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.

“I think we’ve come to the
end of a cycle of funds managers considering their fund accounting needs, but
in the super admin space you’ve got players out there using three or four
different legacy systems, and instead of consolidating to one legacy system,
we’re seeing an appetite to consider something new,” he said.

Mathieson added
that DST would no longer actively pursue the frontoffice solutions market,
describing it as a specialist field usually demanding high levels of
customisation. “The Charles Rivers of the world are doing a better job of
it…if an end-to-end tender came up we would probably look to partner with a
specialist provider of front-office solutions,” Mathieson said, adding it was a
tough market in which to grow because many start-up funds managers could get
most of the tools they needed from an information service such as Bloomberg.

 

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