Knowing what its clients want has given ICD, the independent portal provider of money market funds and other short-term investments, a clear advantage as it scoops two TMI Awards this season: the Treasury4Good Best Technology Solution, and the Technology & Innovation Best Portal Technology prize. A worthy double winner.
ICD clearly has its finger on the pulse of MMFs and other short-term investments. Its evolving product set and approach to client service were the twin drivers behind its TMI Award wins in 2021.
A force for good
Over the past 12 months, ICD brought on board 15 new ESG-related products – comprising half of all the new products ICD added to its portal in 2021.
“We are continuing to see cash flow into ESG and other socially responsible investment products,” says ICD CEO Tory Hazard. “In 2020, treasury professionals were trying to gain clarity on the various definitions and labels around these types of investments; their interest was very much conceptual. Last year, we saw investments in these products increase significantly – trading in diversity and inclusion products, for example, tripled on ICD Portal. Still, the lack of standards, data and other challenges continue to create obstacles for treasury practitioners.”
To aid treasury investors in their ESG journey, and to help them with their selection of products, ICD consistently brings technology innovation and ongoing educational opportunities to the community.
As an independent provider bringing the market to the investor, ICD has developed an advanced transparency feature that enables clients to see how all the various fund providers designate their socially responsible investing (SRI) and ESG products.
This market-leading SRI/ESG Designation tool enables clients to search, view, sort, and filter the designation of each fund, enabling them to align investments more easily with their CSR/ESG strategies. Combining this with ICD’s existing risk management technology, treasury professionals can then analyse their exposures by examining underlying holdings, trade and report their investments, all in one place on the ICD Portal.
Education for all
ICD also uses a variety of channels to deliver educational webinars and virtual sessions on current market trends in ESG, and share peer voices with the treasury community so teams can benchmark their own ESG journeys.
These have included EuroFinance ‘coffee-break sessions’ with HSBC and with Fitch, and NeuGroup’s D&I corporate member group virtual session which gathered attendees to hear about multinational tech conglomerate Cisco’s journey and ICD’s Mind the Gap ESG Survey. Additionally, ICD’s Insight Webinars covered areas such as Short-Term Investing in a Changing World, with BlackRock, and Investing Toward a Sustainable Future, with Aviva.
Together, these educational initiatives and screening capabilities make ICD the worthy winner of TMI’s Treasury4Good Best Technology Solution 2021 accolade.
Pushing tech boundaries
ICD continued to deliver on the needs of the market in 2021 with ICD Portal, a model in the industry for research, trading, reporting and analysis. ICD Portal provides access to more than 350 investment products from the market’s 40 fund providers. With the continuous addition of new investment products and technology innovations, ICD Portal helps practitioners more easily invest in the short-term market.
“Serving the needs of the treasury community is all we do,” Hazard explains. “Our technology team is 100 percent focused on listening to and collaborating with clients to deliver on their needs. And because we have a deep understanding of treasury’s requirements, we’ve been able to deliver many industry-leading solutions over the years.”
Market-driven technology innovation
ICD continued to extend the value of its technology throughout 2021, integrating with other systems in treasury’s technology stack – from point-to-point solutions to full treasury transformations such as Alexion’s award-winning project – and by continuously innovating new capabilities driven by market needs. “We have an extensive portfolio of system integrations, which we have continued to invest in to streamline our clients’ workflows,” Hazard says.
Particularly noteworthy this year are ICD’s API integrations, single sign-on and automated sweep capabilities with clients’ treasury management systems. These deep integrations create a seamless, end-to-end workflow for managing liquidity and investments. They remove the need to rekey information and critical trade details, providing more accurate data to support cash and investment decisions. With automated sweep capabilities, clients set floors or minimum balances on their bank accounts, and their TMS automatically sends through any excess cash to ICD to invest in funds that have been pre-selected by the client. This is a huge development for treasury teams because no effort is required by the user to put excess cash to work, enabling tighter management of uninvested cash.
Other ICD Portal developments in 2021 include: enhanced visibility and data visualisation with a highly configurable ICD Dashboard; the Fund Parent Compliance Rule developed with National Grid; and the availability of Dark Mode, which allows clients to access the application based on their visual preference.
It’s an approach to technology and understanding that achieves results for an appreciative and expanding roster of clients, and TMI is therefore delighted to present ICD with the 2021 Technology & Innovation Best Portal Technology Award. Congratulations to the ICD team on both accolades.