TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
“We are often referred to as the largest financial services company that no one’s ever heard of,” laughs Adele Carnera, Head of Resourcing – Financial Services and Future Talent at International Financial Data Services (IFDS). “As a ‘third party’, it is our role to be behind the scenes in the financial services world, quietly and efficiently enabling, facilitating and making things work. We are the interface between companies and their customers.”
IFDS’s core business is as an outsource provider of investor and policyholder administration and technology services, and its clients include fund managers, insurance companies and platform providers. These clients can rely on IFDS’s market-leading administration capabilities, years of experience and proprietary technology platforms as a means of enhancing efficiency and reducing risk. “We create tailored solutions to each business’s needs and requirements,” says Carnera. “This bespoke approach ensures that we always provide an excellent experience for all stakeholders – in each organisation and for each one of their end customers.”
The company has three business streams: traditional funds business (such as ISAs and unit trusts); retirement and insurance products; and “Platforms”, which are the wrappers that group those products together. IFDS’s European head office is in Basildon, Essex and there are three other local offices in the county, as well as offices in London and Scotland – employing a total of 3,000 people. Worldwide, the company runs offices in Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.
The firm is a joint venture with Boston-based State Street Corporation (the world’s leading provider of services to institutional investors) and DST Systems (a Missouri-based provider of shareholder accounting services and systems). This joint operation is the largest administration and technology outsource provider in Canada, the UK and the US, and its market share is growing in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
IFDS has a number of entry routes for those coming straight from education. It is a well-structured system, which spans work-experience schemes for pre-GCSE students, to a range of apprenticeships, undergraduate internships and two-year graduate programmes. The company currently has 500 apprentices, which is a market-leading figure. “All of our graduates are involved in key projects from day one,” says Carnera. “They are given exposure to – and receive support from – senior management throughout the entirety of the scheme.”
All internships are paid, and interns are required to work on live projects for the company. “It involves real work with real, deliverable output,” says Carnera. “There is no sitting around and watching, while everyone else does the work. Intern or full-time employee, you’re an integral part of the team and we expect you to get involved.”
With all of its interns, graduates and employees coming through the ranks, Carnera explains that there is no typical IFDS employee. “There is a real mix of personalities here,” she says. “That being said, we always look for people who are motivated, engaged, keen to learn and courageous. We are a client-facing environment and every one of our customers deserves authenticity. So, above all, we look for strong communication skills, as the ability to interact effectively and successfully is key to everything we do.”