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New CEO at helm of SAI Global

AB+F article March 2014
Former Aussie Home Loans head, Stephen Porges*, has taken up the mantle of SAI Global CEO at what are exciting times for the organisation’s property business, SAI Global Property.
Not only has the property business assumed the lead as Australia’s premier provider of property settlement services to the banking sector but it is also playing a pivotal role in Australia’s transition to an electronic settlements environment.
Since its relaunch in January 2011 SAI Global Property, has doubled its mortgage processing business - from just 250,000 settlements per year to an anticipated 560,000 this financial year – effectively providing it with an impressive 55 per cent share of the banking settlement market.
SAI Global Property enjoyed a 20.5% EBITDA growth for FY12/13.  The recently announced first half FY13/14 results show an impressive 53% EBITDA increase on the equivalent period in FY13.
The company’s meteoric settlements growth is largely attributable to a major overhaul of the company’s backroom operations and to the transformation and rebuilding of the overall business, led by incumbent SAI Global Property Executive General Manager, Peter Mullins.
This included the implementation of a state-of-the art IT system, a disaster recovery program, business continuity plans and governance mechanisms in order to meet APRA standards. It also involved improving overall efficiencies by providing greater operational consistency across all states and streamlining settlement and search platforms and services.
Improving the productivity of the company’s settlement rooms and mapping and defining business processes, paying particular attention to customer ‘touch points’, then building metrics around those processes and introducing quality management systems to track defects and take remedial actions where necessary and this attention to detail paid off. Within its first year of operating under the SAI Global Property banner, the company’ settlement operations achieved ISO 9001 accreditation.
The net result of these improvements has been a dramatic reduction in failed settlements. For every 5,000 settlements, only one fails as a direct result of an SAI Global Property error!
According to Mr Porges, it is the lessons SAI Global Property learned and the knowledge it has acquired while overhauling its manual settlements processes that have now been applied in the development of its online settlement solution. Embarked on in 2011, this is scheduled for completion late next month.
“For us, the most important lesson was that great processes prior to settlement are crucial to a successful settlement outcome. This applies equally in an electronic environment ,,” says Mr Porges.
Closely aligned with the company’s existing manual settlements infrastructure, the online solution comprises:
·        Settlement Manager – a bank matter management and online ordering tool which has been significantly upgraded and is currently being rolled out to banks across the country. BankWest and CBA have been the first to implement the new software.
·        Conveyancing Manager - an end to end conveyancing matter management workflow tool for conveyancers. This tool is being upgraded to interface with Settlement Room and will provide conveyancers with access to the bank information to complete settlements.
·        Search Manager - the largest online shop for property searches across Australia.
·        Conveyancing Directory – an online data base of conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors accessible by the banks, enabling ‘ready for settlement notifications’ to be sent electronically..
·        Settlement Room - a major upgrade of the existing Self-Service Booking (SSB) service, it will provide all parties in a settlement (outgoing and incoming mortgagees and buyer and seller representative conveyancers) with a virtual meeting or “transaction” workspace where they can gather online to share, compare and agree on information prior to actual settlement. Set to go live next month, the software will also provide users with direct access PEXA.
The net result has been the development of an end-to-end electronic settlement solution.
Says Mr Porges:  “We’re not simply providing our customers (conveyancers and banks) with a small segment of the electronic property settlement solution. We’re providing them with all the necessary software and systems to complete a settlement online - the ability to manage conveyancing due diligence activities, purchase property certificates, track and monitor the progress of matters, meet online with banks and other parties prior to settlement and get direct access to the PEXA platform.
“As a result of significant investment in technology we are providing our customers with efficiencies, time and costs savings and supporting this with the best service in the industry.
“Basically, they don’t need not look elsewhere for other parts to the settlement process – we’re giving them all they need now and setting them up for the future. What this effectively does is integrate all the participants in a property transaction process allowing them to  efficiently interact to ensure the process is as smooth as possible from all perspectives. A classic win for all participants- particularly the customer! ”
SAI Global Property has also aligned its software and services launches around the delivery stages of PEXA while at the same time accommodating the differing technological capabilities of its clients.
This has resulted in it being invited to partner with National E-Conveyancing Development Ltd (NECDL) in the roll-out of its Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) platform nationally.
*Mr Porges’ appointment follows the earlier announcement of Mr Tony Scotton’s retirement. Prior to this five stint as CEO of Aussie Home Loans from 2008, Mr Porges was CEO at Newcastle Permanent Building Society. He also has significant domestic and international expertise across a broad range of sectors and geographies. These include banking and finance, biotechnology, technology, agriculture and marketing. He has worked in Asia, Europe and the United States. This brings to SAI a unique experience and understanding of a wide range of industries and geographies “.

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