Equiniti signs for SMA Swift Service Bureau

Source: SMA Financial

SMA Financial, Swift Regional partner for UK, Eire, Channel Islands and the Nordics today announced that Equiniti, the leading provider of shareholder and employee services, is implementing SMA Financial's Swift Service Bureau alongside the administrator system from aquilaheywood.

It will enable Equiniti to employ ISO20022 messaging standards for transmission over SWIFTNet Funds to investment managers, resulting in straight-through processing (STP), lowering operational risk with increased efficiency.

Equiniti is a third party administrator (TPA) that has been using the robust and sophisticated administrator system from aquilaheywood for two years to support a diverse range of pension schemes and clients. However, like many companies in the pension industry it had still not fully embraced straight through processing. Recognising the needs of their clients aquilaheywood enhanced administrator to create and accept ISO20022 messages. Equiniti has utilised this in order to reduce their costs and introduce more efficiency and flexibility. Equiniti then selected the SMA Service Bureau (aquilaheywood's strategic partner) to enable it to transmit the messages via SWIFT.

Geoff Francis, Pensions Director, Equiniti said, "The SWIFT Service Bureau and administrator system represent best of breed solutions that allow us to make full use of SWIFT messaging and follow ISO20022 standards. SMA and aquilaheywood clearly work well together and have demonstrated seamless SWIFT connectivity. The implementation is on target to go live with our first investment manager in July 2010. This will allow us to lower transaction processing costs and substantially reduce operational risk."

The project will support Equiniti as it moves to a daily trading operation. It will create transaction instructions from within administrator that meet the ISO20022 and SWIFT messaging format, the recognised standard in the corporate pensions industry. The message transactions produced by administrator can be transmitted without intervention or amendment securely via the SMA Service Bureau over the SWIFT network to the relevant investment manager.

Additionally, Equiniti will receive messages such as the Custody Statement of Holdings and Unit Price Repornit Price Report from the investment managers over SWIFTNet Funds. The SMA Bureau will automatically send these to administrator. Automation in loading the Unit Price Report and Custody Statement of Holdings allows the administrator functionality to fully reconcile the reported fund holdings from the investment manager to that held on administrator. Eliminating unnecessary manual intervention in the payments and reporting process, Equiniti can increase the frequency with which it transacts and reduce the time taken to reconcile key information. By identifying and correcting any exceptions earlier, Equiniti will have a more accurate view of its financial position and benefit from lower operational risk.

Simon Murby, Managing Director, SMA Financial added, "The SMA Service Bureau is a complementary solution that extends the reach and functionality of the administrator system. Together they offer the corporate and TPA pensions industry the opportunity to take advantage of ISO20022 messaging over the ultra-secure SWIFT network and introduce greater levels of payment processing automation."

Simon Barker, Head of Corporate, aquilaheywood, a supplier of life and pensions administration software concluded, "In entering the TPA market Equiniti selected aquilaheywood and administrator as the leading software platform in this arena. We continually enhance the rich functionality of administrator and the ISO20022 messaging capability is one example of this. Having further invested in their infrastructure Equiniti can continue to drive greater efficiencies and deliver highly competitive services to clients."

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