International Financial Data Services, Toronto, Canada

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Company: International Financial Data Services, Toronto, Canada
Company Description: IFDS Canada creates the technology and service solutions the financial industry is built on. For over 30 years, tier one investment firms, insurance companies and deposit takers have relied on our proven record- keeping solution, comprehensive back office services, innovative workflow and insightful reporting tools to support growth, reduce risk, leverage technology and enhance efficiency
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Tech Innovation of the Year - At Organizations With Up to 1,000 Employees

Nomination Title: International Financial Data Services (IFDS) Document Finger Printing

1. Tell the story about this nominated achievement since January 1 2013 (up to 525 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

IFDS Document Finger Printing refers to innovatively combining optical character recognition (OCR) technology document recognition and pixel analysis to the processing of mutual funds standard business documents. This patent pending technology is easy to use with an intuitive interface. There are a wide variety of mutual fund business documents, including typed letters, forms distributed by the mutual fund company, statements returned with handwritten comments and/or brokerage firm account transfer and application forms. In addition, the large collection of mutual fund forms might change over time for various reasons.

Traditionally, IFDS transfer agency processing team would visually inspect these business documents. Once inspected, documents were classified and sent to the appropriate process flow. This manual process was time consuming, expensive and most importantly prone to misclassification due to human error. This resulted in potential financial loss and bad customer service. With IFDS Document Finger Printing, any business documents received are systematically classified based on its “document finger print” (pixel thumbnail) and combined with OCR recognition of key phrases. Pixel analysis involves using an algorithm IFDS developed to match the document’s pixel thumbnail to sample documents previously uploaded and stored in the system.

IFDS Document Finger Printing classification accuracy improves overtime as more documents are inputted into the system. In pilot testing, we realized an efficiency gain of 40% and classified accuracy of 100%. Our industry is document intensive and IFDS Document Fingerprinting has revolutionized business document classification. We are working towards eliminating the need for visual identification of forms and documents.

Ways IFDS Document Finger Printing enhance process or component of mutual fund industry include:

1. Efficient use of time - Our industry sets standards for the maximum allowed time before different types of business transactions must be processed, e.g. redemption of shares has a short turnaround time due to changes in the share price where a change of address has a longer acceptable time period for completion. Document finger printing detects and routes the work without waiting for a trained human based resource.

2. Cost-effective technology- Existing digital mailroom technology in optical character recognition (OCR) is expensive to maintain. It requires expensive hardware resources and takes time to arrive at the classification answer. In addition, our industry has a high variety of mail types; this lack of consistency has previously prohibited the use of off the shelf mail OCR automation packages.

3. Risk Reduction - Prior to the development of document finger printing, all scanned and faxed business documents were manually inspected to determine work order priority and work complexity. Administration in our industry requires numerous forms with iterations by manufacturer and distributers. Document finger printing removes the requirements for training Associates to recognize infrequently received forms and avoids misclassification of work.

4. Flexibility - Unlike existing digital solutions in the market place, IFDS Document Finger Printing has a high capacity for learning. Our technology uniquely adapts to changing forms and supports quick adoption of new business documents.

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Provide a brief (up to 125 words) biography about the leader of this nominated organization:

Katherine MacMillan has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of International Financial Data Services (Canada) Ltd since February 2014. Prior to joining IFDS, Katherine spent over 15 years at Manulife Financial, holding various leadership roles in Client Services, Marketing and Operations. In her last role, Katherine served as Executive Vice President, leading international teams across Canada, the US and Philippines with full accountability for strategy and continued growth retirement plan services business.

Katherine holds a Bachelor of Arts and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program from Queen’s University. Katherine also serves on the Board of Directors of FundSERV Inc and IFDS.