RBC Investor Services, streamlining finance

Writer Laura Campan

On 1 December, the finance community met at the European Convention Center Luxembourg (ECCL), in Kirchberg, for an exclusive awards’ ceremony and networking cocktail.

How about jumping on the opportunity to further discuss the natural yet challenging steps finance is taking towards innovation with this new edition’s winners?

This week, we were pleased to welcome the Finance Team of the Year Award’s winner, RBC Investor Services (RBC IS), for the fifth episode of our #FinStory series.

Since 2018, the RBC Investor Services (‘RBC IS’) Luxembourg Finance team has carried out several large-scale transformation projects. Could you tell us more about them?

From 2018 to the first half of 2021, the RBC Investor Services (‘RBC IS’) Luxembourg Finance team completed a large-scale finance transformation project called FIDES.

Amongst other changes, this project saw the transition of eight legacy general ledger systems into a single state-of-the-art financial management technology architecture (SAP S/4 HANA, SAP Group Reporting, COUPA & Concur) across all our branches and subsidiaries. This allowed for the standardization and centralization of most of our activities across Europe, and the setting up of a shared service that offers our diverse group of employees richer, broader mandates, and more long-term development opportunities.

Following the completion of this project, we quickly went on to become a key player and business partner in the successful completion of another ‘once in a lifetime’ change project led by the global IS business. This change involved the migration and integration of RBC IS Luxembourg’s custody and banking operating systems and processes onto the RBC IS’ operating model.

Over 18 months, the project drove 30+ ‘go-lives’ of client and/or functionality migrations, and engaged over 300 RBC colleagues across Operations, IT, Finance, Treasury & Market Services, in seven different locations around the world. The project migrated thousands of custody accounts, and treasury and market transactions.

From an RBC IS Luxembourg Finance perspective, the project was a significant challenge as it required many changes to our business-as-usual (BAU) activity between one to three times per month, impacted~80% of the operating system feeds into our general ledger SAP S/4 HANA, and ~90% of our financial close, statutory and regulatory reporting processes and controls.

With the ever-increasing margin pressures in the global custody banking and asset servicing markets, how important is it to take steps to streamline finance processes?

These projects were a strategic imperative in continuing to drive economies of scale, enhance and standardize client experience, and leverage larger RBC Enterprise resources, to enable RBC IS to compete at the global level.

We are now benefitting from enhanced productivity, connectivity, transparency, risk-based controls, and business intelligence thanks to integrated daily digital financial information flow and global operating models.

With the IS business having successfully delivered these large-scale changes and integration objectives it set for itself in 2022, it is now in a stronger position to continue to build its competitive global value proposition for its clients.

Delivering large-scale transformation is not easy. What are some of the key ingredients to such achievements?

Over the last few years of transformation, the Finance leadership team ensured the highest levels of engagement across our high-performing team. We did this by building on our core values of client-first, accountability, and collaboration. We positioned ourselves for success by taking a myriad of actions including:

  • Applying an AGILE project management approach, leading scrums at least three times a week, to manage migration, ‘go-lives’, and post-implementation issue resolution.
  • Hiring temporary resources to create capacity for each team, who focused on BAU, allowing the ‘product owners’ and ‘champions’ to be fully dedicated to the project.
  • Establishing specific gating-criteria/KPIs, test cases, and results requirements, to clearly measure our ability to support each ‘go-live’ decision.
  • Promoting a ‘client-first’ mindset, supporting business project teams to solve issues.
  • Collaborating upfront in the design discussions of the target operating models and the key non-finance controls.
  • Having Senior Managers (also Product Owners) manage their teams’ daily priorities (BAU, project and ad hoc work) on the Kanban/LEAN application, ensuring they reached achievable and measurable results every day, and eliminating anxiety resulting from ‘backlog effect’.
  • Recognizing our team members on their accomplishments at our weekly Finance team’s ‘Friday Coffee’ meetings.
  • Communicating periodically on the status of the overall project, and the reasoning behind the change, with a focus on how it would bring positive impact to the team.

As a result, we continue to show that we are a reliable and trusted business partner, open to change, able to adapt, and always making the overall strategic business imperatives our own.