by Zabeen Moser-Mawji
Orbium’s Zabeen Moser-Mawji explains how the Swiss wealth management, technology and business consultancy caught Accenture’s eye and says clients could expect the same high levels of service with access to new areas of expertise.
January marked more than the start of a new year for Swiss wealth management, technology and business consultancy Orbium; it saw the beginning of a whole new chapter as the 15-year-old company was acquired by the leading global professional services company Accenture.
Looking back on it, Zabeen Moser–Mawji, managing director at Orbium, believes it was her company’s focus on wealth management that allowed it to differentiate itself and develop exceptionally deep and valuable expertise.
“From the beginning, we always focused on wealth management. We knew the business and realised that, for us, it was an area to specialise in. There was an obvious need and we understood the differences in various cultures and how you successfully deliver projects in different contexts around the world,” she explains.
This specialist know-how allows Orbium to provide not just technical expertise but practical advice as part of its consultancy. “I think we bring to the game pragmatic knowledge of how to get projects done and understand the business processes from front to back in wealth management. We understand the full value chain of our clients from the initial prospecting and onboarding of clients all the way to the back-office servicing of clients. There are very few companies, I think, that have that level of end-to-end knowledge in our particular sector,” Moser–Mawji says.
She also attributes Orbium’s success to having the right culture and investing in the right things. “From the outset, I worked internally to help build up the methodology to coach and train people. We had a lot of internal courses because we really believed that our consultants needed to know the business we were in, as well as the technology,” she explains.
This combined focus meant Orbium was able to develop strong teams, efficient methodologies and effective accelerators so that it could attract and retain clients of different sizes–both pure play wealth managers and wealth management units within large global groups.
“For a small firm we have quite a large footprint of Tier 1 wealth managers,” says Moser–Mawji. “We have worked with probably four out of five of the top wealth managers in the world already, with a focus on the European and Asian territories.”
Such success was noted by Accenture and explains the motivation for the acquisition, says Dirk Scholten, Accenture’s global integration lead for Orbium.
“Orbium is the leader when it comes to Avaloq implementation thanks to its unique combination of management consultancy, technology and program management resources and capabilities. It’s these attributes that will enable us now to accelerate and scale our services to the wealth management industry globally – bringing efficiency and enhanced customer experience to the next generation of wealth managers and their clients,” he says.
As Orbium has grown over the years, so have the demands and complexity of projects. This has thrown up challenges for a company of Orbium’s size – even with 500 people globally. “We were not always able to scale up to the type of work that had to be done,” says Moser-Mawji. That is where Accenture came in.
The global professional services company Accenture is known for driving innovation for its clients, particularly at the front end – in digital, for instance. But expertise alone wasn’t enough. Moser–Mawji wanted to ensure that any expansion through this transaction would not be a clash of cultures, and also that Orbium’s existing clients would benefit.
“We quickly realised we had a home in Accenture’s culture of cultures, our company cultures would work well together. We also appreciated that there were a lot of complementary services that Orbium had not previously been able to provide because of its size. But Accenture already had these services and so it became a very easy fit for us to extend these to our client base,” she explains.
Moser–Mawji is keen to reassure Orbium’s clients that levels of service will not change when it comes to delivery and quality. In fact, the company’s offerings will be strengthened as the acquisition supports a unit that can deliver wealth management consultancy with all the depth and focus of Orbium, combined with the breadth of expertise of Accenture.
“We are going to be able to go end-to-end. We’re going to be able to provide additional resources in areas like cybersecurity, for example, or in digital. In a lot of the transformation journeys, Accenture is known for its innovation at the front end – and now all of that knowledge will be available to our clients,” she says.
“I think one thing we will be very clear on is that Orbium’s true roots – those of delivery and quality – will continue. That’s what we’re known for. I think that’s exactly the type of expertise Accenture is wanting to integrate,” she concludes.