MLC's MasterKey speeds investor data, transactions

MLC expects 30 per cent of its 500,000 retail customers to request passwords for its newly launched 'MasterKey' e-commerce service over the next few years.

The multimillion-dollar MasterKey initiative, which went live this week, is based on a re-engineered Web site offering transactional abilityand real-time information on customers' investments integrated into a single portfolio view.

MLC investors can use the MasterKey Web site to fill out forms online to change their portfolio or to request further information.

Meanwhile, MLC's network of financial advisers can use the new Web site to access information about their clients' portfolios, research materials, and other tools to help them service clients.

Additional functionality will be added to the Web site in September 1999, including a "consolidated reporting service whereby [customers] can keep track of all of their investments, not just their investments with [MLC]," said Michelle Tredenick, CIO, MLC.

This means that customers will be able to key in information on all their non-MLC investments, to gain an overview of their financial position, she said.

MasterKey has involved a significant overhaul of MLC's back-office systems.

"What we've done is create a system that sits around [MLC's] legacy systems, which extracts and presents all our customer information.

"It's a quasi data warehouse which basically drives all our customer information and transaction information that we then serve up to the Web."

Rigorous security systems have also been put in place, Tredenick said.

And new imaging and workflow technology has been implemented in MLC's call centre to provide customer service staff with a single view of each investor's portfolio across varied mainframe systems.

MLC called on a number of service providers to assist with MasterKey; Sapient provided Web site development services; IBM Global Services Australia worked on systems development; PMSC provided improved customer reporting capability; And Advantra is hosting MLC's Web servers.

Tredenick said it was MLC's preference to partner with a number of service providers on the project: "It's really horses for courses," she said.

According to Tredenick, MasterKey "has really been the key strategic initiative for MLC for this financial year".

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