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Insights and News /

04 May 2018 3 min read

The robots are here... but what do they know about CASS?

Alex Fitter

Alex Fitter
Manager | Capital Markets | London

Across banks, custodians, asset and wealth managers, many of our clients have recently invested significant time and effort building CASS Toolkits to meet the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) enhanced CASS audit requirements.

The next logical question now facing these firms is: ‘how can we maximise the return on this investment?’
One highly valuable outcome of a CASS Toolkit (typically made up of a total capture matrix detailing CASS rule applicability, operational process flows and rules to controls mapping), is that by mapping out the operational process flows within the business, leaders (as well as auditors) are given a clear and simple view of the processes undertaken by operational teams. These process flows now shine a spotlight on those activities that are highly manual, standardised and repetitive; and in turn, those processes that are unnecessarily costly and introduce preventable operational risk to their business.

So what options are available to business leaders to ensure they fully utilise their investment in a CASS Toolkit? How can they ensure they continually meet regulatory deadlines whilst removing excessive cost? How can they release skilled staff onto more valuable activity? And how can they reduce the operational risk within their business?

Recently, we have been helping our clients to utilise the process flows created in their CASS Toolkit to identify opportunities for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). At a high level, RPA:

  • Performs repetitive tasks quickly and accurately
  • Can sit across multiple systems and platforms
  • Is used for standardised, repeatable, rules-based, high volume processes
  • Can run anytime – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year
  • Can remove/replace detective controls by introducing preventative controls upstream
  • Uses non-invasive software which mimics human activity from the front-end (i.e. clicks on a mouse).

We regularly see RPA projects delivered in extremely short timeframes (automating a task can be completed in 2-3 weeks; a complex process will likely be delivered in 7-9 weeks), and the benefits derived as a result of implementing RPA are rapidly realised; these include, but are not limited to:

  • Significant cost reduction
  • Improved efficiency and customer experience
  • Reduced operational risk through increased control and reduction of errors
  • Assurance that mandatory tasks (i.e. reporting) are completed within regulatory deadlines.

We see four key phases to any RPA deployment project (mobilisation; analysis; development and testing; deployment into a live environment) and by creating CASS process maps, the business has already taken the first steps through the mobilisation and analysis phases. The use of a CASS Toolkit in an RPA project accelerates the vital opportunity assessment and business case creation in mobilisation. It also fast tracks the analysis and solution design by leveraging the existing process and control maps. Ultimately reducing the time, effort and also the cost involved in automation.

So what do the robots know about CASS? Nothing until they are taught, but they provide the opportunity to turn the cost of regulatory compliance into an investment in improved efficiency and reduction of operational risk, cost and wastage across the business.

In our next blog we’ll share our experience of the CASS processes appropriate for RPA.