The export growth of Australian investment management systems technology has been given a further boost with the deal announced last week by DST International (DSTi) to provide Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Bank with a full suite of front, middle and backoffice systems.

The systems, developed in DSTi’s Melbourne research centre, include HiPortfolio/3, HiTrust and HiWealth solutions. The deal coincides with a significant push by Australian-based systems providers in Europe, led by the recently listed Bravura Solutions, which last week announced its intention to buy Bank of New York’s Rufus Software business (see separate report). The DSTi arrangement with Riyadh Bank will be implemented in two phases, with HiPortfolio/3 and HiTrust to go live in phase one. The HiTrust functionality, aimed at the distribution of funds, will be accessible through the Riyadh Bank intranet and used by about 300 bank branches in Saudi Arabia. Ian Mathieson, chief executive of DSTi in Australia and New Zealand, said: “Each year we are witnessing a significant increase in the export and deployment of our Australian originated software solutions. “This year alone we have implemented new investment management solutions in some newer markets in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, China and other parts of Asia. Being truly multi-currency and multi-lingual is a significant advantage however it is the adoption of the world’s best practice approach to both development and support that guarantees our reach in the future being further extended.” He said the announcement with Riyadh Bank was “indeed significant” because it meant that globally acclaimed technologies were being implemented within one of the world’s most significant economies. “This is also an acknowledgement of the serious commitment made by DSTi for the ongoing development of its market-leading solutions,” he said. “We have already committed millions of dollars and thousands of man-days towards software development for the investment management solutions of HiPortfolio/3, HiTrust and HiWealth.” Meanwhile, DSTi announced yesterday the launch of its new unit pricing “workbench” for Australian investment managers, which was developed in response to APRA’s November 2005 findings relating to best practice market discipline surrounding unit pricing systems. As part of its prudential commitments, APRA reviews aspects of unit pricing practice and ascertains how product providers assess and comply with their unit pricing obligations. In its last review of market practices APRA highlighted a number of issues relating to calculation errors and summarised that when large errors arise they tend to be very large and subsequently very costly. The introduction of DSTi’s workbench, as part of its HiPortfolio/3 solution, allows institutions to manage unit pricing output on an ‘exception’ basis throughout the pricing lifecycle. Progress can then be monitored on a real-time basis. According to Mathieson, the enhancement is designed for clients who manage unit trusts for investors as well as those who provide a custodial service for unit trust managers in accordance with APRA’s recommendations. Essentially, the workbench, amongst other things, allows the creation and maintenance of a benchmark index and measurement of the performance of a unit trust against that benchmark. The workbench was also developed at the company’s Melbourne research centre.

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