Choosing a new service provider can be overwhelming, especially when you’re in a highly regulated industry like insurance. To make sure you’re partnering with a firm that understands the intricacies of the industry and is able to streamline your operations should be your overall objective.
Core technology platforms and system interfaces will undoubtedly play a role in your decision process. While the bells and whistles of technology platforms are exciting, keep in mind that the security, speed and accuracy of processing your transaction requests should be the number one priority for your custodian. Do you need your custodian to be able to process multiple security types globally or support straight-through processing? Ensure your custodian has the key technology features needed to meet your specific processing requirements.
Your custodian should also be flexible and willing to customize reporting as well as interfaces and feeds to analytics systems. The ability and willingness to work with third-party systems, especially related to regulatory reporting, to establish data integration will be important for your ongoing success.
Additionally, and perhaps the most undervalued functional capability of specialized insurance custodians is the breadth of their statutory deposits capabilities. How expansive is the custodian’s statutory network? Do they have positive relationships with the state departments of insurance? Is there an opportunity for you to consolidate statutory reporting and reduce costs?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential custodians to those that will functionally be able to service your business, you’ll want to make sure your customer service expectations are well defined and met. In a complex industry, having a simplified customer service experience with a single point of contact will help ease your operational burden.
Look beyond the technology and reporting to the people and the processes behind them. Who will be partnering with you? Do they have the experience and the specialized industry expertise to be a partner? Are they willing to dig in and understand your business both legally and operationally?
Your custodian should take time to understand your organizational structure and priorities. Once they understand how you run your business, they’ll be able to proactively help you manage your investment risks and adapt to changing regulations. They’ll also be able to streamline your account opening process, providing efficiencies as you make the acquisitions necessary to grow your business.
Your needs will certainly change as your business grows. Partnering with an established financial institution can provide simplified access to value-added services such as securities lending, liquidity management and diversity, and banking support, while maintaining a simplified customer service experience.
At the end of the day, your due diligence in choosing a specialized insurance custodian will help you spend less time managing your service partner and more time growing your business.
For information on custody products offered at U.S. Bank, visit usbank.com/itc.