As the Covid-19 crisis continues, maintaining operational control and oversight has become more critical than ever for asset management firms. With staff spread over multiple locations or working remotely, there must be a heightened sensitivity to cybersecurity to enable firms to project trust and stability in these trying times.
Operations, cover a wide range of concerns for risk control in financial transactions. Funding sources, third-party vendor services, custodial services and others flow through operations. Security, quality control, compliance, and risk management demand strict oversight, but are only as good as the operations process and the systems that support it.
In our new normal, a workflow management platform has become mandatory in order to maintain the integrity of a company’s operations. In the recent past, asset management firms operated mostly within a flat organization structure.
Today, they must rely on greater inter-dependency amongst staff that can no longer work face-to-face. A workflow, project management and oversight platform can pull together the individual responsibilities of employees so that collaboration and oversight can be handled from one system.
Individual ownership of roles has always been a primary factor in maintaining success in a firm. Ownership motivates staff to take personal responsibility for the success of their roles and how they contribute to the success of the organization.
This ownership thrives in an office environment—and will continue to do so—but now must be elevated so that remote workers are aware of exactly who has key responsibilities and what those responsibilities are. Having a shared workflow environment is the best step in that direction.
Maintaining Checks and Balances Are More Crucial Than Ever
While individual ownership of responsibilities remains ideal, the need for checks and balances within the chain of command are paramount. Through each step of the operations control process, reporting rises to higher level management with less detail.
In light of this, the need for easy review of red flags and concerns must be available through a workflow management system, particularly a cloud-based system that can be accessed from anywhere.
Compliance needs to take center stage in all operations. Since even a small error can lead to legal and regulatory issues, an oversight system that tracks errors and responds in real-time with notifications to responsible parties should be put in place. Coordination between the operations department and compliance must result in a keen awareness of failures and potential failures to remediate inadvertent losses.
A necessary step is to ensure that firms publish their compliance procedures on an accessible system that key parties can access when needed. The integrity of these systems can be managed through strict permission access control that can be established within the workflow system itself and modified as necessary.
Reporting Needs and Process Will Increase with Additional Rigor
Reporting performance, the handling of operational risk, supervision of compliance, and client servicing should be reviewed with an eye toward increased awareness for stakeholders.
As an administrative function, client touch points, report generation and distribution can be deliverable through more automated processes. Establishing this layer of automation also lends itself to scalability within the reporting environment as new clients and new client needs come on board.
Metrics Help Maintain Consistency and Afford Improvement Opportunities
Monitoring operation statistics, especially as firms move into newer, more virtual experiences, should deliver metrics that provide meaningful information. Measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) can clarify whether perceived operational performance matches with the reality.
Controllers have a tendency to focus on discrete root-cause analysis for loss events without considering the issues presented by operational process flaws. Metrics can help break through this narrow view by making objective data a primary resource. Workflow platforms can be designed to pull measurement data from other software products within the firm and produce meaningful data reports on successes and failures.
Increase Client Contact to Keep Trust and Confidence High
At the end of the day, an asset management rises and falls on client satisfaction as much as performance. With today’s anxious environment causing whipsaw market volatility, clients want assurance their asset managers are on top of the issues.
Establishing new and more frequent reporting and data accessibility can go a long way to maintaining trust. Again, many of these tasks can occur through automated reporting, regular—even frequent—news notices, and more internal support for clients to access their data on their own.
New Challenges Demand New Solutions
As the political and financial landscapes continue to evolve during the pandemic, firms must rise to the occasion with ideas on how to get better control on asset management. An operational and compliance workflow tool presents itself as an ideal solution.
The right solution will improve workflow across multiple locations, among a multitude of staff in remote environments, and with features and benefits that can be uniquely tailored to individual company needs and demands. Collaboration is more important now than ever before, and a workflow management platform will meet that need in the best way possible.
OpsCheck is the premier Operations Platform built for the financial community by financial operations experts to fulfill all these needs. It is an Operations/Compliance Control and Oversight application that combines proven advancements in task, project, and workflow management in a single tool. OpsCheck is cloud based, offers full transparency and will transform your organization.