Interview with... Jean-Benoît Naudin, Global Head of Shared Operational Functions at Axa IM

“Our distributor clients will be able to deal with a single intermediary”

le 24/06/2010 L'AGEFI Hebdo

Why are you collaborating on the development of the new BNP Paribas Securities Services (BP2S) fund distribution platforms?

We sell UCITS chiefly in Europe, Asia and South America. Our range consists of four types of funds: Luxembourg and Irish funds, some French funds, and now English funds too, in particular some Framlington funds. For each of them, we have a centralizing agent in the fund’s country of origin. We are looking to rationalising our system and reducing as far as possible the number of our centralizing agents. With BP2S, we want to simplify life for our distributor clients with a single point of entry: irrespective of the range of funds which interests them, they will be able to deal with a single intermediary. From our point of view, the need is chiefly operational. We need to see how the BP2S platform works in real conditions and we are starting to work on optimising processes. Our objective is to identify by the end of the year four test clients, investing in several ranges of funds, with a client present in Asia. The second aspect on which we are working with BP2S involves intensifying STP (straight-through processing) in order processing. Until recently, the only universal STP was the fax, with breaks in the order processing chain and the resultant operational risks. Several order routing platforms exist at European level, such as Vestima and Fundsettle, but they do not provide a solution to the French problem of order marking. BP2S will develop a platform that will help optimise STP in this area.

Why did you choose BP2S?

First, we did not want to add an extra intermediary. Secondly, from an operational point of view, it is difficult to change service provider, and this type of project needs to be based on a long-standing relationship; that is the case with BP2S, which has been our centralizing agent since 2001 for French funds. Finally, their teams responded favourably to our needs.

What are the project’s most sensitive points at operational level?

As regards the routing of orders, it is essential first and foremost to ensure that orders are correctly routed and that they are well written to avoid any ambiguity and therefore any errors. For example, the different ways of writing a thousand need to be taken into account: 1.000 in France and 1,000 in Great Britain. Identifying distributors and their assets so that trailer fees can be paid in due course in accordance with contractual arrangements is also another key aspect.

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