David-Travers2RBC Dexia Investor Services is shifting some non-client-facing unit registry functions from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur, as it brings its global operating model to bear.

The managing director of RBC Dexia Investor Services Australia (RBD Dexia IS), David Travers, said wealth manager clients had been informed of the transition of some functions to the Malaysian operations hub, but would not notice any difference in the delivery of the service.

“If a client rings they’ll continue to speak to somebody in Melbourne,” he said, adding clients would benefit from the efficiencies of a hub-and-spoke operating model.

“It makes sense to consolidate some operations, so that when new technology is rolled out, you invest in it three times, rather than 18 times in every loocation around the world.”

Travers said the devolution of some functions from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur was not just about costs, but about a specific unit registry skill base that had been built up in the Malaysian city.

“The cost differential between Australia and Kuala Lumpur is not as great as between Australia and some other places, so this is not just about slashing the botom line.”

Travers said there would be a reduction in headcount for the 40-plus Melbourne unit registry team, which will be continue to be lead by Adam Donohue, but he would not elaborate.

The RBC Dexia IS unit registry service, which runs on its global ‘SARA’ platform and has a core staff lifted out from Goldman Sachs JBWere Asset Management’s internal registry team in 2006, is Australia’s largest third-party provider of unit registry services with clients including Treasury Group, Aberdeen and Schroder Investment Management.

Travers said he was happy with the scaleability and performance of the Melbourne third-party unit registry operations. It’s understood that the foundation backoffice client of RBC Dexia IS, Perpetual Investments, recently completed a review of its administration which, while generally positive toward RBC Dexia IS, reaffirmed its strategy of running registry internally, with a system built on Bravura’s Sonata software before SARA was introduced to Australia.

However while not commenting on Perpetual specifically, Travers said that RBC Dexia IS’ approach to third-party unit registry was probably best suited to  players without extensive legacy systems or entrenched processes.

The administrator’s registry efforts are also understood to have had some bad luck last year, when an imminent deal to provide an outsourced registry for BlackRock Australia was scuppered by the merger with Barclays Global Investors.

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