilised mobile to challenge and redefine the role banks play in purchasing a home. The result is Halifax Home Finder, a free app for iPhone and Android to revolutionise the way people find and buy a home. There was also a Highly Commended nod for Intuit in this category (recognising Intuit Pay).

Barclaycard triumphed in the Anti-fraud/Security Strategy of the Year category. It has brought together a wide range of techniques to fight against fraud, improve data security and optimise acceptance. Its approach supports customers to develop multi-layered defences, protecting their business at key stages along their customer journey, before, during and after transactions have taken place. Barclaycard were straight back on stage to pick up the Compliance Project of the Year award. The Barclaycard Risk Reduction Programme was hailed as a unique and pragmatic approach to PCI DSS, specifically designed to assist merchants in their PCI compliance by using a risk-based framework which enables prioritised risk reduction over time and decreases the cost of compliance by the integration with wider information governance requirements.

Systems Integration Project of the Year was awarded to Lloyds Banking Group. The Solstice Programme strategically sourced and tendered the network contracts which deliver data and voice network services including LAN/WAN, datacentre LAN, office telephony and security services for 3,000 LBG branches, 1,200 remote ATMs, 350 head office locations and datacentres to deliver significant 2012 cost savings. RBS landed the Best Use of Networking/Cabling award. The global RBS network was in need of a transformation to reduce complexity and costs. The winning project delivered a single simplified network, a global operating model and savings in recurring network costs. These achievements have allowed RBS to meet new business requirements without the complexity, time and cost it previously required.

Outsourcing Partnership of the Year went to Standard Life/BT. By choosing to outsource 17 network services to BT, Standard Life will save £14 million in operational costs over a five year period, while simultaneously reducing risk through a range of technology refreshes and taking advantage of a number of technology innovations. The network services underpin Standard Life’s global organisation. Payments Innovation of the Year was awarded to Barclays (Pingit). With Pingit, it became the first bank in Europe to launch a person-to-person and mobile payments service. The service makes the act of sending a payment as simple as sending a text message. Since launch, Pingit has gone viral amongst both Barclays and non-Barclays customers, SMEs and corporates. Banca Monte Paschi Belgio/SIX Payment Services were Highly Commended in this category. In November 2012, Banca Monte Paschi Belgio launched the world’s first PaschiCombo card, a dual Maestro (debit) and MasterCard (credit) display card with added contactless payments and secure e-commerce functionalities. SIX Payment Services provides the payments processing technology behind the card.

IT Team of the Year went the way of Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Green IT project). In June of last year, Bank of America announced a 10-year $50 billion initiative to help address climate change and demands on natural resources. It also committed to deliver a 25 per cent reduction in energy consumption, 20 per cent in global paper consumption, 20 per cent in water consumption, and divert 70 per cent of waste from landfill, all by 2015.

In the supplier categories Cloud Computing Innovation of the Year was hotly contested. There were a number of innovative suppliers in contention but in the end Temenos won out. The company has pioneered the use of deploying core banking systems through a cloud-based service. The use of Temenos T24 from the cloud has allowed a number of microfinance institutions in Africa to open for business and significantly lower initial capital outlays and to open for service quicker than when implementing an onsite core system. Risk Management Software of the Year category was next up. Misys Global Risk (MGR) launched on 1 November 2012. Misys’ new and modular risk management solution is taking a different approach to risk management. It offers a centralised and comprehensive governing layer of risk analysis and reporting with industry-proven risk modules that are able to deliver seamless collaboration and improved decision making, whether the information resides in a Misys, in-house, or a third party system.

Most Innovative Product of the Year followed. Actiance was recognised for Socialite, which enables financial services organisations to maximise the value of social media by empowering distributed teams to share pre-approved content, to interact with clients and prospects, and to analyse the impact of published content, all without compromising compliance requirements. Technology Provider of the Year (UK) was awarded to Landmark Quest. Since its formation 30 years ago, the company has re-engineered the survey and valuation business of many of the UK’s banks and building societies, producing substantial efficiency gains in the mortgage industry. In 2012, a new mobile innovation was launched to enhance productivity while delivering cost savings and improved audit in the mortgage valuation process.

Technology Provider of the Year (Rest of world) saw a tie for first place. Bravura Solutions and MarketAxess both impressed the judges. Bravura Solution’s transfer agency and wealth management software supports over 150 global installations, maximising growth and reducing cost and complexity of front-to-back operations. MarketAxess is a provider of global fixed income electronic trading. Supporting shifting customer needs requires constant innovation. In response to recent challenges in the corporate bond and derivatives markets, the company has introduced a suite of trading options to help its network of over 1,000 investor and dealer firms source liquidity.

The penultimate award of the night was the Barry Holland Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement. This recognises the contribution of an individual to the financial services industry, looking at his or her role in the successful implementation of projects and strategies. The award commemorates Barry Holland, a four-time awards judge and advisor to FStech, who sadly passed away in 2010. Ganesh Balasubramanian, CTO, Lloyds Banking Group, was this year’s winner. In the five years since joining Lloyds Banking Group, he has transformed application delivery, built a global delivery team and completed the largest banking integration ever. He is now leading the UK’s largest banking divestment and setting and delivering the technology strategy.

And finally, Overall Winner. This went to Barclays Group, in recognition of impressive entries across a number of categories, including Pingit and the Barclaycard Risk Reduction Programme.

Congratulations to the 2013 winners and those who were highly commended and thanks to our sponsors and all who continue to support the Awards! Information on the 2014 event will be posted online in the near future at:

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