In order to comply with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, Banks only have a few weeks to reconcile annual data before the legal cut off. Alongside this, there are possible errors and exceptions, which need to be taken into account and escalated. As each bank works on its own system, manual processes often involving Excel spreadsheets are common practice. As a consequence, operational risk remains high. 

SmartStream’s Corona Universal Data solution will automatically update the data as soon as it is received from the custodian, reconcile it and alert the bank of any errors, providing a full audit. This allows the bank to have better control over its reconciliations processing – i.e ready to provide data to the regulatory authorities. Cost savings are achieved by eliminating the need to address errors due to time constraints. 

The IRS regulation has meant that banks need to report and provide an audit trail of all transactions by a certain deadline. Alex Revelant, Head of Securities Department, BCEE, stated: “As a Qualified Intermediary, BCEE must fulfil the reporting obligations to the IRS. Our team needs to ensure that the data provided by BCEE (relating to US payments) is in line with the classification of the same payments, reported by each of our custodians. The reconciliation is performed by combining different codes relating to the instrument, the income type, the beneficiary and of course the taxation data, all of this for each income payment is necessary”. 

He continues: “As each intermediary owns his own system, there is no standardisation of the disclosure, the format of the files or event and the number of fields provided. Each year, the reconciliation was time consuming and in part was performed manually for many weeks. Today, as a result of having Corona, the functional team can focus on the real issues rather than on the reformatting of the files received. In addition, operational risk is reduced”. 

Alain Mercier, Deputy Head of IT Development Department, BCEE, stated: “BCEE is a long-standing customer of SmartStream and uses Corona solutions for cash and securities reconciliation, investigations and confirmations. We are very satisfied with the quality and the performance of Corona solutions as well as the service delivered by SmartStream”. 

Christian Schiebl, Executive Vice President, Corona Business Unit, SmartStream, says: “BCEE is a robust and forward thinking organisation, always looking to make further improvements to their services. Taking this measured approach to help reduce risk, gain more control of custodian data and getting better visibility of its overall reconciliations processing is a significant step in the right direction. Within a few weeks, we managed to set up the tool and tested the solution quickly. The system automatically compares the files and highlights the differences. The investigations can be followed up easily and the documentation of the process improves the monitoring of the whole flow. Overall a great success”.