Fenix consultants have often performed similar roles to our clients, which mean we understand their perspective on a range of issues, and that each situation has unique difficulties and opportunities. Having experienced both sides of the relationship, we can act confidently on clients' behalf.
With the skills and experience to manage, we are proud of our ability to deliver support and advice, from systematic review to ad hoc assistance, troubleshooting and issue resolution. Trusted by senior managers to act on their behalf while understanding the limits of delegation, our consultants reduce the conflict upon management time and increase their effectiveness and productivity.
Supported by our management team and subject matter experts, our consultants are not constrained by external supervision. Indeed, the majority of our management team are usually at work on a client site.
We trust our consultants to represent us and to be directly accountable to the client. How could we not?
"Trade inception to settlement" is a phrase often used to describe the product life cycle. Having managed the product life cycle, we know better. Without an appreciation of order management, dynamic hedging and position management on the one hand, and financial control and regulatory reporting on the other, no one can truly understand any single part of the process.
Understanding context is critical. Our consultants have the skills, knowledge and the support to realise this, and the insight to make use of it. We do not expect our client to teach us, in order that we can advise them.
Senior management support
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The client, a major European investment bank, requested assistance on a site in continental Europe, which was facing major business growth, control weaknesses and a historical lack of investment across all operations, finance and IT groups.
Supporting a new programme office, Fenix consultants comprehensively reported on 'current state' and provided recommendations for action, based on our experience in rapidly growing organisations. Having mobilised experienced staff to strengthen day-to-day operations, it was then possible to engage the client's junior managers to improve control.
While developing existing staff, a team of Fenix consultants rapidly cleared a significant backlog of control issues, implemented straight through processing solutions, improved reconciliations and created regular MIS reporting. Working with other external consultancy firms, both on-site and in India, Fenix also supported initiatives to improve IT control and responsiveness, creating relationships that remain strong today, enhancing other firms' core skills.
While overseeing this activity, Fenix management team members assisted every level of staff with ad hoc advice and issue resolution. Whether providing information and advice to auditors, regulators or business heads, reporting on outsourcing options or training staff in corporate action procedures, our background allowed us to represent the organisation and relate to others.
As the benefits of the initiative accumulated, we proactively reduced our presence, removing interim resources and project managers. Still, our consultants managed a business migration to a central hub, completed a serious P&L clean up and generated a unit costing methodology, eventually supporting the original programme manager in a new position at board level.
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The client, a major US Investment Bank, was considering outsourcing its Securities Operations function to a third party provider. Fenix consultants were engaged to assess the financial feasibility of the proposed arrangement.
Supporting the 'Task Force' team, and reporting directly to the Chief Operating Officer, Fenix consultants developed a sophisticated Return On Investment (ROI) model, which accurately compared the cost of retaining the in-house Securities Operations division against the cost of the proposed outsourced business model.
The Fenix consultants initially utilised their securities processing experience to analyse the business functions that were provided by the in-house Securities Operations division, to ensure that the proposed outsourced arrangement was being compared on a 'like-for-like' basis. Once this functional and product mapping exercise was completed, the Fenix team developed a 'multi-year, multi-product' business volume projection, working closely with the Front Office divisions for each product. This volume projection was overlaid upon the function and product map in order to ascertain the internal headcount and supporting infrastructure that would be required to underpin the planned expansion of the business.
The final stage of the project involved analysing the multi-year pricing models that were provided by the third party outsourcer, and matching these against the anticipated internal costs, given the volume projections contained within the business plan. The complex ROI model that was developed by the Fenix consultants was then used to assess the Net Present Value (NPV) of the proposed outsourcing arrangement.
The analysis provided by the ROI model was a key contributor in the client's decision not to proceed with the outsourcing of the Securities Operations business.
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The client, a major provider of IT services, required assistance during the transition into an outsourcing arrangement with a major European bank.
The key short term priorities were to maintain existing levels of support and progress ongoing projects while effecting transition. In one business area, Fenix managed a support and development team, enabling the client to focus on addressing more pressing areas of concern.
As the process of integration went on, Fenix consultants were able to bridge the culture gap between the two firms, enhancing formal communication structures by supporting clients' staff in understanding the banking environment, products and processes and by assisting their client in developing effective vendor management processes.
Having contributed to programme office processes and documentation, and supported the integration of the clients' staff into the relationship, our remit changed again. Our consultants were able to focus on managing high-risk projects, or supporting bid processes, leaving the client with fully formed plans to deliver fitting solutions to the end-user.
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The client, one of the world's biggest banks has a business aspiration to fully capitalise on the remote sales channel revenue operating opportunities. There is also a strategic imperative to offer a 'Direct Bank' service as a new business segment. The biggest obstacle preventing the bank form achieving its aspirations are the current operational weaknesses and deficiencies.
We were asked to address these weaknesses and deficiencies and propose a way of overcoming the operational constraints. This was set about by analysing all banking operations in addition to those already highlighted. A full end-to-end analysis was made for each operational process. The processes were documented for each product detailing the current operational procedures.
Project management from planning to presentation was provided with full reporting to sponsors, stakeholders and local board representation.
The analysis took into consideration all current and future projects challenging the existing priorities in the context of the direct banking project. The operational strategy was written to enable business aspirations to be met by defining tactical and strategic options. Attention was paid to all ongoing development within the bank both locally and globally to ensure that the impact of each was assessed, highlighted and addressed within the context of the project.
Potential synergies within the global organisation were sought and evaluated. Requests were made to other key centres within the global organisation to enquire where each was with their own direct banking offerings and what future developments were being considered or already underway. Responses were reviewed and relevant findings incorporated. This was the first time such an initiative had been carried out across such a global scale for operations.
A full Business Requirement Document (BRD) was completed outlining the findings from the time spent analysing the current operations locally and taking into considerations developments within the global organisation. Key business requirements were defined and reviewed by those involved and impacted.
An operational strategy was devised to overcome immediate processing issues and bottlenecks whilst laying foundation blocks for the future. The strategy outlined the key business requirements and used existing infrastructure wherever possible and practical. Development as well as costs would be kept to a minimum. Shared development or utilisation of existing infrastructure within the group was a cornerstone to the strategy.
The strategy was presented to the sponsors, stakeholders, local board members and other involved parties. The findings were well received and it was agreed that this was the right operational strategy to pursue.