Operational alpha is a major means of providing custody service and enabling businesses, said Rohan Singh, managing director of Northern Trust in Australia.

Northern Trust’s technological platforms covering unit pricing, accounting and Australian tax, are citied by Singh, as very attractive features to institutional investors.

“We provide what some have termed operational alpha,” Singh said. “I prefer the term operational efficiency. We are ultimately a back office with front office drives.”

According to Singh the demands on investment operation teams, as well as compliance and regulatory teams, has increased as the chief operating officers need access to global data, models, products and services. Additionally, Australia has one of the world’s most complex tax systems. Chief executives and chief investment officers are also looking to quickly drill down and understand the data.

“There has been a lot of change in fund flows layered on top of regulatory compliance – and not just domestically,” he said. Northern Trust provides funds with information across all asset classes and services.

Singh argues that even the best technology without the right people is useless.

“You need people to deploy it,” he said. “We’ve found attracting the right people unlocks long term advantages. Our philosophy is to treat employees with the same respect as clients. This creates a highly engaged work force.”

Northern Trust’s operational alpha contributed to Government Employees Superannuation Board (GESB) decision to appoint them as custodian over its $20 billion superannuation fund in January. GESB cited that they were “looking to maximise efficiencies and streamline our operations”.

Rohan Singh will be introducing the keynote panel session at the Investment Administration conference on February 18.

To register for the conference visit the following page www.investmentadministration.com.au