The Challenge

ACC Investments is one of New Zealand’s largest investment fund managers providing comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all residents and visitors to New Zealand. Money is collected in levies and invested over a range of asset classes such as shares, bonds and property in global markets to fund ACC services.

ACC Investments were using spreadsheets to store and manipulate data, creating exposure to risk and potential for errors. Their analysts were spending their time on manual processing and fixing inconsistencies, rather than focusing on investment returns.

ACC Investments uses custodian banks to hold, settle and value their investments. The custodian banks send investment and transaction data daily to ACC Investments in different formats, of which there are often time delays.

It was difficult to get a real-time view of the fund, how it is performing or to find out whether it is operating within its compliance regulations. They sought a partner to help them improve their complex business and technology processes.

“ClearPoint want to do what’s right for the client. They want to work together. It’s not ClearPoint and ACC but more of a one team approach.”

— Fenella Gray, COO of ACC Investments

The Solution

ClearPoint was engaged and initially delivered a new IT strategy and roadmap, then won the tender for the project delivery. ClearPoint delivered a new data management platform that has profoundly impacted ACC’s ability to manage its liability for the future.

ClearPoint employed its trademark agile software methodology to kickstart a functioning platform within weeks. The team released fully functioning pieces of software every three weeks, giving fast and visible return on investment. This allowed ACC Investments to start using the system before all parts of it had been completed. ClearPoint designed the data management platform so that multiple modules can be layered on top as needed to adapt to changing business conditions. This makes it easy to add new functionality while minimising the total cost of ownership.

Upon delivery of the core platform, ClearPoint was engaged to develop additional features such as a compliance engine, performance reporting, accounts reconciliation, and cash management modules.

“They don’t promise what they can’t deliver or what you don’t need. One of the biggest things is that you can have open discussions with ClearPoint. In the world of technology, issues crop up, just like in life, and you can have those conversations.”

— Jeremy Hill, Investment Management Office, ACC Investments

The Outcome

ClearPoint ensured alignment across the ACC Investments team. ClearPoint started the project by identifying the pain points and seeing how information was currently managed. ClearPoint identified that data needed to be verified quickly as well as trusting that data to make decisions. They needed to reduce reliance on Excel and free up their people’s time to concentrate on delivering above market returns.

These modules provide valuable insights to manage operational risk and improve investment decisions, which leads to lower ACC fees. For example, the compliance engine generates compliance tests daily and within minutes, whereas these were previously completed manually, only a few times a year. If the fund were in breach of compliance issues, ACC Investments now know immediately or could even pre-empt any issues. ClearPoint also assisted in the consolidation of multiple custodian banks to a single custodian bank system, a highly complex process that posed significant challenges and risk of disruption to the organisation. ClearPoint executed the entire transition smoothly without any major issues or disruptions.

ClearPoint created a data management platform that takes very complex financial data from disparate sources and formats and loads it into a “single source of truth”. The software has become the Investment Book of Record for the fund by integrating and validating external data sources from their custodian and many other market data providers.

Each day, their data is automatically loaded and validated before staff get into work. This was a task which used to take between four and eight hours a day of manual manipulation by their team. By customising existing software, the Microsoft SQL Server suite of technologies, the costs of producing a made-to-measure platform were reduced. Tailor-made “modules” can be easily layered on top of the base.

The data management platform has been game-changing. The business change process allows investment analysts to dedicate their time to making data driven decisions aided by real-time data.

Tech Points

  • Digital strategy and roadmap
  • Data management platform
  • Agile software methodology
  • Core platform and features such as compliance engine, performance reporting, accounts reconciliation, and cash management modules
  • Consolidation of multiple custodian banks to a single custodian bank system
  • Data analytics