DST International has renamed and restructured itself to become DST Global Solutions, reflecting the fact its largest custodian and funds manager clients are now global players, while it’s also embraced the ‘software as a service’ delivery model over the ‘application service provider’ approach. Returning to work last month after some weeks spent recovering from illness, DST’s Australian CEO Ian Mathieson also predicted that administration of super funds and platforms would be the firm’s biggest growth area in the short-term.
The rebranding as DST Global Solutions involved the creation of three new business lines – Investment Management Solutions (which houses the flagship HiPortfolio fund admin product and the recently acquired Bluedoor business covering unit registry and retail super/platform administration); Business Process Solutions (which includes its workflow software) and Customer Lifecycle Management (a stream which assists business payments and billing needs but has little presence in Australia).
The team behind HiPortfolio, which is used by most of the major custodians with an Australian presence except State Street and Northern Trust, will now only have a dotted-line report to Mathieson, where Australia-specific matters are concerned. The direct report for those working on HiPortfolio will now be global head of Investment Management Solutions Arun Sarwal, who joined DST last year from being chief operating officer at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. DST claims the restructure has also placed more emphasis on delivery and consulting services beyond the straight delivery of software. “This is not a new chapter.
This is an entirely new book in our history,” according to Tom Abraham, the CEO of DST Global Solutions. “Our new strategic consulting services, combined with our technology-based solutions, position us to deliver additional value for clients.” Mathieson said that DST had decided to focus on a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) delivery approach. “A couple of years ago, ASP [application service provider] was going to take over the world. That’s an approach that allows the client to be more prescriptive in what they want, but it didn’t quite get there. SaaS allows the running of multiple clients across one copy of a database, so it’s far more economical, which obviously suits this environment,” he said. “SaaS also lends itself to a market like China, where we continue to build a client base.
Chinese funds management is a pretty new industry, so the operations staff there want to be told what a report should look like.” The Bluedoor subsidiary of DST, which Mathieson hoped would have applicability in Asian pension systems seeking to replicate the Australian model, will fall into the Investment Management Solutions business. However its executives will report to Rob Gould, who heads up solutions for distribution, who will in turn report to Sarwal. Mathieson predicted that Bluedoor’s market of super/platform administration and unit registry would be the biggest growth area for the business in the next couple of years.