Pierre Jond, the man in charge of BNP Paribas’ custody business in Australia, confidently predicted this year there will be “good news” for his bank in winning new business.
The statement by AvSuper that the $1.25 billion fund has chosen the French bank as its new custodian is good news, even if the modest size of AvSuper will do little to help attain Jond’s goal of improving BNP’s ranking among custodians in Australia from third place.
But at least Jond’s team is improving BNP’s market share. National Australia Bank is not.
The bank has lost its contract with AvSuper, QSuper and Sunsuper; that’s a combined loss of about $52 billion worth of custody assets for the bank.
Since 2010 the drum beat of custody losses for NAB has got louder.
Advance Asset Management, Qantas Superannuation Plan, Military Super, City Super, Legal Super and QIC have ditched NAB for rival custodians or middle-office managers.
“We continue to remain the largest custodian in the Australian market, with $640 billion in assets under custody,” says Brian Keogh, general manager of sales and relationships at NAB.
“Our local presence and expertise, coupled with partnerships with global providers, is working. We’ve secured nine new clients in the past nine months, with a number of announcements still to be made.”
Jond and State Street, which won the QSuper and Sunsuper custody business from NAB, say Australian asset managers now want a custodian that has global expertise.
BNP Paribas, JP Morgan ( at second place among custodians) and State Street (at number four) boast economies of scale based on sharing the costs of servicing asset managers within their respective global networks.
Moreover, innovation in custody in one country is transferred as people within the custody units of a global bank often exchange tips on sales, customer service and operational efficiency.
Australian asset managers with international investors often want a custodian who can assign people to track and report fund manager trades and settlement. BNP has Asian, European and US staff who respond to requests and questions from Australia.
Outside Australia, NAB has a commercial relationship with BNY Mellon that seeks to provide a similar international service to its competitors, but on custody falls short of the kind of integration some asset managers increasingly need.
“Global technology is the name of the game in the securities business,” says Jond. “Worldwide solutions give you economies of scale, allow you to share innovation across all geographies and enables a round-the-clock client servicing.”