Challenge of Canadian Financial Institutions: Responding to new pressures with old systems-- “Sclerosis of the systems” a common ailment as new customer expectations takes hold
April 18, 2008

OTTAWA, April 16 2008  --  Senior executives from Canadian financial institutions will soon meet to grapple with a systemic challenge: they are using old legacy systems and an aging workforce to try to meet new customer expectations in a globally-competitive financial marketplace.

Together with 60 of their peers, the financial executives will meet to share strategies at an executive roundtable on April 23, 2008, in Toronto.  “Becoming Fast, Lean and Responsive”, will focus on revitalizing operations and speeding up the delivery of services.

“Many institutions suffer from sclerosis of the systems,” said Nabarun Chaudhuri, President of Aithent Canada.  “By the time a new service gets through the delivery cycle, customers have moved on to a competitor, or have gone past the need for the proposed service.  Like a build-up of weight in the body, there are factors that accumulate to slow down response times in an organization.  In the financial sector, we have seen a situation where issues are converging:  acquisitions bring disparate systems together; legacy systems cause sluggish responses, and a highly bureaucratic approvals process.”

The roundtable, features a panel of experts including the Vice President of Support Services, International Shared Services, Scotia bank; the Vice President, Branch Manager/Portfolio Manager, National Bank; and the Managing Director, Partner in IBM Global Business, RBC Capital Markets.

 The event is organized by the Access Group, and sponsored by the Schulich Executive Education Centre, Aithent Canada and IBM Canada. Partners include the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance.

 “Executives have told us, for example, that over the years, financial institutions have built a tool-chest of some 300 processes and services to differentiate themselves from their competition and appeal to their customers,” said Taimour Zaman, president of Access Group.  “These complex business products are no longer efficient to maintain. Further, a fundamental demographic shift is altering the profile and needs of the customer, and at the same time competition is increasing.  Canadian leaders need to share their best practices in order to impose efficiency and achieve higher margins on their processes.”

 The half-day executive roundtable is free for senior executives in financial institutions.  It gives executives an opportunity to share views on looming issues, and listen to peer discussions about what works and what doesn’t work.  The event takes place on Thursday, April 23rd, in Toronto.

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