Developments in information technology have had a formidable effect on the investment management industry. They have contributed to the industry's rapid growth by expanding the ability to manage new distribution channels, develop new products and services, and manipulate data at lower costs, all in record time.
These developments will further transform the investment management industry in future. The wealth of information and the powerful tools made available to individual investors by resources such as the Internet will certainly change the way in which they conduct their business.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' risk assurance group addresses the risks associated with on-going business operations, systems technology and major change initiatives. In addition to its traditional systems audit services, our RCS team includes industry specialists capable of assisting you meet the challenges faced by these fundamental shifts in technology.
Their skills are focused in the following areas.
Controls assurance and consulting
Whether clients are implementing new organisational processes (through business process re-engineering, in-house developed IT systems or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems) and structures or are experiencing "breaks" in their current processes or IT systems, our specialist industry and technical teams can assist by identifying threats and weaknesses in controls that could increase operational risk. In such cases, we will suggest a more optimal mix of manual control activities, automated system controls and supervisory oversight activities. We can then assist in designing or advising on the controls that provide balance between effectiveness and efficiency within each of your organisational processes.
Technology infrastructure, ERP solutions, security and management
Our deep technical expertise in the field of technology infrastructure, communication networks, ERP applications (such as Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, JDE OneWorld and Siebel) and e-business application architectures enables us to provide a wide range of services in this arena. Our high-level tools include interview-driven diagnostic exercises designed to highlight areas of potential concern both in terms of strategy and business process as well as technical architecture. At a more detailed level, we can perform assessments of these new infrastructures, networks and in-house developed or ERP applications focusing on the manner in which they are being developed, deployed and operated in production environments. In such cases, detailed findings and issues for discussion are communicated to you and your technical advisers so that remediation can take place prior to significant outages, delays in processing or embarrassing publicity results. In addition to these, our Security and Management services include:
Integral to our e-business offerings are our advisory services designed to assist investment management organisations in meeting international best practice standards of privacy and data protection. We assist in developing your customer information collection strategy, we perform privacy risk assessments, we help develop and implement privacy policies, and can perform education and awareness programs for your employees. Once entities are sophisticated enough in this area, we can assist by performing compliance assurance reviews, due diligence reviews and third-party verifications.
Project management support
Every large-scale business project entails a multitude of components each involving extensive reporting and oversight. Often in investment management firms, staff involved in projects maintain their operational responsibilities making these tasks difficult to manage. Our Project Support Office service facilitates internal communication, helping project leaders ensure that management understands the issues affecting progress and gets the usable information they need to make critical business decisions. We help to establish procedures and standards for all project management components, monitor projects for quality assurance and create a comprehensive infrastructure for successful project management.
Planning for the continuity of your business and the underlying information systems in an emergency situation is critical in the investment management industry. Our specialists have helped many clients plan for major disruptions in business operations. Our services range from process-based reviews of your disaster recovery planning and business resumption plans to detailed assessments of how well your environment is suited to ensure the objectives of availability, reliability and data integrity are maintained within your IT environment.