Powering the American Dream through Workflow Automation in a Highly Regulated Industry
cfX is on a mission to deliver the very best technology, analysis, and recommendations to manage risk and cash flows for America’s Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs).
In a heavily regulated environment, cfX delivers a range of technology and advisory services to HFAs nationwide, including bond sales and structuring complex transactions, qualitative analysis, risk management, cash flow management, and operating transaction management.
Due to its pivotal role in advising HFAs on complex financial products and transactions, cfX is regulated by both the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).
Regulatory compliance is crucial to the success of cfX’s clientele in managing billions of dollars which directly impacts taxpayers, investors, and hundreds of thousands of families relying on the support of HFAs’ as they build their American Dream.
As an innovator in the housing finance market, cfX needed to streamline and standardize the formulation of recommendations and operations involved in the selling of municipal bond securities.
Bond sales involve multiple dependencies to successfully complete an HFA fund raising program. This includes complying with SEC and MSRB regulations, satisfying the requirements of ratings agencies and ensuring advising clients on bond structure and transaction timing regarding tax implications and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
In managing bond sales, multiple deliverables require the skills of a team of highly experienced specialists, with each team member being responsible for ensuring work is carried out to fixed timescales driven by regulatory compliance and operational requirements of both clients and investors.
A previously purchased solution was used to track and manage this work, however it was not possible to see all of the activity being carried out, nor to prioritize compliance tasks across multiple team members in order to assure meeting compliance standards and deadlines.
In addition, there was a real fear of an advisor providing financial advice which did not meet the exacting standards set by cfX or its outside regulators.
Against a background of accelerating regulatory complexity and change, with increasingly sophisticated state and municipal clients, cfX needed to standardize and streamline their advisory and operational assistance to America’s housing finance agencies.
The Solution:HighGear’s No Code Workflow Application Platform
After reviewing the market, and engaging in further discussions with their regulators, cfX chose to partner with HighGear, a No Code workflow application platform.
“We selected HighGear because it was fully customizable to our needs,” said Ben Madorsky, Chief Compliance Officer, “and we promised the SEC we would implement it as part of our compliance framework, including demonstrating recommendation review, sign-off, and validation.”
cfX fully automated their own crucial workflows on the HighGear platform within six months, allowing them to be continuously refined and modified as their regulators and customers requirements continue to advance, and in a fraction of the time previously taken. “We could and should have automated our workflows much faster,” says Madorsky, “and we should have dedicated more resources to getting HighGear up and running because we would have benefited that much faster.”
While HighGear empowers rapid and continuous improvement in either model, training is available for for self-service clients and professional services for clients that prefer rapid turn-key deployments, in this case cfX decided to self-implement the HighGear platform.
The Results of Automating with HighGear
“We are now able to input all the deliverables and associated tasks with a bond transaction into HighGear,” said Madorsky, “which now manages all of our due dates, including the automatic assignment of team members to tasks as prior steps are completed in the workflow.”
“HighGear allowed us to automate,” says Richard Godfrey, Principal Consultant within the Guidance Services Group, “and this opened the door to regimenting procedures and gaining visibility into work activities.”
“You get what you inspect, not what you expect, “says Madorsky, “and in a heavily regulated environment, we needed a technology platform that allows us to scrutinize work at any stage, while reinforcing compliance behaviors and patterns as work is being carried out.”
Using HighGear, cfX can now quickly demonstrate full compliance with both the SEC and MSRB, including that:
- cfX has established policies and procedures managing the recommendation-making process.
- No information or compliance items can fall through the cracks.
- Quickly demonstrate that cfX has fulfilled its obligations and duties to both clients and regulators.
“We found that about 75% of our work was simply not visible,” says David Breitenbach, Manager of Work Products Group, “but after deploying HighGear we were able to see tasks and deadlines across the entire organization.”
Additional benefits quickly became apparent, with improved collaboration and removing the need for managers to carry multiple due dates in their heads. “HighGear’s communication features allow us to talk to each other,” says Godfrey, “so now we are all able to focus as a team on work priorities and meet our deadlines.”
A strategic shift in how work is carried out has also occurred, “HighGear allows us to focus on improving,” says Breitenbach, “because we no longer carry due dates around in our heads and we can prioritize work across everyone.” This is a view that is echoed by Madorsky, “We are now able to have lower-level staff perform higher-level work, because of HighGear enforcing the compliance standards, which means senior managers have more time to think about how work gets done and to focus on increasing client value.”
“My advice to anyone considering workflow automation is to dedicate resources to getting a platform like HighGear up and running,” said Madorsky, who further added, “HighGear ensures we maintain and build upon our competitive advantage, while remaining compliant throughout, and our customers appreciate knowing that compliance is baked-in as an integrated part of the way cfX delivers services to them.”
cfX is dedicated to serving only HFAs with financial and technology solutions, and has been advising clients for almost 40 years. cfX is a market leader and innovator in the field of information, software and technology solutions to help state housing agencies make sound tactical and strategic decisions based on fact and sound projections.
HighGear is the pioneer of Lean BPM, and delivers a powerful business toolkit which requires no coding or specialist development skills. Processes and workflows can be created and operational within hours, by ordinary business people, including business analysts, team leaders, and stakeholders.