Client Case Studies
BlackRock® is one of the world’s pre-eminent asset management firms and a premier provider of investment management, risk management and advisory services to institutional, intermediary and individual investors around the world.
BlackRock is a fast paced firm with new products and processes being created all the time. Excel plays an important role in innovation and is often used to prototype these products and processes. Whilst being innovative, it is important that controls are in place to prevent Blackrock being exposed to monetary, reputational and technology risk. The challenges presented were:
- Reduce and control spreadsheet risk
- Add control without making it onerous for users
- Meet regulatory requirements around the use of spreadsheets in business critical processes
Major New York Health Insurance ProviderDownload the full case study
A major New York based health insurance provider has chosen ClusterSeven’s spreadsheet management solution to ensure financial accounting accuracy and regulatory compliance. The widespread use of spreadsheets in this organization meant a high exposure to spreadsheet risk, and the need for controls was highlighted when an error was found in a formula on a business-critical financial statement.
The insurance provider’s finance department now has a complete understanding of its spreadsheet landscape based on a thorough inventory of files, the relationships between them alongside the associated risks.
GFKL Financial Services
SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, partnered with ClusterSeven on the delivery of a new reporting platform for GFKL, one of the leading providers of receivables management services in Germany. ClusterSeven were able to discover and build an inventory of all GFKL’s Spreadsheet files, allowing the organization to plan their migration to the new SAS environment. Read the full case study to discover an example of how you can benefit from partnering with ClusterSeven.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited (SMBCE), a subsidiary of the large global Japanese commercial bank, was established in 2003 and has locations in London, Paris, Amsterdam and other major European cities.
SMBCE was finding it difficult to manage and monitor it’s large spreadsheet estate using basic tools and manual processes, presenting specific data governance and compliance challenges. To address the situation, SMBCE investigated a number of spreadsheet management solutions providers before selecting ClusterSeven. SMBCE chose the ClusterSeven platform for its functionality and suitability for the organization; read the full case study.
Global Electronics & Video Game BrandDownload the full case study
A well-known international consumer brand has partnered with ClusterSeven to deliver enterprise spreadsheet risk management, to enhance data governance, address potential process control gaps, and mitigate spreadsheet risk. The dynamic, high volume market in which it operates necessitates the use of spreadsheet-based management and reporting models to bridge what the gaps in corporate IT systems. These spreadsheets are pervasive and provided budgeting, cash flow forecasts, reconciliation calculations and reports, for example, using data feeds from the firms ERP system.
The Internal Audit department has implemented ClusterSeven’s CSM solution to provide a framework to assess, and highlight risks in its business-critical spreadsheets.
Shawbrook Bank, a specialist UK savings and lending bank founded in 2001 to serve the needs of SMES and individuals in the UK. At 31 December 2016, the bank’s total lending reached more than £4.1 billion and has raised over £3.9 billion in deposits since its launch.
Shawbrook has deployed a central ClusterSeven provided platform for the management of business-critical spreadsheets. The Bank’s adoption of ClusterSeven is a key element of bank’s strategy to build and strengthen its model risk management capabilities and provides the Operational Risk team with central, automated oversight of all the Bank’s major spreadsheets and EUC models. The solution non-intrusively manages all Shawbrook’s business-critical spreadsheets, providing automated audit trails that highlight when and what changes have been made by individuals in the Bank’s high-risk applications.
Rabobank Group is a full-range financial services provider that operates on cooperative principles. Its origins lie in the local loan cooperatives that were founded in the Netherlands nearly 110 years ago by enterprising people who had virtually no access to the capital market.
Rabobank’s spreadsheet and End User Computing (EUC) landscape on the trading floor, were identified as vast with minimal management controls. The need to demonstrate control over these spreadsheets is imperative in recognition of the demands of regulators today to eliminate spreadsheet-related mishaps.
Colorado-headquartered Janus Henderson is a leading global investment manager with approx. $180 billion in assets under management (as of 31 December 2014). The firm offers institutional and intermediary clients as well as individual investors complementary asset management disciplines including growth, core and value equities, fixed income and mathematical investing. Outside the US, Janus Henderson has offices in a number of financial centres including London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Janus Henderson identified that a large number of internal processes and functions were tied to and heavily reliant on spreadsheets. The firms’ Operational Risk Team coordinated an exercise to self-identify the use of spreadsheets by department – with the results confirming the pervasive use of spreadsheets and, more importantly, the operational dependencies many processes had to spreadsheets. From benign checklists and logs to critical business processes and calculations, the review exercise found that spreadsheets had become an integral tool to the business units. However – and most significantly – the Operational Risk Team found that in most cases, the control environment needed to be strengthened.
European Credit Management
European Credit Management is a fast growing, award-winning independent investment management company that specializes exclusively in European fixed income. European Credit Management has approximately €12.5 billion (U.S.$16 billion) in total assets under management.
European Credit Management has a diverse client base including insurance companies, pension funds, asset management companies, commercial bank treasury departments, central banks, private banks and corporates. The company employs an analytical, research-based approach to investment. It prides itself on providing the highest quality reporting, control and transparency across its portfolio and risk management systems. It uses software from Infosys and SunGard and others to support internal processes. Spreadsheets are used to cross-check central systems and as a quick and efficient reporting tool. They are also used as a testing ground to model and adapt European Credit Management’s products and services to the requirements of its clients.
Aberdeen Asset Management
Aberdeen Asset Management is one of Europe’s largest public, pure-play asset management groups, serving institutional investors such as insurance companies, pension funds, treasuries, banks, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and foundations. In 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management acquired The Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) from Lloyds Banking Group.
As in other financial institutions, SWIP utilities a number of complex connected end user computing processes, including market feeds owned by Lloyds, which needed decoupling from the business following the acquisition. In deploying ClusterSeven technology SWIP de-risked the separation of the businesses and the subsequent migration from Microsoft Office 2003 to Office 2010.
Dresdner Kleinwort, the investment bank of Dresdner Bank AG, is typical of large banks, which have a vast number of autonomous spreadsheets supporting a range of business-critical functions. In 2005, Dresdner Kleinwort turned to ClusterSeven to help manage its spreadsheets, initially in the product control and finance departments, in order to reduce the operational risk inherent in running a large number of business-critical spreadsheets.
The implementation of ClusterSeven’s technology allowed Dresdner Kleinwort to control changes over its spreadsheet applications and track all changes made at a cell level. In doing so, it reduced the time spent trying to manage and maintain these applications without locking them down or reducing their effectiveness.
Model Risk Management – BankingDownload the full case study
One of the roles of this major bank’s trading floor is to provide reliable information on current and closed deals to a growing number of bank branches (currently exceeding 100). This information includes margins, positions etc.
The Bank uses a number of different trading platforms, limits and back office systems (including Kondor+, Prime, IBIS and MUREX) dealing with Bonds, FX Options, Swaps, Derivatives and other trades. Every day, from each system, a number of data extracts are loaded into a Risk database. This enables positions to be assessed and decisions made accordingly.
Unfortunately, the Risk department has noticed that input files sometimes contain invalid entries or missing data records. Undetected errors carry a risk of multiple US$10millions.
A Swiss Bank – Investran and ClusterSevenDownload the full case study
This Swiss bank’s private equity business demands the analysis, management, and dissemination of large amounts of qualitative and quantitative data. Investran®, integrated with ClusterSeven, (an integrated SunGard software suite) meets these needs by simplifying private equity workflow, facilitating each step of the private equity lifecycle from fundraising to portfolio monitoring. The Investran Accounting, Relationship Manager® and SunGard DX® products work in harmony to connect front and back-office processes.
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International (MUSI) is the European hub of the global securities and investment banking business of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities and is part of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, one of the world’s largest financial institutions. In common with most other financial organizations, MUSI relies on spreadsheets as an integral part of its business-critical processes. Experiencing rapid expansion, MUSI needed to improve spreadsheet control to assure the safe growth and support of the business.
With ClusterSeven technology, it implemented an efficient, repeatable process to manage spreadsheets, reduce operational risk and gain practical feedback on potential risk.
Example Use Cases
Organizations rely on spreadsheets in a variety of ways and as a result there are many different ways in which ClusterSeven can assist and add value to a business.
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