Standard Chartered selects BearingPoint's FiTAX as tax reporting solution

05 July 2018 5 min. read

Standard Chartered has selected FiTAX, a solution from BearingPoint, as its global client tax reporting solution for QI, FATCA and AEoI/CRS reporting.

International banking group Standard Chartered, founded in 1969, is with approximately 87,000 employees across offices in more than 60 countries one of the globe’s leading financial services institutions.

In a bid to optimise its regulatory operations, the London Stock Exchange listed group* has decided to implement BearingPoint's FiTAX tax reporting solution to support enhanced client tax reporting to more than 50 tax authorities around the world. The solution enables financial institutions to automate the regulatory reporting processes for QI, EUSD, FATCA, UK FATCA and CRS through a web-client architecture and to report for many countries from a single and centralised platform.

Of the regulations that fall in scope of the agreement with Standard Chartered, two are mainly tied to the US’s endeavours to gain better grip on withholding tax: FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a ruling which requires that foreign financial Institutions and certain other non-financial foreign entities report on the foreign assets held by their US account holders; and QI (Qualified Intermediary), an agreement that requires financial institutions to make periodic compliance certifications to the US Internal Revenue Service. 

BearingPoint’s solution will also be leveraged to comply to CRS (Common Reporting Standard) reporting requirements. Approved by the OECD in 2014, CRS aims at fighting tax avoidance – over 100 countries worldwide have agreed to fulfill the reporting requirements – and calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.

Standard Chartered selects BearingPoint's FiTAX as tax reporting solutionCommenting on why the bank chose BearingPoint’s FiTAX software above the dozens of other solutions in the crowded RegTech space, Tom Pryce, Head of Client Tax Information Reporting at Standard Chartered said: “BearingPoint’s coverage and accuracy were key differentiators in our decision to select FiTAX. Attention to detail on the technical reporting requirements, combined with business and implementation expertise, has enabled a smooth integration of FiTAX into our systems and processes thus far.” 

Standard Chartered joins a growing number of clients which now use BearingPoint's FiTAX tax reporting solution to comply with tax regulations. The roster contains over 75 groups, with 2,500+ financial institutions that fall under their direction using FiTAX’s platform for reporting. A feat which Ronald Frey, a Partner at BearingPoint in Switzerland, said is gratifying. “It is a further milestone on the roadmap of FiTAX and underpins its market leading position in the tax reporting domain. We are looking forward to being a valuable integration partner to Standard Chartered Bank such that they can maximise the benefits from our solution.”

Asked about what he believes is the key behind FiTAX’s growing stature in the tax reporting market, Frey said “FiTAX has proven to be one of the most efficient and flexible solutions in the market.” He further highlights that the solution was first launched in 2001, meaning the firm has a head start in terms of experience, while being able to tap into the deep regulatory expertise housed in BearingPoint’s management consulting arm. 

Banks seeking to curb compliance costs

Against a backdrop of growing regulatory pressure, both from countries as well as international organs, banks are turning to technology to improve the way they deal with reporting requirements. According to one estimate, banks today face over 200 regulatory changes a day, up from around 50 a decade ago, which comes on top of a piling up list of regulations. The burden comes with costs, and at times with unsatisfied clients on the back of cumbersome processes, and as a result innovative RegTech solutions are being embraced to streamline operations between compliance, reporting and customer management.

Given the complexities of a multi-jurisdiction implementation and managed services, BearingPoint will for the engagement support Standard Chartered from several of its offices. The firm’s London office will serve Standard Chartered in the UK and Western Europe, while the firm’s Singapore office will lead the activities in Asia, where Standard Chartered boasts a strong presence thanks to a longstanding heritage in the region. “With our office in Singapore, we are close to our colleagues from Standard Chartered and can support them directly with our technical and business expertise,” explained Dirk Jaensch, Partner at BearingPoint in Singapore.

FiTAX is part of BearingPoint’s Solutions arm, one of the firm’s three business unit alongside Consulting and Ventures. Together the three business units generated record revenues of €710 million last year, up 12% on to the previous year. 

* Standard Chartered is also listed on the Hong Kong stock exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.