Unit Trust Corporation: Ensuring the Financial Future of Generations with Digital Transformation Fueled by Microsoft Dynamics 365
When you think of Trinidad and Tobago, images of a tropical vacation might come to mind. But, the country’s citizens go to work every day, raise their families, and strive to achieve financial goals, just like anyone else.
In 1982, the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange was formed, creating for the first time in the country’s history an opportunity for any citizen to make investments. Prior to that, citizens only had two ways to amass wealth and plan for retirement—a savings account or be a part of a susu. A susu (or sou-sou) is an informal savings club where a group people put money into a pool every month, and at the end of the month, one individual gets that money.
Enter the Unit Trust Corporation, a mutual fund company that was formed to provide a full range of investment and asset management services to everyone in the country. The Unit Trust uses the susu principle—pooling the money of individuals and allowing them to participate in the wealth generating capability of the entire nation. As simple as this principle sounds, it has been an empowering and successful business model. 37 years after opening its doors, the Unit Trust has reached out to more than 600,000 citizens—more than half the population of Trinidad and Tobago—and given them the opportunity to invest through the creation of wealth.
Building a Future for Every Citizen
With the Unit Trust, it’s not just about making money. Its mission is help generate wealth and create financial stability for everyone from all walks of life, touching every citizen, regardless of demographic, in some way. From a woman from a rural area who began investing in the Unit Trust by putting in a couple hundred dollars a month and now owns millions of dollars’ worth or real estate, to new parents opening accounts for their children just days after birth, people from every walk of life are able to save money for the dream they’re working to reach.
And, by the way, the Unit Trust also serves institutions, governments, and companies of all sizes, all the way up to large treasuries of corporations.
With the assets of over half the nation in its trust, it is critical to protect the clients’ money, instilling confidence by investing in the right types of equities and following smart business practices. And, like any other financial services organization, the Unit Trust competes with other firms like banks and insurance companies, which offer things the Unit Trust cannot, so it has to be the best at what it does. That requires constant innovation—and technology to support it.
It Takes Innovation…and the Right Technology
Constant innovation is at the heart of continually meeting the needs of unit holders and maintaining their trust and confidence. And the stakes are very high for the Unit Trust: The future of 600,000+ individuals depend on them.
The legacy financial management and ERP system the Unit Trust was using was outdated and expensive to maintain relative to the value being derived from it, especially since the company still relied heavily on Excel and manual steps to handle processing, reporting, and analytics. It needed a more flexible and affordable platform to support its 5-year digital transformation plan aimed at driving customer loyalty and reducing operating costs in a global environment. In short, with outdated technology, manual processes, and lack of integration between systems, the Unit Trust needed to look at a holistic change to its technology that would take it into the future.
Going from a mostly manual process to a very heuristic-based process meant changing the way the Unit Trust does business…and when processes change, the company culture changes. In short, there was going to be a “seismic shift” for everyone, and management wanted to ensure they were all on board from the start. But the risk and complexities of changing were greatly outweighed by the threat of obsolescence, so the shift needed to happen.
The Choice: Microsoft Dynamics 365 and AKA Enterprise Solutions
Management scanned the market for the type of solution that would help with financial reporting on the company’s supply chain management systems, which increases the efficiency of the value chain and decreases the cost of doing business.
Three products were considered, but after a thorough assessment, Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP was the clear winner. Not only did it do everything the Unit Trust was looking for, but the employees involved in the selection process loved the interface, ease of use, and configurability.
The next step was selecting a partner. Several were considered, but most fell short. Microsoft recommended AKA Enterprise Solutions as one of the best implementation partners for financial services firms. After extensive discovery sessions, the Unit Trust team understood why Microsoft made this recommendation. AKA’s approach, methodology, deep bench of financial services experts, excellent customer references, and level of preparation from the very beginning were all right in line.
Results: Ahead of Schedule, On Budget…and a Foundation for Continued Innovation
As the project moved forward, the Unit Trust was even more impressed at how thorough the AKA team was during discovery. They were committed completely, proactive in their approach, and detail-oriented, addressing concerns before they were even voiced. AKA had the ability and the capacity to move at a fast pace, adding more resources when needed, which contributed to the implementation coming in ahead of schedule, on budget, and with an excellent overall user experience.
And as for benefits of the new system, the Unit Trust was not disappointed. There were many specific benefits, they all add up to helping the people of Trinidad and Tobago. After the implementation was complete the Until Trust was able to increase sales targets, which is not about earning more money, but it’s about increasing outreach to ensure every household has the hope of an investment future. As simple as the technology platform shift seems to be, it is what helps the Unit Trust meet those targets.
Nigel Edwards, Executive Director of the Unit Trust, could not be happier:
“We have had absolutely no regrets choosing Microsoft Dynamics and partnering with AKA Enterprise Solutions. Our team has formed a special bond with the AKA team, but more important than that, as an organization, we love the partnership we have formed. There was always an atmosphere of mutual sharing, and that’s important because our mission is simple: To ensure the financial well-being and security of every household in Trinidad and Tobago. The Microsoft platform is giving us new and better ways of doing that every day, so we appreciate the involvement of AKA in taking us there.”