BNP Paribas takes all at Insignia Financial

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on 28 Nov, 2023

Investor Strategy News

It was a “Steven Bradbury-style win” for BNP Paribas, which has taken on full custody of the amalgamated Insignia Financial after being brought in as a stalking horse to get the cost down in MLC’s negotiations with J.P. Morgan. MLC was looking for a new home as NAB Asset Servicing (NAS) winds down, but J.P. was apparently tripped up by its ongoing issues with its transition from HiPortfolio to a system it calls WINS (a rebranded Sungard InvestOne) and wasn’t able to commit to MLC in a timely fashion, focusing instead on bedding down existing clients. The tender process was carried out by external consultant Drew Vaughan. J.P. were “practically told they’ve got it and everybody wanted them”, according to one source, and it flew a number of execs down from US headquarters to seal the deal. Its main problem with the transition to WINS has been building out the tax engine, particularly on capital gains tax, which HiPortfolio “grew up on and knows warts and all”.

It’s been a sore point in its relationship with some of its largest super fund clients. Down Under, BNP isn’t as popular as some of the American custodians, but it’s considered by some to be better at aspects of ESG reporting owing to its European heritage, where the conversation is significantly more advanced. Its ESG advantage also stems from investment data platform Manaos, which it designed and incubated itself. It’s thought of by some members of the local market as slow but reliable, and is headed up locally by Daniel Cheever.

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