[1] BTN: What was the first thing that had to happen to bring the two wealth management units together (when Hancock purchased Whitney for $1.5 billion in stock)?

Duthu: We had to agree on a common operating platform. We spent a better part of six months researching service providers. SunGard's [asset management and trust accounting platform] was already installed at Hancock, which had a trust department of about the same size, and had the functionality that we were looking for - such as the ability to aid relationship management and report generation.

 

[2] What was the timeline?

Duthu: There was a tight conversion timeframe of about seven months. We needed to create a single platform for the two banks. That includes trust accounting, security processing and portfolio management, as well as compliance from an investment and account review standpoint.

 

[3] What was the challenge in bringing the two banks together?

Duthu: There were different processes that each department used for workflows and reporting, and one of the things that we had to do was determine common policies and procedures and create a common trust platform that would support the entire operation, enabling everyone to use the same tools and work in the same way to create more efficiency and agility to evolve the entire unit going forward.

 

[4] How did the increased reliance on analytics and modeling in investment and wealth management play a role in this conversion project?

Duthu: The amount of analysis that we perform on the investment management side has probably increased tenfold when compared to just five years ago, and performance measurement [analysis of the success of investments to inform future strategy] is a key component. The particular part of the solution that includes analytics and modeling integrates into our existing systems.

 

[5] How will the project help with compliance as wealth management rules become more complex?

Duthu: Dodd Frank is an important part of what we're working on with compliance, but there are also required administrative investment reviews that are part of operating a trust division that can benefit from standardization [between the two units] and automated reporting and documents.