BACKGROUND

A leading global provider of integrated solutions for institutional asset managers engaged Meradia to document operating procedures. As a service vendor to the industry this firm was asked by existing clients, sales prospects and regulatory bodies to provide comprehensive documentation to substantiate business practices as part of due diligence exercises. Existing documentation was fragmented, incomplete and inconsistent from team to team. Subject matter experts, while adept at daily operational responsibilities, lacked the writing and communication skills necessary for creating effective process flows or clearly communicating the rationale behind tasks. Additionally, technological underpinnings were in flux and new capabilities suggested opportunities to refine and optimize during the exercise. Scope spanned trade settlement, investment accounting, reconciliation,
investment performance, reference data setup, fee billing, client onboarding, collateral management and client reporting.

ANALYSIS

Meradia’s intake revealed little in the way of existing process maps. Existing documentation was a series of targeted checklist-like instructions. The client had recently added Confluence (workflow) and a new reconciliation engine to the application mix but teams weren’t yet leveraging the improved process capabilities these new tools enabled. Meradia brainstormed with the teams individually and across groups to help them envision new ways of working that would leverage these new applications and their associated capabilities. Meradia’s deep expertise in the industry helped both educate staff members who were largely young and lacked
perspective of their works’ impact on other teams and brought the element of best practices to each intake discussion. Interviews became brainstorming exercises whereby processes were debated and alternatives or opportunities to streamline were institutionalized.

RESULTS

Project artifacts included process and workflow maps, step-by-step instructions and in every case described the bigger picture completely such that a new recruit would both understand what they needed to do and why. Confluence was used for all outputs – a technology which facilitated a more wiki-like end-product that could be maintained by the teams on a go-forward basis. As appropriate, Confluence was also used to automate tasks (like handoffs) and create electronic audit trails for risky process steps. The idealized process maps and documentation that resulted from this exercise quickly became status quo as new recruits to their young organization were trained from the materials. Outputs created the basis through which the service provider was audited by regulatory agencies for controls certifications.

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