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How NAB Boosted Its Performance Measurement Capabilities

When its performance measurement system could no longer keep up with global competition, National Australia Bank chose Eagle Investment Systems' rules-based software.

When global asset management firms began increasing their Australian market presence after the global financial crisis, it raised the bar for the local titan National Australia Bank (NAB). "Our in-house performance measurement solution was unable to provide the granular reporting and self-service experiences our asset management clients started to expect," Naresh Subramaniam, head of investment services at the Melbourne-based institution, told us.

[Inside National Australia Bank's Core Transformation]

To address immediate needs and provide future agility, the $746 billion-asset NAB began evaluating external technologies in early 2011. It narrowed the pool of seven potential vendors to three before selecting BNY Mellon's Eagle Investment Systems and its Performance Measurement solution. "Eagle supplied a rules-based system with a robust client portal and all of the broader functionality we needed," Subramaniam said.

By late 2011, NAB had assembled a multidisciplinary implementation team and launched a multi-year deployment. In addition to NAB performance, risk, and IT staff representatives, the team included various consultants, a local integration partner, Eagle, and IBM, the bank's managed services infrastructure provider.

Pilot feedback helps shape deployment
The Eagle deployment began with a nine-month pilot, using two significant clients, to gain feedback on proposed customer-facing functionality. Then NAB moved into a two-phase full deployment initiative. The first phase, which concentrated on core functionality, started in late 2012 and concluded in early 2014. The second phase, which focused on analytics, began in the second half of 2013. Initially running in parallel with the phase-one testing, the second phase concluded this month.

In addition to implementing previous Eagle capabilities, the deployment included developing a full suite of return methodologies and associated reporting support. The suite is now available to all Eagle clients and includes the ability to report internal rates of return for alternative investments.

"Developing the suite demonstrated the flexibility of the Eagle solution," Subramaniam said. "It also helped set us apart from our competitors, because our calculations are completed within the Eagle environment, rather than outside of it."

As with many massive forklifts, the biggest headache for NAB was managing multiple vendors and all the incumbent moving parts. "Ensuring the right people from Eagle, IBM, and our data integration consultant teams were speaking to the right people from our business and technology teams was particularly critical throughout development," said Adam Russell, associate director of performance and risk analytics at NAB.

Initial client migrations successful
In mid-2014, NAB began migrating clients on to the platform; two clients are live on the system today. "Both say it's a fantastic tool," Subramaniam said. "They're pleased with multiple calculation methodologies and models, three dozen risk analytic measures, automated report generation, and the 80-plus components available to customize the client dashboard."

The bank and its clients have gained other benefits, including transactional attribution at the security level, as well as "look through" capability for trusts, derivatives, and cross-investments. "Clients can now also access data feeds themselves via the portal. This reduces overhead and enables our staff to be more analytically focused."

The balance of NAB's approximately 75 customers will migrate on to the new platform by mid-2016. Concurrently, NAB will consider switching to Eagle's SaaS-delivered option before the next on-premises version release.

NAB will also continue working with Eagle on maturing the solution's risk valuation capabilities and advanced client experiences, such as dynamic dashboards and mobile access. "In both cases, we've been a part of the development discussions. We're confident Eagle is rapidly catching other vendors' offerings."

NAB's enthusiasm for the new platform is palpable. "The initiative's purpose was adopting a modern risk and performance system," Subramaniam said. "With Eagle, we're definitely coming into parity with our global competitors."

Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio

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