Mutual Fund Technologies (MFT), the transfer agency system provider owned by Fidelity, has launched a new Straight Through Processing (STP) product for the mutual fund market called GFAS Message Exchange. The product went live in early November with Fidelity Investments, which is now signing up a number of major distributors to use it when processing deals with the company.
The GFAS Message Exchange enables straight through processing of buy, sell and switch trades, direct from major distributors into the underlying transfer agency system, without human intervention. The transfer agency system provided by MFT is called the Global Fund Administration System (GFAS).
The GFAS Message Exchange provides the distributor with rapid confirmation that the trade has been received, and automatically presents the price back to the distributor, following the daily pricing of the fund. All communication utilises SWIFT ‘s secure global messaging platform.
Currently the GFAS Message Exchange supports the ISO15022 message formats for buy, sell and switch trades to Vestima, the investment funds processing product, from Clearstream Banking. Additional transaction types, and the link to Euroclear Bank’s Fundsettle platform will be launched later on this year.
MFT is now in the process of rolling out the new technology to its global client base.
“The GFAS Message Exchange is just the first stage in a series of STP initiatives that MFT has planned over the next 12 months,” says Glynn Wood, Technical Director at MFT said, It really puts our clients in the driving seat both in terms of enhancing their risk management controls, and boosting the operational efficiencies they are able to achieve, within their back office. In addition, it positions them for any planned increases in the volume of trades, without any need for extra headcount.”
Ted Boyle, Managing Director (Operations) at Fidelity adds: “This is a major development for us. It allows us to transact in a fully automated way with distributors. Since going live, distributors who have signed up have noticed a real improvement in speed and accuracy. We are looking forward to putting more trades through MFT’s GFAS Message Exchange direct into GFAS and, importantly passing on any efficiencies we achieve to our distributors.”
Keith Haberlin, Business Development Manager for Investment Funds at SWIFT is also impressed. “MFT continues to be a market leader in developing an infrastructure which reduces costs and operational risk as well as facilitating the open architecture distribution of funds,” he says. “This important announcement, with Fidelity Investments, endorses SWIFT’s role in automating fund distribution by allowing the industry to leverage upon existing investments in SWIFT connectivity and ISO 15022 standards.”
Karine De Bondt, Senior Manager Investment Funds at Clearstream Banking adds: “MFT’s endorsement of Vestima and their decision to build an interface between their GFAS system and ourselves is an important milestone in the move towards achieving STP in the Investment Funds Market; and having Fidelity on board as a Transfer Agent will considerably widen the number of funds that can be processed through Vestima in a completely automated manner.”