After a six-year wait, Fiduciary Trust Company International has begun installing trust accounting software from Premier Solutions Ltd.
New York-based Fiduciary Trust, which has more than $24 billion of assets under management, plans to have Premier's Global Plus asset accounting product up and running at its headquarters and at its Swiss subsidiary, FTI-Banque Fiduciary Trust in Geneva, by the end of 1994.
Since signing a licensing agreement for Premier software in 1987, Fiduciary Trust had been waiting for Premier to add multicurrency accounting capabilities to its trust system.
"It's our view that the future is in global investing," said David Stone, executive vice president and director of operations at Fiduciary Trust. "We currently support 37 currencies, and it sometimes seems like we are adding another one every week or so."
Problems at Premier
The addition of multicurrency capability, along with the simultaneous upgrade of several trust software packages to a single new system, was almost Premier's undoing.
Delays and other problems in the development effort caused BankAmerica Corp. to abandon an agreement with the vendor in 1988.
The loss of that contract created image problems for the Wayne, Pa., vendor that only began to clear with the introduction Global Plus in 1992. More than a dozen banks, including Chemical Banking Corp., have signed Global Plus agreements with Premier.
Prior to the product introduction, "we stayed with what we had in place, and tried to make do in a multicurrency environment," said Mr. Stone. Fiduciary Trust's current trust accounting system is from National Computer Systems.
A Good Fit
The additional capabilities of Global Plus are also well-suited to Fiduciary Trust's business, according to Mr. Stone.
"Our focus is investment management, and we handle a relatively small number of transactions, compared to some of the big players in global custody."
Because of that focus, "we'll probably stretch and bend the system in ways that might not have been anticipated, Mr. Stone said.
Secrecy Laws Change Plans
He added that the bank has been working on the development of Gobal Plus with Premier for the past two years.
Fiduciary Trust will probably implement Global Plus in its Swiss operations first, because that office is much smaller than the New York headquarters.
Mr. Stone said the bank had planned to run the Swiss office's systems from New York, but "Swiss secrecy laws won"t permit that." Those laws require that the data for that operation be stored within Switzerland, he noted.
To comply with the law, Fidiciary Trust has installed a Digital Equipment Corp. VAX computer system and the Global Plus software at its Geneva office.
Additional programming and systems support work will continue in New York, he said.
Fiduciary Trust anticipates the Swiss portion of the system should be operational by early next year.
In addition to the multicurrency function, Global Plus "should eventually eliminate a lot of manual processes and make our back office operations far more efficient." Mr. Stone said.