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Wealth Management

OPTIMISING IT SPEND IN A TURBULENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE

Jelle Wijndelts, Director of Business Consulting, EMEA, Snow Software

 

Since the beginning of 2020, work practices have shifted rapidly for a multitude of businesses. Due COVID-19, we find ourselves in a unique situation. This has tempted many organisations to relax procedures and approaches towards the adoption of new technologies in order to enable employees to remain productive at home. For many who found themselves scrambling to keep up with the surge of early requests, IT teams are beginning to sift through the initial chaos in order to properly manage resources and streamline technology spend.

Naturally, in the initial and sudden shift to remote working, cost optimisation may not have been a primary focus. Businesses were keen to get workers up and running as quickly as possible, and by any means possible. However, now that remote working is becoming a new norm for businesses across the globe, IT spend is a core focus in preparation for what is looking like an uncertain economic future.

For many IT leaders and their teams, identifying over-licensed and inactive software and hardware will be crucial to finding additional cost saving opportunities and delivering much-needed value to the business. Unlocking efficiencies within IT spend can have a positive impact on the bottom line and help organisations navigate these times of ongoing uncertainty, whilst ensuring business continuity.

So, how can businesses and IT decision makers determine which technologies they truly need and which they can afford to cut back on, especially in a new era of remote working, and be prepared to address IT cost management requests from their business?

The short answer is visibility.

 

Managing visibility across new IT environments

Having complete transparency and visibility of an organisations entire IT ecosystem is an essential first step to optimising costs. This includes having a full, holistic view across all solutions, whether they are on-premises or in the cloud.

The reality, however, is that many businesses have a fragmented view over the technology applications within their organisation, which makes identifying inefficiencies extremely difficult. Even before the shift to remote work, the evolution of department-led technology purchasing had caused many IT teams to lose visibility of their technology estate, including accounting for what’s being used, how much and what tools are left inactive but still paid for. According to research by Snow and IDG Connect, 67% of IT leaders confirmed at least of half of technology purchasing is now controlled by individual business units and departments.

To gain better visibility, organisations should begin by gathering a comprehensive inventory of the technology in use across all areas of the business. This raw data must then be normalised, categorised and augmented with additional information such as application type or end-of-life data.

 

Determining usage and spend

Once a clear view of all technology assets has been defined, IT teams can then start to assess the current usage and spend of the organisation. With many employees working from home, it is likely they will be using a variety of new tools to work effectively. Whilst it can be difficult to determine exactly what is being used and by who when many workers are remote, having this information is crucial to effectively reducing redundancies.

For instance, there might be a piece of software already in place within the organisation with spare licenses that employees may not be aware of, leading them to purchase an additional license or even another solution unnecessarily. By having this insight, businesses can identify overlapping technology and limit usage to one single solution to dramatically reduce overheads, whilst also improving data management and security. Managing existing licenses or negotiating an early renewal, can also help to free up crucial budget needed to support other areas of the business.

By continually monitoring and comparing both the entitlements and deployments of enterprise software licenses, organisations can use this knowledge to re-distribute licenses for maximum effect, whilst protecting themselves against significant unbudgeted costs.

 

Looking to the cloud

The cloud is another area that IT departments should be assessing now to manage spend. During times of market uncertainty, investment in cloud infrastructure can often surge as businesses need employees to access assets remotely. However, there are significant cost savings to be made when it comes to both hybrid and on-premise cloud models.

For on-premise environments, which are often developed over a longer period of time, going back and performing an audit can be extremely valuable as there may be legacy applications that are no longer required. By doing so, organisations can typically expect to reclaim 10% on resources and free up additional data centre budget.

For public cloud use on the other hand, when it comes to production, it’s best to start with agreements and focus on reserved instances or savings plans. The long-life and consistency of these workloads make it easier to analyse and to commit to ongoing spend for a discount.

 

Managing SaaS costs to unlock hidden savings

Last, but by no means least, Software as a Service (SaaS) should also be a key consideration for cost optimisation. Without the right guardrails around it, SaaS like other types of software, can rack up a whole wealth of inefficiencies and waste through over provisioning, redundant applications and duplicated accounts. That’s what makes SaaS a perfect target when it comes to unlocking hidden cost savings.

Here are three ways of doing so:

  • Reduce unused licenses:  unlike the traditional on-premises world, in a SaaS environment you can simply stop paying for a license if you are no longer using it. By gathering detailed usage data, you can manage contracts by buying and renewing only the subscriptions you need. 
  • Downgrade excessive entitlements: different license tiers of SaaS applications have vastly different costs. And often, you will have employees with advanced licenses who use just the basic features of an application. To be able to identify this and recoup the wasted spend, businesses need detailed understanding of both the license and its usage.

 

Optimise applications: most organisations have two, three or more application that serve the same or very similar functions. Regularly reviewing and consolidating to one application, making this available to the end users via an approved application list, will benefit organisations in multiple ways. This includes potential volume discounts – due to an increased in users, and lower support and security cost as there will be less applications to support and maintain.

 

Navigating market turbulence

No one knows the long-term effects of our current reality, but economies around the world have been feeling the impact. During a time like this, having full visibility of IT spend through effective asset management can be a tremendous resource for businesses planning for future sustainability and growth.

Another effect of the economic impact is the increase in vendor audits. The ‘mad’ scramble to home working and shift in IT approach means that lots of companies are now potentially exposed as the software use has changed, in turn affecting compliance. Again, step one is to ensure visibility: understanding what is out there, how is it used, who is using it, and when is it being used.

Regardless of what’s in store, complete visibility across your technology environment has never been more critical. Comprehensive insight into your organisation’s infrastructure, cloud usage and applications will keep businesses profitable and compliant as we ride out this storm.

 

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Wealth Management

SIMPLIFYING THE RETIREMENT FUND DEATH CLAIMS PROCESS

By Dolana Conco, Regional Executive at Alexander Forbes

 

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through, and during this difficult time, you don’t want your loved ones to have to worry about finances.

Your family will receive a share of your retirement savings and a life insurance pay-out if you die while being a member of a retirement fund. The trustees of the fund have a legal responsibility to make sure that death benefits from the fund are paid to those who are financially dependent on you.

If your death benefit is through a policy that is separate to the fund, then the trustees will not be involved and this benefit will be paid out according to the nomination of beneficiaries’ form that you’ve completed with that specific insurer, or else your employer will decide.

 

What retirement fund members need to do

  1. Keep your ‘Who needs financial support when I die?’ form up to date

This form is so much more important than anyone thinks – even though it is not a last will and testament. The trustees must, by law, find all the people who are financially dependent on you, as well as those whom you love and would want to leave a portion of your death benefit to when you die. Those who depend on you for financial survival are called your dependants. Examples are your spouse or life partner, children (of any age), parents, people you need to pay maintenance to or anyone else in your life who depends on you financially.

If no one is financially dependent on you in any way, you can choose someone else as a beneficiary (family, friend, or even a charity). If you choose to give your death benefit to a charity when you die, the money will first be paid to your estate and then paid over to the charity of your choice. If this form is not up to date, it could take the trustees much longer to identify who should receive a share of your death benefit from the fund.

 

  1. Submit the correct documents

The most common reason for delays in paying an insured death claim is that there are missing, incomplete or incorrect documents submitted with the claim. Your employer can assist with what is needed and can check that the form has been completed fully and correctly before submission. In general, the following information is needed:

  • a certified copy of the death certificate
  • the identity document or passport of the deceased member
  • a copy of a pension-backed housing loan (if applicable)
  • proof of the extent of any financial dependency of the beneficiaries

What your retirement fund needs to do

The trustees of your fund have a legal duty when you die to distribute your death benefit from and through the fund. The trustees must find all dependants and nominees to decide how to share the retirement savings and life insurance pay-out fairly. To make a fair decision, the trustees will consider the following factors, among others:

  1. Age of the beneficiaries
  2. Relationship to the deceased
  3. How financially dependent they were on the deceased
  4. Their financial affairs
  5. Their future earning potential and prospects
  6. The total amount of the retirement saving to be distributed

The trustees can choose to give a beneficiary no pay-out, as the law doesn’t say that every beneficiary must get some money. However, they must consider the needs of each beneficiary and the amount available for distribution.

If there’s information that the trustees may not have considered when they made their decision and the draft resolution has already been prepared, your family needs to contact the trustees urgently. The fund’s administrators will pay the death claim once they get a response from all beneficiaries, or if no response has been received within 30 days of sending the draft resolution document.

There are various reasons for delays in paying a death claim from or through the fund, including the employer not completing the claim form in full, missing or incorrect documents, investigations for the trustee resolution taking longer than expected, outstanding tax issues and beneficiaries not providing their bank account details.

Make sure your family knows what can go wrong and what to do to make the process run smoothly – it all plays a part in leaving a legacy that you can be proud of.

 

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THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO TRANSFERRING SHARES FROM ONE DEMAT ACCOUNT TO ANOTHER

A Demat Account functions like a savings bank account with the obvious difference in the fact it stores stocks instead of money. To be similar to a savings account also implies that a Demat Account can be used to transfer shares from one Demat Account to another Demat or trading account.

Shares are generally transferred from one Demat Account to another for the purpose of changing depositories. However, there can also be other reasons for transferring shares such as merging the investments in different Demat Accounts in a single Demat Account.

Whatever the reason, in order to understand how to transfer shares from Demat Account, it is important to first understand what is Demat Account.

What Is Demat Account?

The most simplified way of answering what is Demat Account is to understand it as a digital platform where investors can store all their shares and other forms of investment in an electronic form. Demat is a short form for dematerialization which refers to the process of converting physical share certificates into the electronic form. A Demat Account can only be opened with the help of a Depository Participant or DP and a depository. A DP is an agent or broker who acts as an intermediary between the depository and investor. A depository is a financial institution in which investors open their Demat Account. Read more about what is Demat Account to understand it in more thorough details.

It is necessary to know about Demat Accounts before attempting other things like transferring shares, etc.

 

How To Transfer Shares From Demat Account

After the meaning of what is Demat Account is cleared, it is time to understand how to transfer shares from Demat Account to another Demat Account. There are two types of transfer:

  • Intra-depository transfer: In this type of transfer, shares are transferred from one Demat Account to another in the same depository.
  • Inter-depository transfer: In inter-depository transfer, shares are conveyed from one Demat Account to another account which is in a different depository.

The two ways in which shares can be transferred are the manual procedure or online procedure.

 

Manual Transfer Of Shares

For the manual transfer of shares, investors are required to ask for delivery instruction slip or DIS from their brokers or DPs. DIS is not just an important but also an integral part of the manual transfer of shares. It contains some mandatory fields which have to be filled to process the transfer of shares.

1.    Beneficiary Owner ID (BO ID)

Beneficiary owner ID (BO ID) refers to a 16-digit ID number of a broker. An investor has to mention in DIS the IDs of both the current broker and the broker to which the shares will be transferred.

2.    International Securities Identification Number (ISIN)

International Securities Identification Number or as it is commonly known ISIN is a unique ID number appropriated to each share of an investor which he holds in a Demat Account. In order for the transfer to take place, ISIN has to be provided to designate which particular shares are to be transferred.

3.    Inter or Intra

This is the distinctive part of DIS where an investor has to choose whether to make an intra-depository or inter-depository transfer. In the case of intra-depository transfer, the column denoted as ‘off-market transfer’ has to be selected. Whereas, in the case of inter-depository transfer, the column designated ‘inter-depository’ has to be selected. An investor should be extra careful while filling this part of DIS.

4.    Signature

Little needs to be said about this part of DIS. Just like any other important document, DIS too needs to be signed. Once an investor has signed DIS, it should be submitted to the broker.

A broker may charge a small fee for the transfer of shares. It usually takes 3-5 business days for the shares to be transferred.

 

Online Transfer of Shares

Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL) has made the online transfer of shares a very easy process. All that an investor has to do is to follow these simple steps.

  1. The ‘Register Online’ option at the CDSL website has to be selected.
  2. There would appear an option called EASIEST which then has to be selected.
  3. A form would generate which accordingly has to be filled.
  4. Once the form fill-up is complete, a print out of the same has to be taken out. This print out is to be submitted to the account holder’s Depository Participant.
  5. The DP will verify the document and once the verification process is completed, a password will be generated.

Using this password, an investor can log in and transfer shares on his own.

Thus, the two ways in which shares can be transferred from one Demat Account to another is not at all complex and can be easily achieved through both manual and online procedure. With a proper understanding of what is Demat Account and how the transfer of shares takes place, an investor can effectively send the shares to another account either on his own or through the help of a DP.

 

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