A spotlight on our clients & our people

Thema Salandy

Senior Manager, Company Matters (UK)

“Link Group provides an inclusive environment that empowers employees to thrive. I particularly enjoy being part of a strong, collaborative and diverse team. We are continuously challenged to take on new opportunities whilst being supported to achieve and redefine our career goals.”

Thema joined Link Group in 2012 as a graduate trainee and has progressed through the business, becoming a Senior Manager in 2018. During this time, Thema worked towards a qualification as a Chartered Company Secretary, and recently began further study by undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Law. The flexibility offered by Link Group allows Thema to balance her career while also working towards a post graduate legal qualification.

As a senior member of the Company Matters team in the UK, Thema has until recently worked on in-house projects for Link Group, involved in the many corporate transactions undertaken as a business following a strong growth trajectory.

Always ready for a challenge whether in her studies or work, Thema has spent two secondments working overseas in Poland and then in Hungary where she managed a large team delivering UK company secretarial services.

1ST fully Virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Long-standing Link Group client, Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (Amatil) recently hosted their 116th and first fully virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) using Link Group proprietary virtual meeting technology.

The Amatil AGM was the largest virtual meeting in Australasia this meeting season with 828 attendees joining from around the world and participating online.

Amatil who have historically hosted their AGM as a physical meeting, found themselves in the same position as a lot of other companies this year, in need of an alternative solution when it came time to plan their AGM. With the ever-changing implications of COVID-19, Amatil opted to host their AGM as a fully virtual meeting for the first time to meet their 2020 obligations.

The virtual AGM was held in Amatil’s Head Office in North Sydney, with Sydney-based board members in attendance, observing social distancing measures. Overseas board members were able to take part in the meeting from Japan and India, which added an extra layer of complexity to the planning process. After planned rehearsals, all board members were able to participate in the meeting either via video link or teleconference.

Shareholders were provided with registration instructions via an online guide and FAQ’s were posted on the ASX and Amatil’s website prior to the meeting, to ensure a smooth event. Shareholders, proxy holders, auditors and directors were all able to securely connect, vote on resolutions and ask questions during the meeting. This particular AGM had both phone and online question capability ensuring that no shareholder was disenfranchised. Eight questions were received from online attendees who were able to type their questions in real-time, moderated by a representative from Amatil. The entire meeting was supported by Link Group’s events team which included dedicated meeting experts, onsite technicians and a bridge operator, to ensure the AGM was secure and of the highest quality.

Amatil’s attendees increased fivefold compared to the previous year, with 828 attendees joining the meeting, including 568 international employees. There were 49 voting shareholders which was consistent with previous years.

Amatil commented: “The transition from physical AGM to fully virtual was a success in unique and challenging circumstances. The team at Link Group were on-hand from start to finish to ensure everything ran smoothly.”

With the benefits of holding a virtual meeting including greater shareholder engagement and accessibility plus reduced operational costs for venues, catering and travel, companies can be assured that while there may be uncertainty around the adoption of a new technology in an equally uncertain time, Link Group’s experienced events team can be counted on to offer support and guidance.

Cristiano Porrati

Head of Legal, Risk and Compliance (Italy)

“You can really contribute your ideas at Link Group. All voices are heard and most of all listened to, which is not always common in other organisations. Link Group in Italy is a clear example of how the impact of a small but enthusiastic team can be felt within the wider group.”

Cristiano joined Link Group in May 2018, as Head of Legal, Risk and Compliance. Cristiano has spent most of his career in the Italian insurance market within a variety of roles such as Legal Director, Compliance Officer and Risk Manager.

An attorney since 2002, Cristiano’s mission is to establish a robust legal, risk management and compliance framework for Link Group’s presence in Italy. He enjoys putting his experience to work at Link Group to enable sustainable growth of the recently established business in Italy.

His firm belief is that legal and control functions play an important role in the sustainable growth of any company, and close collaboration with other parts of the business is a key driver to achieve common goals. Cristiano values the sense of collaboration and team work at Link Group, both within his own team as well as within the broader, global group.

“We were looking for a provider that could offer us a seamless and flexible service, advanced technology and speed of implementation. Link Group received a positive reference from our investor and based on our own experience, we knew we could trust them to partner with us and to contribute to our success.”

Paul Wessels
Managing Director, Tulp

Providing origination and underwriting services for residential mortgages

De Nederlandse (Tulp) is a Dutch mortgage provider that specialises in long-term, fixed interest loans to Dutch home owners who are looking to buy, enhance or re-finance their residential homes.

Tulp has worked with Link Group’s Banking and Credit Management division in the Netherlands for the last five years, with Link Group providing origination and underwriting services for their residential mortgages.

When Tulp decided to enter the growing buy-to-let market, they were looking for an innovative joined-up solution, and to appoint a single provider to support them end-to-end in the loan cycle from origination and underwriting, through to servicing and workout. The ideal solution needed to be customer-focused, provide easy access to information and use the latest technology to add value and intelligence at every stage of the loan cycle. In addition, the solution also needed to be flexible, easily implemented and tailored for the complexities of the buy-to-let mortgage market.

Another key consideration when choosing a partner, was the requirements of the investor who would be securitising the portfolios. This large international investment firm wanted to work with a single, multijurisdictional service provider that could support it across multiple geographies.

As one of Europe’s largest independent servicers, Link Group was uniquely positioned to meet all of Tulp’s requirements, with its newly launched end-to-end loan service in the Netherlands.

The newly formed solution was developed by bringing together the necessary capabilities through a number of strategic acquisitions, including Novalink for arrears management, Flexfront and Nationaal Hypotheek Loket (NHL) for origination and underwriting. The service builds on the knowledge, skills and best practice from a number of jurisdictions in which Link Group operates, including the Netherlands, UK and Ireland.

This solution now offers consumers, brokers, lenders and investors better access to information through an easyto-use portal, apps as well as a more efficient, digitised and automated process. Even the most complex buy-to-let loan can now be underwritten in less than one minute.

Nadine Dey

Client Partner, Retirement & Superannuation Solutions (Australia)

“I am passionate about forming and driving successful client relationships. I enjoy the responsibility and diversity of my role, the teams that I work with, and working in an industry and environment which is constantly changing.”

Nadine has worked in Relationship Management roles for the last 15 years, having joined Link Group as part of an acquisition. Nadine is currently appointed as Client Partner within our Retirement and Superannuation Solutions division in Australia.

Nadine is accountable for the strategic relationship of one of our largest superannuation funds and works with other teams within Link Group to ensure we deliver strong operational results, high levels of client satisfaction and provide customised programs, projects and solutions to meet our clients’ needs.

Throughout her time at Link Group, Nadine has serviced many superannuation clients and has gained a plethora of experience in this space. As a mother to a young family, she has also found Link Group to be a supportive and flexible workplace, allowing her to continue to pursue career opportunities while remaining flexible in her work arrangement.

Prudential UK & Europe is a part of M&G plc, a leading savings and investments business, which has been helping customers find innovative solutions to manage and grow their wealth for over 170 years.

In February 2015, Prudential partnered with Link Group to launch a new insured product inside an Individual Savings account (ISA) wrapper known as Prudential ISA. This linked in with the existing multi-asset PruFund already offered by Prudential.

Following the successful launch of the PruFund ISA, significant growth in investors and assets under management (now exceeding £5.2bn), Link Group has entered into a long term partnership with Prudential and during the 2019/2020 financial year developed the digital capability for ISA applications to be completed online and automatically submitted to the administration platform with various payment methods available. This solution offers enhanced functionality that gives financial advisers greater visibility over their clients’ investment with real-time case tracking capability, as well as a simpler application process with signatureless processing (particularly important given the global pandemic).

The experience for investors is also available digitally with registered users able to login to view valuations and correspondence rather than via traditional physical mail.

Douglas Law, Product Owner of Prudential ISA at M&G Plc, said:

“We have worked closely with the team at Link to develop a leading digital proposition that enhances the financial adviser and investor journeys whilst allowing reductions in charges incurred by end investors. Link achieved this with a focussed delivery team and regular check points, which gave us confidence that they would deliver on their promises. Since we have been live, the Prudential Digital ISA has been a huge success, but we are already developing further enhancements delivered on a regular basis to keep this offering up to date and continually improve the digital experience. Link Group has repaid our faith in them, a true partnership.”

By focusing on client-centricity, delivering on promises made and working in close partnership with Prudential we have delivered an exceptional product and servicing model that supports Prudential’s 170-year heritage and importantly set the stage for business growth in the future.

Henry Chik

Head of CRM - Asia, Orient Capital

“Working as a team is key in Orient Capital. We firmly believe that by working closely together, we can provide a high level of service and an excellent client experience regardless of whether we are located in different regions and time zones.”

Henry joined Orient Capital in 2013 as Head of CRM, Asia. Leading a proactive and professional team, Henry provides share register analysis, Investor Relations intelligence and proxy services to listed companies in Hong Kong and Singapore. Henry’s PR background has provided a firm footing in his role and he is particularly passionate about connecting with and supporting the local Investor Relations community.

With a strong focus on delivering a service of exceptional quality to each and every client, Henry’s philosophy is to work with enthusiasm and curiosity. Although there can be challenging days, Henry is motivated by the drive to seek out solutions to these challenges and to find opportunities that fuels our growth.

In working for Link Group, Henry appreciates the support of his like‑minded colleagues and has always found the CRM team to be an amazing group of talented, positive, and fun‑loving people.

“Russell Investments is delighted with the effort, diligence and hard work of the project team and know that this launch was very much reliant on our strong partnership.”

Jodie Hampshire
Russell Investments

In FY20, Russell Investments launched an exciting innovation in superannuation, with support from Link Group. GoalTracker™ brings mass personalisation to the superannuation industry, providing a highly personalised goal-based investment solution and member experience.

Just as the fitness industry has been transformed by devices making it easy for users to set and achieve individual fitness goals, GoalTracker™ makes it easy for members to engage with their super and get on track for their retirement goals.

After helping a member set a personal retirement income goal, GoalTracker™ determines how they are tracking toward their goal, and personalises an investment strategy for the individual. Considering up to ten individual data points, GoalTracker™ selects the optimal mix of assets to improve the chance of achieving their goal, then reviews the mix quarterly and automatically adjusts as necessary.

Members can see how they’re tracking to their goal at any time and actions to take if they fall behind. The program uses behaviour-based trigger communications to keep them engaged along their journey. Over the course of many months, Russell Investments and Link Group worked to design and test staged implementations of GoalTracker™.

Specific Application Programming Interface (API) services were developed by Link Group to connect member related data to the investment models developed by Russell Investments, which were then linked to Link Group’s proprietary core superannuation platform to perform the appropriate calculations and keep member records up to date.

Link Group’s data team, Empirics assisted in the development and delivery of GoalTracker™ including connecting data with subsequent communication triggers, reporting and marketing campaigns.

On 28 March 2020, there was a launch of the GoalTracker™ default investment strategy, which involved replacing the current MySuper product for approximately 50,000 members of the Russell Investment Master Trust.

By 30 July, members were able to begin inputting their retirement goals into the product interface to create their own personalised investment strategy. Complex formulas working in the background help determine an appropriate investment strategy mix which is then regularly updated to help members reach their retirement goals. The solution is proactive, communicating with members and providing nudges along the way to keep them on track.

With the critical last months of development impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the teams involved adapted to new ways of working while undertaking extensive testing to ensure that delivery of the final product was of the highest standard.

GoalTracker™ has already been recognised by being awarded the Chant West 2020 Innovation Award. Link Group is proud to have partnered with Russell to deliver this highly complex project and key aspect of their Australian superannuation strategy.

The release of GoalTracker™ is the culmination of many months of collaboration to complete a complicated innovation delivery, designed to improve the outcomes for over 70,000 master trust members and related employers.