GRC product of the year: Financial Risk Solutions

Asia Risk Awards 2020

Frank Carr_FRS
Frank Carr, Financial Risk Solutions

Financial Risk Solutions (FRS) brings over 20 years’ experience in working with the life assurance and asset management industries, developing new technologies to help reduce operation costs, increase efficiencies and mitigate risks. As a response to increased regulatory pressure in these fields, coupled with the growing trend of outsourcing, FRS saw a demand to bring a robust technology monitoring and reporting system to the market, to help mitigate risks and support business growth for its clients. This Asia Risk Award for GRC Product of the Year is for Invest|Pro Fund Pricing Oversight, which FRS developed to help its clients with the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) of fund pricing with outsourced providers. Regulators and product manufacturers want firms to demonstrate a higher oversight of the whole process chain – and FRS’s new solution does just that.

Launched in 2019, Invest|Pro Fund Pricing has been readily adopted by clients across the globe, leading to 20%+/year growth in turnover for FRS. The firm’s strong track record in the market speaks volumes as to why clients were so keen to jump on board with this new product.

One client explained: “Being able to view and report on our investments and funds not only helps us meet our regulatory requirements, but also benefits our overall business – and we have been able to do this quickly, efficiently and at minimal cost to our business. The process was seamless and efficient, which means that we are now 15 months ahead of our regulatory deadline, and can concentrate on our main business of serving our clients.”

The process was seamless and efficient, which means that we are now 15 months ahead of our regulatory deadline

Financial Risk Solutions client

Invest|Pro Fund Pricing Oversight is a robust, automated GRC product that helps promote an internal culture of transparency. Frank Carr, chief marketing officer at FRS, explains that this product assists its clients “to understand where in the chain things have or have not happened, and to give greater visibility, and that there are rules and metrics that are measured and monitored, and that it is proactive”.

What makes the Invest|Pro Fund Pricing Oversight solution stand out in this market is its continuous deployment, which came into effect about a year before the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the global lockdown.

Carr explains: “It essentially means that instead of having a risky project to upgrade or implement in the first place, we take a light approach with the continuous deployment and continuous testing of the latest version of the application.”

This continuous deployment was rolled out quickly last year across half of FRS’s client base as well as to all new clients it has brought on since. Carr says: “Continuous deployment is the next phase and osmosis in the software world – where, historically, the risk and outcome of projects [are] often not a very rosy story. So, anything to mitigate risks and improve project costs and efficiency is very welcome.”

FRS is continuously adapting its solutions to fit with regulatory demands, helping to ensure its clients have the most up-to-date systems.

Within Asia, the success of FRS’s solutions sits with its standard of regulatory coverage and the sophistication of its products and technologies. Carr explains how, “unlike other geographies, because there are so many separate regulatory frameworks and rules-based systems across Asia, it helps to utilise software that is also widely used across Europe, the US and Australia”, as clients take comfort in answering to the highest regulatory standards possible.

FRS recognises the significance of its offerings to the market, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Carr notes: “We’re seeing the adoption of software at a pace that we have not previously experienced. Some of that is because the human psyche is getting more familiar with using applications and doing business in a different way, having experienced lockdown – maybe more in the last seven months than in the previous eight years. At the core of that, and all financial offerings, is trust.”

As the firm continues to look at how it will be able to continue to serve its clients, it is the culture and exceptionalism at FRS itself that Carr believes will continue to help it stand out from its competitors.

“Much of the value-added in a system that always monitors, captures and records exceptions relates to instilling a strong corporate culture of continuous improvement, and importantly having the software system to back up this culture,” he says.

“These improvements are tangible and physically recorded over time. Clients, the [FRS] board and regulators like to see [evidence of] these improvements.”

And the evidence lies with FRS’s own strong client base. Carr explains that “all our clients are referenceable, which is a record we do not take lightly”.

This is a function of delivering on budget and on time and adding tangible value in a competitive market, he adds.

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