Multrees looks to Digital Keystone’s Adaptive Portal to provide highly secure online client servicing offering

Adaptive Portal also provides a development licence to enable Multrees to help its clients realise their own digital services strategies


Multrees Investor Services (Multrees) has a team of 64, based in Edinburgh and London. It is a leading provider of investor services for wealth managers and private family offices, together supporting ultra-high net worth individuals. Multrees holds assets under administration in excess of £9bn. Services provided include global custody, investment administration, consolidated reporting and state-of-the-art technology services.


Multrees wanted to improve the security, flexibility, usability and sophistication of the online services it offered its clients. Multrees needed to bring six existing, but disparate, online service offerings together into one modern flexible and yet highly secure portal.

These services included Custody & Portfolio Accounting, Capital Gains Tax Modelling, Portfolio Modelling & Management, Order Management, Business Intelligence tools and Customer Enquiry systems. Up to that point, each had required a separate website as well as a unique username and password. Access was cumbersome, the tools’ ‘look and feel’ required modernisation and were not intuitive enough.

The result was that clients were proving slow to adopt the new online services. In addition, Multrees was having to cope with a large volume of help desk enquiries as clients wrestled with a range of legacy user interfaces.

Multrees wanted to offer its clients the facility to create their own branded portal offerings, which it planned to develop for them. The idea was to become a one-stop-shop for the development of online servicing platforms for Multrees clients’ customers, so that they could investigate their portfolio summaries, run and view reports and connect with their advisers online.

Multrees Compass investment services portal built using Adaptive Portal

In Phase One of this project, Digital Keystone consolidated and integrated all six Multrees online service offerings into a single enhanced online portal, now called Multrees Compass.

Multrees Compass provided a single access point for all Multrees investor services tools including customer valuations, statutory reports for tax purposes, and other client administration and management information interfaces. Security was enhanced by integrating Multrees’ Microsoft Active Directory into Multrees Compass to ensure users could only gain access, via Single Sign On, to the data that they have specific permission to access.

Multrees Compass also provides the platform for delivery of an increasing array of statutory documentation that is required by the regulator and HMRC.

Yvonne Clough, Head of Risk at Multrees, explains:
“We are now in a position where we can meet and exceed regulatory requirements in terms of the information we pass onto clients via Compass. The FCA demands that we provide quarterly reporting and an annual custody statement. However, the information we provide via Compass goes well beyond that, while still following rules on not advising or selling. This is just about delivering up-to-date, accurate information in a highly secure, easily digestible format, direct to their device of choice whenever they need it.”

Compass now provides a portfolio modelling and order management tool using a third party application. Multrees’ Technology Services team has recently integrated its legacy back office custody administration system into Compass via a client insulation layer. This system does all the custody settlements as well as corporate actions, performing a host of administrative processing tasks which end-customers do not need access to.

Jaco Cebula, CTO at Multrees explains the value of this layered approach:
“The idea is to provide a single look and feel to a wider range of back office administration functions like this one. With the use of this new insulation layer, we can upgrade and improve back office systems in the background, without disturbing our clients’ experience of the front-end tools sitting within Compass. This layered IT architecture approach is great for ensuring continuity of service for our clients and, by extension, their customers.”

Following a successful go live of Compass, Multrees was pleased to see that client adoption was rapid. This first phase went live in under four months.

Jaco Cebula again:
“Compass enabled clients to self-serve, cutting overheads and simultaneously reducing operational risk because we are no longer regularly part of the investment paper trail as they complete many transactions via the portal themselves.”

Adaptive Portal provides platform for modernisation

Multrees Compass offers the investment services provider several very significant operational advantages. Firstly, it reduces the amount of time and resources they need to spend servicing their customers by phone, email, fax and post. Much of the paperwork that might be needed by an adviser preparing for a customer review meeting, for example, is now ready to download via the portal at the click of a mouse.

Jaco Cebula:
“We are spending a lot less time assembling paperwork and running consolidated reports for our clients now. This frees us up to offer them value-added services and help them meet their own digital services requirements. If we can help them to support their customers better so they can engender better customer engagement, building their asset base accordingly. This helps us gain and retain their loyalty – giving us a sound platform for further growth. Quite simply, Adaptive Portal provides us with the technology framework to achieve all this.”

Adaptive Portal provides a library of apps and templates for developing clients’ own customer portals

Once this work was completed and rolled out, and following positive reaction to Compass across the board, Multrees decided to move ahead with the next phase of the project - to offer its clients the facility to extend online access to customer-specific data via clients’ own-branded portals. Adaptive Portal provided the underlying technology platform that made it possible for Multrees to cost-effectively build these fully-branded customer portals.

Jaco Cebula explained:
“We recognise that wealth management firms generally are struggling to offer modern online services to their customers. Ideally, they want to provide the sorts of online customer experience that Direct to Consumer platforms already offer. What the Adaptive Portal framework gave us is the facility to build white-labelled online portals for clients to meet their specific needs.”

Again, Adaptive Portal was well-placed to assist Multrees, because it already has a significant library of pre-built, componentised applications geared to the investment world.

Jaco Cebula added:
“Adaptive Portal has developed something akin to an App Store. We can use this to build apps that perform specific activities for our clients’ customer portals, which we are now offering to build for them. For example, we recently rolled out Adaptive Portal’s ‘FX order’ app for clients wanting to offer foreign exchange trading capability. Multrees has already deployed some 20 apps using the Adaptive Portal templates.

“Because we have a development license for Adaptive Portal, we are able to simply select the template and download its associated open API with full documentation. Once opened in Microsoft Studio, this interface can be used to fine-tune the app and rebrand it to meet the clients’ needs. It’s actually become fun to develop and fine-tune new apps. Completing apps takes days now, previously it would have taken weeks or even months.”

When Multrees started offering apps for its clients, one of the first requests that came back was for an extra layer of login security to be added to meet their customers’ expectation. Therefore, in order to see their data online they should enter their own user name and password. Digital Keystone added this extra layer of authentication into the Adaptive Portal framework. This was in addition to the Active Directory-controlled access privilege setting integration that was built into Compass from the beginning.

Multrees Technical Services team is now able to build customer portals for its clients rapidly using the Adaptive Portal app library as the starting point. For example, the ready-made Business Card app containing all adviser contact details has been built to stimulate Multrees clients’ customers to make contact with their assigned adviser. Other clients are also requesting an app that offers an attractive portfolio view broken down by asset type. Also popular are the Total Value app, the Tax Reporting download app, financial news content, social media feeds app and many others. They are all built using Adaptive Portal’s dashboard of app templates as the starting point.

This means it’s now possible for wealth managers to build a fairly sophisticated and heavily-branded online portal that helps them promote their brand, engage their customers – and stimulate increased investment.

Jaco Cebula notes the positive reaction Multrees is getting to its new client portal build offering:
“We are getting great feedback from this work. We are at the final stages of tweaking the branding for one wealth manager’s customer portal right now, prior to going live in the next few weeks. Our reasonable pricing structure, based on very low basis point percentage of assets under management, is meeting a definite need in the wealth management space right now.”

Dunstan Thomas and Digital Keystone

The key benefits of Dunstan Thomas’ support for Novia Business Support Analyst, Richard Townsend, were that it meant that the Novia team responsible for ensuring RDR Readiness could focus on rolling out market-leading illustrations which conform to with both the spirit and the letter of the regulators’ requirements:

“Because Dunstan Thomas was able to give us such clarity on the fine-detail changes that needed to be implemented ahead of RDR, we were able to focus on making our own refinements to support full unbundling of charges down to our own asset-sector specific charges in performance projections.”

Partnership Success

Chris Read, Chief Executive, Dunstan Thomas Group which acquired Digital Keystone during 2015, summarises:
“Digital Keystone’s Adaptive Portal is the right solution for Multrees on a number of levels. It has helped this leading investment services provider to build a modern, highly functional, flexible and yet secure client portal in Compass.

“More than this, Adaptive Portal’s easy-to-use App template library has enabled Multrees to develop branded customer-facing portals for its wealth manager clients.

“As the wealth management space becomes more competitive, and pricing pressure and regulatory burdens increase, it becomes imperative that advisory firms are able to share relevant intelligence and personal portfolio performance data with their customers, presenting it in an attractive, highly usable and secure manner. Adaptive Portal is an ideal platform for all financial services operations looking to enable self-service and stimulate customer engagement.”

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