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Suzanne McLaughlin
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Riggs Bank NA, has chosen Midas-Kapiti International’s (MKI) Midas Private Banking solution to support its recently established Private Banking operations in London and the Channel Islands. The bank's new U.K. offices, which are part of the Riggs' European network, are intended to complement its operations in Washington D.C. and Miami by providing specialised banking services for high net-worth individuals. The Private Banking operations of Riggs have adopted the trading name Riggs & Co. - International Private Banking.

Riggs Bank NA, which has its headquarters in Washington D.C., is often referred to as the 'President's Bank', through its long tradition of providing banking services to successive U.S. Presidents and the diplomatic community in America’s capital city. The bank has maintained an international branch in London for more than 10 years, focusing primarily on commercial banking and treasury services.

To support the operations of its new private banking entity, Riggs Bank embarked on the search for a specialised system and spent five months between November 1999 and April 2000 reviewing a number of product offerings, including Temenos’ Globus and IBIS. Following detailed evaluations, the bank selected MKI’s Midas Private Banking package.

Wadih Hanna, Managing Director of Riggs International Private Bank, comments, "One of the key factors which influenced our choice was that the Midas Private Banking solution is functionally rich and incorporates the majority of components we require within a single integrated system, together with Meridian Middleware, a proven integration tool."

"In establishing our Private Banking operations in the UK, we effectively started with a number of senior personnel, experienced in private banking and a blank sheet of paper," he continues. "Our objective was to rewrite the way private banking services are delivered to high net-worth individuals, combined with a high degree of straight-through-processing and a minimum of human resource devoted to back-office processing. Our aim was to automate processes wherever possible and offer an exceptional level of service based on the latest technology, in order to reduce costs."

MKI’s Private Banking package, which was installed and operational in just five months, now sits at the heart of Riggs’ overall Private Banking solution, with links to the bank’s Customer Relationship Management system and General Ledger built in record time using Meridian Middleware. The bank has also built additional interfaces to provide automatic links to brokerages, custodians and payment services.

Riggs' Private Banking solution incorporates specialised functionality to handle relationship and portfolio management, order routing and workflow management plus transaction processing, accounting and settlement. In addition, Midas includes applications for processing a wide range of derivatives, as well as Foreign Exchange/Money Market, Securities Trading and Customer Lending transactions. Other components of the system are its integral Risk Management function, which is designed for effective monitoring and management of exposure to risk, the Cashier System branch automation platform, and Trade Innovation, MKI's international trade finance package.

During the system selection process, another of the bank's stipulations was that its private banking solution could be outsourced, to further reduce operational costs, yet still provide continuous support. This has been achieved using MKI's new Facilities Management service in partnership with Syan, suppliers of outsourcing services to Riggs Bank Europe Limited for the past five years. MKI worked closely with the bank to design, procure, deliver, implement and test the system architecture, to ensure that the system was both secure and reliable.

In addition to offering user access via Citrix-based 'thin client' technology, protected by secure user I.D. and firewalls, Midas Private Banking provides clustered application and database servers, all managed remotely using Lotus Tivoli. Midas resides on an IBM AS/400 processor, linked via a managed network to NT-based servers running application software.