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BNY Mellon Takes BPM To Higher Level

Not long ago adopting business process management technology was a leading-edge pursuit. Now, organizations like BNY Mellon Wealth Management are going beyond early initiatives to streamline operations further.

No More Complex Spreadsheets

Overall, adding KYC and AML processes to BNY Mellon Wealth Management's automated account opening system has been as transformative as the original initiative. "Before BPM, all KYC and AML information was collected manually at several different points in the process," says Pilsbury. "This resulted in both KYC and AML staffs chasing down information. And, they created a tremendous number of complex spreadsheets and [Microsoft] Access databases to track the progress of the tasks involved."

Today, all that complexity is gone. "Now, compliance and risk information is captured up-front," Pilsbury says. "Account opening can't progress until the appropriate KYC and AML data is collected. This increases the streamlining of the whole onboarding process and makes it more accurate. And it enables portfolio managers to spend more quality time with their clients."

Additionally, a welcome by-product of the initiative is the creation of an account-opening middle office, which will lead to more streamlining. "Prior to our initial BPM implementation everything was separate, so there was no middle office for account opening," says Pilsbury. "With BPM we created a middle office and, going forward, we'll be looking at further process automation in that area."

As the BNY Mellon Wealth Management team progressed through each BPM initiative, they learned some key lessons. One is setting appropriate expectations. "In general, BPM is sold as enabling rapid development and quick wins," notes Pilsbury. "Of course simple workflows can be delivered rapidly. But, once you start integrating with databases and core systems, then your efforts are going to increase."

Another insight was the value of innovating during the design phases. "It's critical to go beyond automating existing processes," Pilsbury advises. "It's important to involve innovative thinkers to enable re-engineering because the real value in BPM is the improvements you deliver."

A third lesson involves project manageability. "Don't try to boil the ocean," says Pilsbury. "Instead, deliver on some business goals so people can see the benefit. Then, continue building out your deployment."

Regardless, the benefits of leveraging BPM for KYC/AML are palpable. For example, BNY Wealth Management has announced plans to grow its U.S. sales force by some 50 percent, but expects no impact on KYC/AML staff size. "The subsequent business growth as a result of the sales force increase will not add to our KYC/AML headcount due to efficiencies gained," Pilsbury says.

Most importantly, the business is "delighted" with the BPM tool, Pilsbury says. "Before, KYC and AML staff members had to pick up the phone or send an email to chase down information. Now, every stakeholder can see -- at any point -- where the work is in the queue, who is responsible for the next action and how long it's been sitting there."

"And," she continues, "we've ended up with a very knowledgeable set of business partners who can even create their own basic workflows. Plus, we've opened the floodgates of interest in BPM – departments are lining up to be next." Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio

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