The group has continued to serve its entire customer base, from large corporate entities to mum and dad investors, without interruption during Covid-19 thanks to partnering with IT support, cloud and communications company Intellium Technology.
Investment Services Group
ISG Chief Executive Richard O’Brien says the group has continued to serve its entire customer base, from large corporate entities to mum and dad investors, without interruption during Covid-19 thanks to partnering with IT support, cloud and communications company Intellium Technology.
"When we made the call to begin remote working ahead of lockdown, we did so with fairly immediate effect. We didn’t have to wrestle with the IT implications of that decision, because we’re well set up to support flexible working," he says.
O’Brien says the fact all staff have continued to work from home during Alert Level 3 is testament to how seamless the transition has been.
"The infrastructure was here to make this possible across the group some months ago, but now staff have realised how widely available it is and how easy it is to use, people will absolutely continue to work differently in the longer term," he says.
ISG is now in a position to consider acquisitions, because it has invested in strong foundations.
"None of us wanted this test, but we've had it and it’s validated the strength of our platform, so we feel absolutely ready to realise our growth aspirations over the next couple of years and beyond," he says.
ISG is the amalgamation of five trusted brands in wealth management - JMI Wealth, Devon Funds, Clarity Funds, Select Wealth Management and TAHITO. ISG collectively manages over $5.5bn on behalf of New Zealanders.
Together, they invested in a common platform to realise the synergy and scale of the group and worked with Intellium Technology on this transition because of the Kiwi company’s expertise, cultural fit and partnership approach.
They started working together 18 months ago, gradually moving the group’s existing server infrastructure to Microsoft Azure Cloud, adopting Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, transitioning to an Internet-based telephone system and introducing multi-factor authentication and an outsourced IT help desk.
JMI Wealth Director Andrew Kelleher is a household name in wealth management thanks to his regular appearances on Newstalk ZB and says remote working for him used to be about accessing systems on-the-go while travelling.
"Now it’s about being able to run our processes and systems and effectively be able to satisfy our clients while we are not in the office and that’s more challenging than individual needs," he says.
Transitioning to work from home a week before lockdown while maintaining a high level of service for clients shows how far the business has come over the past year.
"I’ve seen other IT projects take longer and cost more than expected and I remember feeling nervous about making these wholesale changes but I’m so glad we did," Kelleher says.
"If we hadn’t made those changes, I suspect we would have had some potentially insurmountable challenges to be able to keep our business running.
"Now we have put ourselves in a position where we will be able to respond to the changing environment over the next 5-10 years and beyond," he says.
Intellium Director Mark Taylor says catastrophes like Covid-19 are where the rubber hits the road for IT providers.
"During a disaster, everyone needs to be laser focused on their customers, not IT challenges," he says.
"Seeing how ISG continued to operate so well, under testing circumstance, is testament to a lot of hard work by both Intellium and ISG."