Bank of Bermuda is rolling out a number of modular technology services for its funds administration, trust, custody and asset management and banking services in Asia. Its immediate focus is to provide better service for the region's hedge funds, as the bank's legacy systems can't always meet their needs, says Simon Maclean, head of global fund services business technology in Hong Kong.

"We are creating a global platform that can service the whole range of funds," he says, noting the initiative began in the United States and has spread to Europe and now Asia.

Whereas some of its competitors tend to build proprietary systems to handle everything, Bermuda has opted to establish a network of partnerships with technology specialists in order to create a platform from which it can plug in or remove specific functions, to cater to evolving client needs. Maclean's favourite word seems to be 'flexibility'. "This will make us more nimble," he says. "We can find the best of breed and plug it into our architecture. That means our time to market is much quicker."

And using partnerships also divides the costs of system builds. Maclean declined to comment on the sums this initiative has involved.

As this rollout continues, Bermuda continues to seek technology partners to take its systems to a higher level. The goal is to provide data warehousing and data mining capabilities, and to incorporate not just Bermuda's own information, but that of its joint venture partners, such as its recent move with Singapore's UOB to create AFS, a transfer agent.

"In the future we will combine data elements so that clients can not only look at information about their funds, but also about the investors in their funds," Maclean explains.

Among the new technology for Bermuda's Asian clients is a partnership with US-based software provider Advent, which has a real-time global portfolio accounting and valuation system called Geneva. Bermuda is now making this available to hedge funds in Asia.

The bank has also installed a transfer agent system called NTAS provided by Koger, and a front-office trade management system called GFSTrade supplied by Beauchamp Financial Technology. Also in the front office, Bermuda has broadened its web capability with the launch of GFSOnline, a report delivery function that lets clients download data or archival information online.

Joanne Murphy, associate director of sales and client relationship management for Asia Pacific hedge funds, says the rollout in Asia should help position Bermuda to capture business from the many new players in alternative investments.

She says a major source of new business is coming from investment banks' proprietary trading desks, which are being spun off as hedge funds and need Chinese walls to separate them from the parent. As a result they need independent providers of funds servicing.