Specialist IT providers see clear growth potential

Industry players in Luxembourg are sharpening their need for outsourced IT solutions as they scale up their operations driven by regulatory demand and growth in the jurisdiction.

“Private equity, custody and fund administration firms in Luxembourg used to have relatively small offices, with few people and are therefore not used to having any local IT service. Historically, firms have been trying to manage this function out of their US, UK or Germany headquarters,” explains George Ralph pictured), managing director, RFA.

The need for economic substance in Luxembourg has led to more people moving there. As client teams grow in the region, so does their need for proper IT support. “A lot of the work we’re doing involves coming into these firms and offering them high touch support servicing. This kind of IT service just doesn’t exist in Luxembourg yet,” Ralph notes.

The ability for Luxembourg players to work with a specialist IT firm in the financial sector, rather than just going to a generic provider, is a relatively new development for the Grand  Duchy.

“Another new development for Luxembourg firms is having someone who can really hand hold and manage their technology like a chief technology officer would,” states Ralph. “I don’t think anyone but us offers that there. Technology companies in Luxembourg tend to be quite hands off whereas we are the opposite. That’s a huge benefit to clients from a service level point of view.”

According to Ralph, the opportunity for growth in Luxembourg is huge. As more people gravitate to the jurisdiction and substance rules mean companies need to increase their headcount in the region, the potential for business is on the rise.

Fund administration firms also represent another burgeoning client channel for RFA as the IT needs in this sector grow. These service providers currently account for 10 per cent of the RFA client base and Ralph expects this to increase. 

He elaborates: “As we grow as a business and more integration develops in the work we do, we’re becoming a lot more appealing to the service providers. Especially attractive are the cloud services we offer because traditionally, their in house IT teams won’t have the skills sets to do this internally.”

Ralph explains that two of RFA’s seven global data centres are now in Luxembourg: “We built a private cloud in Luxembourg, so the firms which need to keep their data within the country now have the option to use this, rather than having servers in their office.”

The private cloud includes all the frameworks firms need, including intrusion prevention, technology maintenance, replication to a second site back-up– all that kind of stuff. Plugging into this infrastructure model means firms do not need to maintain their own servers in terms of updates and backups. 

“It turns into a reduced risk exercise because they’re plugging into an institutional framework and allowing us to manage it,” remarks Ralph when discussing the benefits of using a private cloud such as this.

Another element, which adds to RFA’s competitive edge is its cross-jurisdiction knowledge, with Ralph concluding: “We understand the differences between the FCA, SEC and the CSSF regulations, so we can give a bit of advice around compliance to firms who have a number of offices worldwide.”

George Ralph

Managing Director, RFA

George Ralph CITP, has successfully founded three technology firms along with C-level advisory services include M&A to numerous firms. George is a true leader and has been managing teams internationally, and leading technology transformation projects for over 20 years. A certified GDPR, Cyber assessor, Auditor, Architect and widely experienced cybersecurity and RegTech professional, George has extensive technical experience in network and server architecture, large scale migrations utilising leading technology brands, and IaaS offerings.

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