Helping the Finance Industry Scale up, One Process at a Time

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Interview with Bert Boerman, Co-Founder & Director of Strategic Growth at Governance.com by Johann Herz, Head of Communication and Events at LPEA as published in Insight Out #28.

In this interview, Bert Boerman presents Governance.com, a mature fintech company helping financial institutions scale up their operations through automation. Bert shares the company’s story, from its early teething period into its teenage years. He also offers insights into how the private equity fundraising ecosystem can help the “technology-finance-private equity” trio successfully navigate its adolescence.


Hi Bert, what is Governance.com, and how does this company support the finance industry?

Governance.com is the digital (process automation) solution for financial institutions to scale up their operations efficiently while maintaining regulatory compliance. Our clients, including some of the largest institutions, such as TMF Group, BNP Paribas, and Apex Group, make huge capacity savings by automating the processes they execute to fulfil regulatory requirements, like investor onboarding, Anti-Money Laundering checks, and other data governance processes.

For example, we illustrate how a fund depositary can achieve 40% capacity savings by automating its regulatory processes in our recently published white paper, Breaking Down the Barriers to Fund Depositary Digitalisation.

You celebrated Governance.com’s ten years of innovation this year. Can you share some of your story and how you shifted from “start-up” to “scale-up”?

Thank you. It’s been quite a journey. We started with just an idea and a basic technology solution that I had designed and built with my twin brother, a tech expert and enthusiast, to help me head up compliance in my day job for a depository bank. Our solution went through countless iterations before we could bring it to the market. Fast forward ten years, and we’ve recently launched Version 12 of our application and low-code platform, Governance.com.

However, the road was challenging. After winning our first batch of clients, one of the most challenging aspects was managing the rapid influx of additional client projects that followed. We’ve experienced double- to triple-digit growth over the last four years. Fortunately, we’ve managed to come this far by investing in our team, scaling up resources, refining our processes, and establishing effective structures.

What, in your opinion, does the fundraising ecosystem need to do to support the development of the PE tech provider/user/investor trio, in order to navigate its adolescence?

The finance industry knows by now that it needs to “go digital” to offer a more streamlined and cost-effective service. However, most of the industry is stuck at the “how to digitally transform” phase, rather than taking concrete action. This tech provider/user/investor trio must collaborate a lot more to embrace digital transformation and help one another develop and thrive in the new digital era.

The financial technology industry, or “fintech,” has matured over the past decade. Although we’ve faced challenges along the way, we’ve also learned how to attract and successfully implement projects for our clients. Now the focus is on scaling up and working closely with clients to help them roll out their digital transformation projects globally. The partnership between ‘fin’ and ‘tech’ is crucial to taking digital transformation to new heights. In our experience, developing and nurturing a positive partnership incorporates everything from sharing the same project end vision and goals, to using the same (technical) language and understanding and appreciating one another’s working cultures. The tech part of the trio also needs to appreciate and not underestimate how hard it is for financial institutions to change. It’s worth keeping in mind that, in the end, this challenge for the fintech users can result in needing more capital than initially expected as the fintech provider.

Policymakers also have a significant role to play. In Luxembourg, we’ve seen considerable attention given to the startup scene, which is essential. However, there should also be a focus on scale-ups. Tax incentives can attract investment in both startups and scale-ups. Recognising the importance of nurturing job-creating scale-ups, not just buzz-generating startups, is vital. Both are essential, but if we don’t support scale-ups as they grow, we won’t have a thriving ecosystem in the long run. If you don’t keep finding ways to feed the kids as they get older, you won’t end up with a lot of adults.

Finally, for PE to successfully help the fintech ecosystem grow, it’s important to invest in tried and tested solutions, rather than in abstract hype. PE can recognise that you can benefit from numerous fintech solutions currently available in the market. Shift the “try before you buy” concept to a “try before you invest” approach. One way to do this is to pay for a proof of concept that can help you operationally while supporting your investment case.

Recently published white paper: “Breaking Down the Barriers to Fund Depositary Digitalisation