"We decided in favour of the âBig bangâ instead of replacing one SIN (Securities Identification Number) interface after the other through ISIN," explains Christian Knechtel, who was responsible for the coordination of the project, as Financial Market Systems Manager. Due to the enormous amount of agreement required for the ISIN introduction, with regard to extent and importance to Postbank Systems, it is comparable to âY2Kâ or the start of the euro.
In the night from 12 to 13 April 2003, the conversion had to be perfect â also in Luxembourg and New York, as the reports were to be uniformly developed with ISIN throughout all systems. This affected all Postbank departments "which, in any form whatsoever, dealt with securities.â The fact that this ambitious goal was attained without restrictions is in Christian Knechtelâs eyes due in particular "to the flexibility of BSP TRADE as a key securities system."
Almost all modules used
The new 7.3.0 release is considered a tremendous step ahead by the relevant team of Postbank Systems AG, not only with regard to the ISIN introduction. Even the new or extended functions for IAS (International Accounting Standard), securities lending business, repurchase agreements, CCP, SWIFT connection and foreign exchange dealings (keyword: Continuous Linked Settlement) are largely intensely utilised by Postbank. The IAS and CCP functions were even implemented as early as the end of 2002 in the context of a Delta delivery. As Postbank acts as a trailblazer with regard to IAS in Germany, it was also a pilot customer of BSP.
Postbank has been using BSP TRADE and BSP INNOVA productively since May 1998, for proprietary trading and for agency transactions, i.e. as a transaction bank for the group subsidiaries. Here it focuses on the processing of extensive securities transactions for Postbank Financial Services. Overall, the portfolio of BSP solutions currently maps approx. EUR 80 billion.
System constantly extended
Since Postbankâs decision in favour of the BSP solutions TRADE and INNOVA and their successful implementation, the securities system has undergone constant development. Due to the merger with DSL Bank, Bonn, large stocks of data had to be migrated to BSP TRADE and BSP INNOVA â CPU performance and disc capacity have therefore undergone constant extensions. SUN E 4500 in a cluster formation for high availability serves as a hardware platform. New interfaces were added, among them two for IAS and swiftCONNECT.
In close and very good cooperation between application manager Margarete Schaap and Thomas Bochskanl, Manager Back-Office Systems from Postbank Systems and the Customer Manager Joachim SchÃ¼tter of BSP, further adjustments and optimisations have since been implemented, including those in the area of batch processing. The SWIFT function which has only just undergone dynamic further development for the 7.3.0 release is not yet being utilised extensively at Postbank. However, extremely good experience has been gained with the functions used so far. The IT team therefore sees corresponding usage potential for the future â also for the new automated import/export interface, which the latest release of BSP INNOVA offers. Overall, Department Manager Christian Knechtel confirms, a "high level of automation in many areas" had already been achieved with BSP TRADE/INNOVA. Mr Knechtel calculates the daily transaction volume to be between 2 000 and 3 000 business transactions.
Premium maintenance contract simplifies handling
The current release change has, all in all, found a positive echo at Postbank Systems AG. Next to the application-specific further development, those in Bonn, responsible for IT, also see a strength in the quality of documentation. It is acknowledged that the search engine for BSP documentation recently installed makes the way to the correct view easier.
The team surrounding Christian Knechtel is particularly thrilled about the new premium maintenance contract, which BSP has agreed with Postbank. For a term of initially two years, he obtains specific services such as the WM change service or adjustments to the further development of SWIFT, which are included in the â correspondingly adjusted â maintenance rate. "We greatly appreciate this," comments Christian Knechtel, "as handling and cooperation are so much easier this way." In this context Mr Knechtel hopes that the new procedure will also be adopted by other BSP users as this "would strengthen investment security for all involved" â whilst splitting the business risk.
The wish and requirements list posed to future releases has become significantly shorter with 7.3.0. For Postbank it would also be important, as Christian Knechtel states, to introduce an additional automation step with regard to master data, namely with a view to integrated business partner administration with different functions. BSP has since developed a standardised solution for this: the ACTIS.BSP Master Data Integrator.