The Indian Capital Market is witnessing a paradigm shift with FinTech acting as an enabler. The nationwide acceptance of digital payments for a cashless economy post demonetization, rapid digitisation, introduction of GST and the innovation sandbox that was introduced by SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) as a framework designed to share market data with FinTech institutions to build novel solutions for capital markets are some of the major factors behind the rising clout of this industry. Customers are now increasingly participating in the financial markets thus making the delivery of improved customer service and satisfaction a priority with a strong focus on Speed, First Time Right (FIR) and ensuring optimized security and data privacy. “With APIs acting as a powerhouse, one can expect multiple strategic partnerships and collaborations among traditional organisations and FinTech’s with the primary objective of providing not only cost-effective market timed solutions but also to sustain the disruption,” says Suresh Kuppuswamy, CEO at Sterling Software. With over two decades of market presence and headquartered in Chennai is Sterling Software in association with CAMS (Computer Age Management Services), leveraging its expertise and understanding of the mutual fund domain to deliver radical, robust and cost-effective solutions.
Sterling enables CAMS, the leader in Registrar and Transfer Agents space, to be a successful technology driven organization. Sterling hosts a huge repository of APIs, which serves as a backbone for any real-time solution, both desktop and mobile, that is being offered in the market by the Asset Management Companies. The API services range from customer enquiries, service requests, transaction fulfilment and statements. Suresh goes on to inform us, “Regulatory compliance gets the highest priority in our system and we enable CAMS to be a front runner in all regulatory implementations thereby defining the standards for the others to follow”
Tracking Individual Investments made Easier
Possessing domain expertise, the team of professionals at Sterling are aware of the pain-points Mutual Fund investors encounter such as the manipulation of multiple logins and mobile applications for tracking individual investments. Coming to the fore and skilfully addressing these issues is myCAMS, a mobile app available on both iOS and Android platforms, by providing an easy tracking of portfolio across all the investments including funds serviced by others all in one place. This gives a complete holistic view to the end-user. In addition to this, the OneTime Mandate facility., DigiSIP, Scheduled Transactions, Redemption Guide makes it convenient for the investors to transact on the go and quickly. The feature-rich app offers the latest portfolio valuation, financial transactions, additional purchase, switch and redemption and the current market value of the purchases among the many features it is equipped with. The mobile app developed and maintained by Sterling, has gained massive recognition and appreciation for the impact it has made in the industry and of date, has crossed over 2.5 million users on its app. Furthermore, the application won the GMASA best Finance App consecutively for three years from 2015 till 2017.
Founded in 1996, the company strives to meet every customer’s unique requirements while catering to the E2E of the Indian Mutual Fund industry with its comprehensive suite of products spanning across Customer support, Business Intelligence, Risk Management, Compliance and Sales Support. With a proven track record, the company has worked with some of the renowned organizations such as Computer Age Management Services (CAMS), ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, HDFC Mutual Fund. SBI Mutual Fund, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund, TATA Mutual Fund and IDFC Mutual Fund.
REGULATORY COMPLIANCE GETS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY IN OUR SYSTEM AND WE ENABLE CAMS TO BE A FRONT RUNNER IN ALL REGULATORY IMPLEMENTATIONS THEREBY DEFINING THE STANDARDS FOR THE OTHERS TO FOLLOW.
Staying Abreast of Trending Technologies
The company’s flagship product is Investrak where it runs mission critical mutual funds processes and services close to 64 percent of the market share in the Mutual Funds industry. A proprietary product by Sterling and its team that has channelled its years of industry knowledge, domain experience and advanced technologies to develop the product, thrives to ensure the credibility and security of the platform through continuous and rigorous improvements / upgrades to its technology and implementation of security standards. The team continually endeavours to stay ahead of the trending technologies curve. Suresh affirm, “There is a constant and dedicated drive for regular Database level upgrades. We adopt the recent technologies and approaches that we deem fit for the requirements and bring in a lot of process automation in the overall system. Automation ensures effective resource utilization and makes it less error prone. Our new offerings utilize the relevant technologies stack to keep up with the recent trends.” The product proffers the capability to store and manage information about unit holders and advisors. Image-based service requests and transaction fulfilment workflow, event and frequency-based transaction scheduling, subscription reconciliation and funding statements, integration with central distributors systems for fund managers, multi-jurisdictional and multi-currency support and periodical reports for distributors, asset management companies and regulators are some of the beneficial features extended to customers implementing Investrak.
In conjunction with this is the company’s front office solution MF360 which is believed to be first of its kind that is designed to work with lower bandwidth connectivity. The highly scalable solution is extremely light and effective at handling copious amounts of customer data as it is equipped with a queuing mechanism. The solution has been engineered with a new user friendly interface encouraging a more frequent and seamless use. Once deployed, transactions are scanned and pushed to a Back Office queue where it is subsequently processed. Customer’s common data like address, bank details and contacts are leveraged appropriately to take advantage of the operational efficiency it can offer. The solution has been engineered with the necessary controls in order to ensure count controls and document reconciliation using barcoding.
Gearing up for the Future
Having already carved a niche for itself in this domain, the team continues to ceaselessly work at bringing a change in the mutual funds space by harnessing the power of newer technologies, supreme business acumen and deep rooted market knowledge. The company now envisions launching a platform for Distributors. Having conducted a market study from the distributor’s point of view in this sector, the team has gained an understanding of how distributors have always been struggling to replenish their own data from various service providers and so the team envisages designing and developing a platform with meaningful dashboards, customer onboarding, transactional capability and much more. From the technology perspective, Sterling has ventured into Cloudspace, AA platforms and kick-started into the Al/ML areas.
The company aims to expand its reach across geographies and are already involved in various engagements to further solidify its presence in this domain such as servicing a South African based leading Asset Management firm for application support services. The company is simultaneously working with a German Global Banking firm that is on the lookout for core financial product support and maintenance with Al/MI. technology. Sterling is also engaged with a leading Stock Exchange in the Middle East for testing and implementing new-age trading, with a Family Office for Structured Investments Product Monitoring, Application Development and maintenance and so on.
EMPOWERING CORPORATE INVESTORS IN MUTUAL FUNDS
With the idea to deliver an easy user experience for corporates to manage and transact online in the mutual funds space, CAMS GoCorp was born. It is essentially an investment portal that positions corporate investors with the ability to transact and manage their mutual fund investments via a single login with ease and security. Delving deeper into the workings of this portal, Suresh explains how authorised signatories’ approval plays a major role in a corporate environment. However, GoCorp breaks the complexity of transaction approvals through a well-defined Authorization Workflow that is matured, flexible and highly configurable. Suresh reveals, “The Notification module that sends the approval requests to the Authorised Signatory Lists based on the pre-set configurations follows an event driven model. The transaction status monitoring, changes to the approval definition and set of reports make the GoCorp platform, the most preferred platform for the Corporates. GoCorp services have been extended to funds serviced by other RTAs as well.” The company takes pride in its accomplishments of having won the special mention award for Use of Digital media in Mutual Fund Category in 2018.