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Corporate actions: there's an app for that

In the past decade, developments in technology have helped automate at least some of the areas of corporate actions processing.  The evolution of XML-based middleware applications, for example, has assisted in the automation of data comparison functionality.  In its pursuit of the elusive “golden copy” announcement, the financial industry has adopted corporate actions applications with rules-based engines and specialized integration utilities.   While the ultimate solution for data scrubbing of announcement information may have yet to be finalized or globally deployed, there have been significant achievements in the area, including new messaging standard initiatives, to shift the focus to other concerns.   As demands for transparency and risk mitigation by the investor community increase, financial firms will be pressured to differentiate themselves and their product offerings.  In order to stay competitive, these firms will need to concentrate on ways to enhance their client service offerings. 

The evolution of mobile technology and its popular acceptance globally, offers a way that an investment firm can deliver value-added benefits to its client base in an established distribution channel.  Corporate actions processing would appear to be an ideal use of this delivery method.  With its anytime/anywhere design, mobile technology offers portfolio managers and clients the capability to receive up-to-the-minute information on corporate actions announcements on their mobile devices.   As in the case of today’s retail banking customer, an investor can receive alerts and notifications of corporate actions announcements in real-time, through a cellular phone.  Options can be delivered immediately without the need for artificial deadline dates.  In turn, elections can be made by portfilio managers and clients, allowing for the optimum amount of time for decision making.   Other extended uses for mobile technology in corporate actions would be the delivery and receipt of proxy votes, and the review and confirmation of standing instructions.   In addition, depending on the functionality of the corporate action application, investors can receive decision trends  and run what-if analyses, as well as “In/Out of the Money” indicators, on their holdings and positions prior to submitting their decision.

Mobile technology is already being deployed in most major financial firms for a variety of end-user functions.  In the majority of cases, issues regarding security and costs have already been addressed.  Extending the use of mobile technology to corporate actions processing may be the next logical step in its evolution.


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