Northern Trust

Client Story

Increasing client satisfaction with more personalization and faster delivery times

Northern Trust’s existing client communications reporting tools were viable and globally accepted, but had not been purpose-built for investment management. Client service relied heavily on the availability of technical staff for all aspects of design and production. Northern Trust needed an adaptable, business user-friendly solution capable of differentiating the firm’s offerings for middle office outsourcing clients.
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Northern Trust has delivered market-leading communications to clients for many years. Their expectations are constantly changing and their requirements are more diverse and sophisticated than ever before. The need to continue delivering exceptional and responsive client service is central to Northern Trust’s drive to achieve competitive edge. 

To get things moving, a project team was formed to evaluate the complex requirements of Northern Trust’s investment operations outsourcing (IOO) clients and to source an alternative solution for delivering client communications, including client reports, fund fact sheets, sales and marketing collateral, presentations, and pitch books. The team recognized that every aspect of report production has a profound effect on business efficiency and a lasting effect on the client experience – from report design and production through to delivery. 

Northern Trust’s goal was to enhance their excellent report presentation and personalization, whilst accelerating the production cycle and improving response times. Led by Dan Houlihan, Head of Fund Services, the Northern Trust project team engaged the services of Citisoft, a leading global investment management consulting agency, to develop a rigorous evaluation methodology. 

Reaching a decision

Northern Trust’s decision process incorporated strong elements of governance. The firm’s executive, product, technical, and functional teams were actively involved, and the business users played a pivotal role in determining the best solution. 

Following a thorough review including a series of product demonstrations, workshops, and reference checks, Northern Trust selected SimCorp Coric to deliver an integrated, global technology platform for client reporting and marketing communications. 

According to Dan Houlihan, “SimCorp Coric is well-positioned to keep Northern Trust clients at the forefront of client communications, enabling us to differentiate our service offering with sophisticated communications across multiple channels. The SimCorp Coric suite best matched our requirements and we were impressed by the experienced, solid management of the company.” Dan Houlihan continued, saying that “SimCorp Coric supports all Northern Trust’s IOO strategic client communications requirements, including custom branding and white-labeling, investment commentary, sophisticated graphic rendering capabilities, and workflow across a broad range of client communications.” 

SimCorp Coric supports all Northern Trust’s IOO strategic client communications requirements, including custom branding and white-labeling, investment commentary, sophisticated graphic rendering capabilities, and workflow across a broad range of client communications.
Dan Houlihan, Head of Fund Services, Northern Trust

Getting started

Northern Trust’s system went live following a nine-month implementation. The data infrastructure was re-engineered in conjunction with Composite Software (now part of Cisco), whose virtualized data warehouse infrastructure sits beneath SimCorp Coric. In phase one, a production client reporting system for two middle-office clients was implemented – one in the United States and one in Europe. These clients handle 65 monthly and 20 quarterly report runs, with an average pack size of 60 pages. 

The next phase involved building additional data models and report templates. Northern Trust is now adding additional clients on an ongoing basis. SimCorp Coric Professional Services consultants provided end-user training in data mapping, report design, Layout Builder, and dashboard configuration.

“The ‘train the trainer’ approach worked well, and in-class training provided a solid grounding,” says Houlihan. “Any solution of this scale will take some time for users to become completely competent in certain functions, such as sourcing data and linking it to report templates, but the SimCorp Coric team was attentive and supportive every step of the way. The real progress came once our business users began working independently. The faster they cut the apron strings the sooner they became self-sufficient.”

Outcome and results

The data model, distribution, and archiving capabilities are in place and operating effectively, as are the production and output capabilities. SimCorp Coric has met the key criteria set by Northern Trust’s project team, and as more clients are fully implemented, the system’s volume production capabilities will be put to the test.

Increased choice 

Northern Trust and its clients now have far more choice in terms of when and how the entire spectrum of client communications can be delivered, and by whom. The company is better placed to accommodate future distribution channels including video, smartphone, and web reporting, and in the future, some clients will be empowered to customize reports themselves via a web portal. 

Using SimCorp Coric, our business users now have far less reliance on IT for making ad-hoc changes to reports. The versatility and presentation flexibility of our reporting is definitely helping Northern Trust to grow our business.
Dan Houlihan, Head of Fund Services, Northern Trust

Highly appealing, personalized communication

Northern Trust is delivering higher quality, more visually attractive reports which are easier to assimilate. Each instance of client engagement is used to make a lasting impression. Highly personalized information is presented in a more understand­able format due to data sourcing versatility, and other marketing materials are more appealing and consistent than before. 

Business control 

At any given time, managers have greater awareness of the state of the entire reporting function. Business users have gained control over the business commitments they make to clients. They are no longer reliant on technicians, who are now able to focus on other business critical activity. 

Effective risk management 

The introduction of sophisticated, yet easy-to-apply, business process management has increased business efficiency and reduced operational risk. The processes involved in incorporating and maintaining external documents used in end-client statements have been automated, requiring fewer work­arounds. Manual processes and inconsistencies in business logic have been reduced, and the likelihood of human error has diminished. 

Rapid report delivery

Process automation has also led to a significant reduction in manual processes during month and quarter-end reporting cycles, which has resulted in client reports being delivered earlier in the reporting cycle. 

Reduction in operational costs 

Report production requires less manpower, which inevitably leads to operational savings. “Our experience shows that SimCorp Coric enables new client support using fewer resources per client, not only at the point of engagement but also on an ongoing basis,” says Houlihan. 

“SimCorp Coric is an extremely powerful tool which is incredibly adaptable once mastered. It has fully met our objective of empowering business users to satisfy client requests without recourse to IT and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the SimCorp Coric team,” sums up Houlihan.

SimCorp Coric is an extremely powerful tool which is incredibly adaptable once mastered. It has fully met our objective of empowering business users to satisfy client requests without recourse to IT and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the SimCorp Coric team
Dan Houlihan, Head of Fund Services, Northern Trust

Quick facts

Name: Northern Trust
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Assets under custody: USD 6.0 trillion (end of 2015)
AUM: USD 887 billion (end of 2015)
Established: 1889
Website: www.northerntrust.com


About Northern Trust

Northern Trust first opened its doors for business in 1889. The Chicago-based global bank, established by Byron Laflin Smith, has more than 20 international locations. Founded the same year the Eiffel Tower was completed and the Dakotas, Montana and Washington became states, Northern Trust has weathered the Great Depression, two world wars and the 2008 financial crisis. The bank not only survived, but thrived during these times of significant market and economic stress. Northern Trust (Nasdaq:NTRS) is a global leader in delivering innovative investment management, asset and fund administration, fiduciary and banking solutions to corporations, institutions and affluent individuals.