Bank connectivity and data aggregation both remain constant sources of frustration for treasury professionals. High volumes of data must often be manually collected from individual bank portals. For those organisations working with more than a handful of banks and accounts, up to half of a treasury analyst’s time can easily be spent on bank statement reconciliation alone – and this all has to be done manually.
Is automation the solution?
Many organisations think that implementing automation into a treasury management system (TMS) will solve all of these problems. But while a modern TMS can certainly streamline processes, it doesn’t address all the potential issues that can crop up in bank communications. And that’s where a bank connectivity provider, otherwise known as a multi-bank connectivity provider or treasury aggregator, can help.
Multi-bank connectivity solutions centralise and simplify bank connectivity, handling any and all kinds of messaging between corporations and their banks and payment providers.
This multi-bank approach is useful for corporations that need to streamline their connectivity to multiple banks (usually four or more) to save time and effort, increase cash visibility and security, and be confident that cross-border payments using multiple currencies comply with regulatory requirements.
Often these organisations turn to Fides Treasury Services for help. Fides is the winner of the International Investor award for “Best Client-Focused Multi-Banking Service 2019.” Founded in 1910 as Fides Trust, the Zurich-based company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Credit Suisse, has been focused on multi-bank connectivity and messaging solutions since 1985.
“Fides solutions connect corporates to the financial institutions and payment providers of their choice, using the channels of their choice, regardless of location or messaging format,” says Simon Kaufmann, Head of Client Relations and Marketing at Fides Treasury Services.
Multibank connectivity providers can streamline payment processing, aggregate bank account statements in any format for global cash visibility, securely deliver foreign exchange trade confirmations, build up tailor-made connectivity solutions and other value-added services.
A phased approach to automation
Working with a multi-bank connectivity provider allows companies to take a phased approach to automation, with each step freeing up more time:
- 1. Onboarding: onboard the banks of your choice through the channel of your choice (SWIFT, Host-to-Host, EBICS, etc.)
- 2. Automated reporting: save time, reduce the risk of manual error, and get the cash visibility you need, far faster than possible with spreadsheet reporting
- 3. Cash management: make and receive secure low-latency global payments in the currencies of your choice
- 4. TMS or ERP connection: connect your connectivity solution to your TMS or ERP to integrate existing data, analytics and reporting capabilities
It's worth mentioning that these steps don't have to be taken in this order — many corporations that already have a TMS or ERP in place choose to supplement it with a multi-banking solution. Kaufmann says that Fides partners with the leading TMS and ERP vendors to make integration easy, providing the ability for full systems integration and straight-through processing.
But multi-bank connectivity can also help companies who don’t want to be locked into a single TMS or ERP vendor or perhaps don’t want to use a TMS at all.
“Many Fides customers have a diversified ERP landscape,” says Kaufmann. “They use our Fides Web Solutions as sign-off applications and roll them out in their Shared Service Centres as a cost-effective solution to align sign-off procedures.”
One benefit unique to Fides, Kaufmann explains, is the ability to provide a Dual-SWIFT-BIC model for clients who wish to use the SWIFT network for bank transfers but not be limited to the SCORE and/or MACUG environment. Fides can go beyond the regular capabilities of any SWIFT Service Bureau and even SWIFT Alliance 2 as they can provide a SWIFT Financial BIC to connect under the SWIFT Lead Bank Model, allowing clients to reach any bank on the SWIFT Network.
“Our unique connectivity capabilities support any corporation globally to reach further and connect further, as our company slogan highlights,” says Kaufmann.
He adds, “No TMS on its own supports the range of bank protocols and formats that Fides can. We can work with any bank or payment provider, and convert their messages into a standardised format. This means that you can onboard banks much more quickly than you might otherwise be able to do.”
Combining all these services as and how they need them allows clients to be flexible, scalable, and bring their solutions to market more quickly.