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No simple solution

Faced with rising technology costs and regulatory change, fund managers are seeking to transfer more processes to their global custodians. In doing so, they are presenting service providers with a new set of challenges and opportunities. Rick Butler asks how far the trend to outsourcing can go

Daron Pearce

When two European fund managers decided in quick succession last autumn to pass the bulk of their administrative processing to their global custodians, many bankers in the business of providing securities services were plainly relieved. Here at last was confirmation that the large sums many have invested to create integrated solutions over and above standard clearing, settlement and safekeeping might be about to pay off.

The service-level agreements (SLAs) signed in September between Julius Baer International and Bank of New York (BoNY) and in October between Scottish Widows and State Street Corp have so far been followed by only a trickle of further deals, but many custodian bankers reckon there are a lot more to come.

"What we are seeing globally is that investment managers are taking a strategic look at their businesses, what their value proposition is, looking at their core competencies that they are getting paid for," says Paula Sausville-Arthus, a New York-based head of the outsourcing initiative at JP Morgan Investor Services.

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