Financial Services & Insurance
SharePoint technical lead at Investec
When you’re handling $115 billion in assets, managing customer orders and international regulatory compliance documents is key to your business. Investec Asset Management, a firm founded in 1991 in South Africa, is best serving its customers, who have entrusted the company with those billions, by using harmon.ie to collaborate on and categorize documents and e-mails quickly and efficiently.
Investec serves an international client base of pension funds, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, insurers, foundations, financial advisers and individual investors. The variety of clients in multiple geographies means Investec’s 1,000 information workers complete, categorize and collaborate on a plethora of documents among its offices around the world, including London, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei.
To establish a central document and email repository, Investec implemented SharePoint 2010, then upgraded to SharePoint 2013 in the autumn of 2014. The company integrated SharePoint with other software used throughout the company, such as the Salesforce.com customer relationship management system, Investec’s trading system and its data warehouse. Today, all business processes are done through SharePoint. “In the morning people come in, look at their SharePoint screen, and know what they need to do that day,” explains Bhuti Mbele, SharePoint technical lead at Investec.
Investec’s goal was to have all documents and client communications stored and categorized via metadata on SharePoint. The company uses two main categories of metadata: a document type (which includes customer mandates, whether the account is individually managed or professionally managed, legal side letters, authorized signatories and various compliance documents) and portfolio codes, which are unique identifiers for each client.
Although IT mandated the use of SharePoint, some employees still stored documents locally, either on personal or shared drives, says Mbele. That’s because sharing documents using SharePoint was cumbersome and time-consuming. Client managers, responsible for creating client documents in SharePoint, found it so cumbersome that they would sometimes ask Mbele to download documents for them. “They might have to download 10 documents, a mundane task that can take a while,” says Mbele. Also, important e-mails were not being stored along with the relevant client documents, because there was no simple way to add and categorize e-mails in SharePoint.
Mbele would feign acquiescence when he received these requests, but in reality it took him less than a minute to download all those documents. He was already using the free version of harmon.ie, the Outlook plug-in that creates a window into SharePoint directly from the e-mail program. He simply dragged the documents from the SharePoint window into an e-mail and clicked send. “They thought I was taking the time to do all this downloading, but I was actually just using harmon.ie,” he says.
Recognizing how easy harmon.ie would make collaboration and that it would encourage adoption of SharePoint, Mbele championed the adoption of a licensed enterprise version company wide.
“One of the difficulties with SharePoint, and it’s a challenge with any document management system, is how easy or difficult is it to store and access documents,” says Mbele. “harmon.ie makes it very easy for anybody to be able to receive a document via e-mail and just drop it into SharePoint.”
Here are three ways in which harmon.ie is helping Investec better manage its documents and communications.
Business scenario #1: Onboarding and maintaining clients
Onboarding a new client involves the collection and completion of dozens of documents, including mandates. A mandate spells out instructions on how and where clients want their money invested and the benchmarks they want to reach in terms of returns. Client managers create these in Salesforce, giving them a portfolio code and a document code, which automatically places and categorizes the documents into SharePoint. In this way, salespeople can easily access these documents by simply selecting the particular client in the Salesforce system. This saves enormous amounts of time in client communications. Previously, salespeople would have to download the relevant documents to their computers, write an e-mail to the client, and then attach those documents – one by one – to the e-mail. This process is cumbersome and fraught with error. In addition there is not necessarily an accurate record of the correspondence and transactions, and thus no audit trail. Now, when a client e-mails Investec a document, such as a bank account letter, it gets stored in SharePoint via harmon.ie using the relevant portfolio code and document type. The salesperson just opens the e-mail, then drags and drops the e-mail and document into the SharePoint window. This simple process means that employees effortlessly ‘do the right thing’ while the business keeps an accurate record of customer interactions and transactions.
Business Scenario #2: Internal transactions
When Investec employees trade on their own personal accounts, the company needs to make sure it documents comply with regulations that govern the frequency of those purchases and guard against any conflicts of interest. When an internal staff member buys assets in a unit trust (a mutual fund), for example, he fills out an order form in Salesforce that requires information on the amount of money and type of investment. SharePoint then takes that data and creates a “personal account document” PDF. That initiates a specific workflow whereby the document is automatically tagged appropriately and routed to the chief investment officer for approval. If approved, the document then goes to the trading desk, which makes the purchase. Compliance staff who need an audit trail, or in fact anyone who needs to look up the information, can easily search for the documents and e-mails using harmon.ie, directly in the Outlook window.
Business Scenario #3: Project Library
As client managers and salespeople communicate with clients, they can now, with harmon.ie, easily store e-mails and documents in the Project Library. That makes it quick and easy for the compliance staff to access them and ensure that transactions – both internal and external - comply with all relevant regulations. Because all communications and documents are in one place, they can also be found with a single search query from harmon.ie, making it easy to produce audit trails. In the U.K., for example, the company must comply with the European Market Infrastructure Reporting (EMIR), a European Union regulation to ensure transparency in the market for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. When the trade desk logs a trade in SharePoint, it automatically sends an e-mail to the investment operations department to ensure that the proper EMIR reporting is done.
Investec users have started using harmon.ie over the last six months, and now Investec is starting its official roll out of the enterprise version. Mbele expects to roll it out to sales, client managers, operations and legal employees first. “These divisions are heavy users of SharePoint,” he says. “Their people will see the immediate value in it.”
Investec plans to integrate documents with social collaboration tools, such as Skype for Business (Lync) and SharePoint newsfeeds. This integration will be simple because harmon.ie already includes access to such tools. Investec can be sure that harmon.ie will continue to support them as they progress on their collaboration roadmap.
Because so much of Investec’s operation depends on collaborating, sharing and storing documents, harmon.ie helps the company work faster and more efficiently. It also will encourage widespread and consistent use of SharePoint. In short, harmon.ie is making a good product even better.
“For me, SharePoint and harmon.ie go together like bread and butter,” says Mbele. “harmon.ie makes SharePoint come alive.”