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Dealing firms not ready for real-time reconciliation - survey

29 October 2012  |  5299 views  |  2 Digital Arrow chart

More than half of financial institutions have not yet embarked on real-time reconciliation for any of their asset classes and do not expect to be in a position to move to do so by the end of 2013, according to a survey conducted by Gresham Computing

The company says that respondents to the survey included investment banks, inter-dealer brokers and buy-side firms in New York and London.

New upcoming regulations such as Basel III and Dodd Frank are expected to result in additional reconciliations requirements between different systems - for example to ensure margin calls from central counterparties are reconciled in real-time as there may only be a matter of minutes to deliver collateral to satisfy the margin call. Failure to do so may result in the wrong amount of collateral being delivered with consequent opportunity costs and increased manual work loads.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 89 per cent of respondents encounter delays or problems when on-boarding new financial products and putting the necessary risk controls in place.

To overcome the on-boarding delays:

  • 43 per cent are forced to bypass the main reconciliation system and set up work-arounds in Excel, Access and other similar applications;
  • 13 per cent set a limit on the number of new products that can be created to avoid building too much of a backlog;
  • 19 per cent simply add the new requests to their existing reconciliation backlog.

When asked about their state of readiness for intersystem reconciliation:

  • 44 per cent said they are looking at this but are concerned there will be delays due to the limitations of their existing systems;
  • 33 per cent said they haven't started looking at this and are not yet clear on the final requirements.

"The findings of this survey are consistent with the conversations we've been having with banks and other financial institutions across the world. The vast majority are struggling to on-board new financial transactions in a timely and cost-effective way and many are still using work-arounds in Excel. New regulations are now putting them under pressure to put in place enterprise-grade solutions that allow rapid on-boarding of new financial products as well as real-time reconciliation," said Neil Vernon, Development Director, Gresham Computing. 

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 29 October, 2012, 10:32

Real time reconcilations are mandatory accross asset class if T+2 has any chance of working. Its just amazing the the vast majority of FS firms still use spreadsheets as their main reconciliation tool

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 31 October, 2012, 12:15

Why am I not surprised at all? Reconciliation is just another mission-critical business process where Excel comes to aid, a few others being cash flow forecasting by treasury, balance sheet and P&L for a company's board of directors, business activity monitoring, mobile secondary sales in FMCG / CPG industry. Instead of finding fault with end-users, providers of industrial-grade solutions - for reconciliation or other business processes - should introspect why surveyed end users "encountered delays or problems when onboarding new financial products", were forced to limit the "number of new products that can be created" using these systems that were purchased and implemented at huge cost, and so on.

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