“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud, so everyone can hear!” – Buddy the Elf
I just finished watching my favorite Christmas movie, Elf. As Buddy narrated his journey through the seven levels of the candy cane forest and the sea of swirly gum drops, I began to reflect on our endeavors this year at Boston Financial. I am sure you wouldn’t enjoy my singing, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share some thoughts in a Christmas blog post.
Change has always been part of the transfer agency tradition and we saw plenty of it this year. As with most things in our society, the difference today is the velocity of change. This year’s drivers of change included the continued evolution of distribution strategies and the ever present jingle of regulatory legislation. Through these continuous changes, Boston Financial remains focused on ensuring our solutions continue to meet the needs of our customers.
Boston Financial is not alone in facing these business challenges. At times it seems that the entire asset management industry is working toward standardizing, streamlining, and simplifying their business. Beyond the transfer agency, the shift in fees paid to third party record-keepers has prompted many asset managers to reassess their service strategy. There has been a renewed focus on outsourcing. In 2014, Boston Financial had the opportunity to participate in many conversations on this topic. These discussions have led to several additions to our customer family this year, and several jolly opportunities for next year.
These new business opportunities affirm our belief that our continued corporate focus on offering a high-quality, competitively priced, sustainable business model is paramount to the success of our customers and for Boston Financial. Our offerings are predicated on our core competencies: infrastructure, technology, resource management, institutional knowledge, and relationship management. When we apply these skills in areas that leverage our scale and technology, the results are solutions that are difficult for others to replicate. This advantage is evident in our current product offerings. Some product highlights from this past year include:
- Regional Recovery Abilities: For years we’ve had the ability to move calls between sites and shared operational functions. Over the past 18 months, our regional recovery abilities have been greatly expanded in the areas of NSCC processing, control, and institutional processing.
- Blue Sky Servicing: During the second half of 2013, Boston Financial added Blue Sky servicing. Since the introduction of this business last year, our Blue Sky customers have nearly doubled. Clearly, many of our customers share our belief that, given the currently regulatory landscape, the opportunity to bundle Compliance services with a trusted business partner is a compelling business case.
- Abandoned Property: Customers are extremely focused on asset retention, especially faced with aggressive posture of many states related to escheatment. Even if it does not appear on your holiday wish list, abandoned property will continue to be a hot topic in 2015.
- Intermediary Payment Administration and Proxy: These offerings also continue to gain traction. Boston Financial has several customers in queue to be on-boarded for Payment Administration and our proxy pipeline for 2015 also looks robust.
Of course, none of this is possible without our customers. If we are going to continue creating and maintaining compelling and sustainable solutions, we need to to understand our customers and ensure that we have a pulse on our clients’ businesses.
Client engagement takes on many forms at Boston Financial: individual meetings and planning sessions; customer events such as our Forums and Webcasts; thought leadership such as our Perspectives blog. We also try to be as active as possible with industry trade organizations, such as the ICI and NICSA.
How do we make sure we are on the right track? That we’re doing the right things? A few years back we changed how we conduct our client survey. The goal was to better understand our customer relationships by gaining insights on our relationship teams, the services we provide, and your challenges. This new survey process has proven to be an excellent mechanism for increased feedback and therefore a useful calibration tool for the ongoing alignment of business strategy to our clients’ needs.
While another busy year is drawing to a close, I hope that everyone has the opportunity to spend quality time with their friends and family during the holiday season.
From everyone at Boston Financial, we hope you have a joyful holiday season and a bountiful start to 2015!