‘Being tech-enabled doesn’t replace the human element’
Technology is helping Intertrust evolve and keep the human touch, says the firm’s managing director in Guernsey Marie McNeela.
Will Green met her
‘IT’S been exciting,’ said Marie McNeela when reviewing the past year since becoming MD of Intertrust’s Guernsey office.
The business – which has 160 people in Guernsey – provides private wealth, corporate and fund services. Amid a company-wide tech-enabled evolution, Intertrust Guernsey has also seen growth.
Marie goes on: ‘It was a challenge I felt at the time ready to take on personally. We are going through a lot of change as a business globally with our tech transformation.
‘Obviously to underpin that on a local basis brings its own challenges. But overall, it’s been a really good year.
‘Our CEO, a lady called Stephanie Miller, is key. She joined two years ago. She has a vision that Intertrust will become a tech- enabled service provider and by that she puts her money where her mouth is. We have invested a huge amount of money in May this year into a company called Viteos, which is now an Intertrust company.’
Viteos is a US company that provides hedge fund tech services for accounting and shadow accounting with centres of excellence in India.
Intertrust had already been working with the firm to build a client portal, plans which Marie described as ‘very exciting’.
‘Having been in the industry for a few decades now, that was the big driver for me joining the company – that they had a vision of what the business might look like in the future.
‘It’s a vision that I think we need to be in, providing tech solutions for clients who are now global in a way they haven’t been in the past.’
The tech offering involved a client interface, for example an app on a smartphone.
‘Each client will have their own data room with the information for their company or their fund. It might be investors, it could be business partners.
‘Those clients will be able to communicate with us via that portal if they so wish, but they also have real-time key documentation. So, in our funds and corporate world particularly that will be really revolutionary in terms of how quickly you can access information that is appropriate when there are huge transactions and investments going on.’
But the human touch will remain central to Intertrust’s offering, according to Marie.
‘We’ll be tech-enabled, but it doesn’t replace the human element that’s required for the client relationship.
‘Rather than staff spending time on data input or information collecting in an increasingly regulated environment, it will free them up to spend more time on the client relationship itself.
‘Our forecast is that we stay the same in terms of headcount.’
Asked about industry trends, Marie pointed to a ‘lot of growth’ in Intertrust Guernsey’s funds and corporate business.
‘That is partly to do with how we are partnering with our business partners, how we enable people to go out to market and the quality of the service we provide. We’re also seeing growth in our private wealth business, but from particular markets – the Middle East, Asia and South Africa.’
Guernsey had become a ‘jurisdiction of choice’ as well because of its reputation for being well-regulated and its expert workforce.
Consolidation in the market had also had an impact, she said.
‘Some clients are quite happy with that. But especially in the private wealth world, client service and continuity are critical. I think Intertrust therefore is at the forefront of that.
‘Because we are listed, we don’t have that same attitude within the business. That’s not what we’re focused on.
‘If anything, we’re acquisitive rather than always looking over our shoulder to see if we’re being purchased. So that consolidation, I think, has helped drive our growth as well.’