Kamakura is very proud of the joint research in credit risk that we will be undertaking with Rand Merchant Bank of Johannesburg (for details, see the News section of www.kamakuraco.com). This brief note emphasizes how important “relationship” is when a financial institution and a vendor work together, using the Rand Merchant Bank and Kamakura credit project as an example.
When I was in investment banking it was commonly said that “You’re only as good as your last trade” or “You’re only as good as your last deal.” Unfortunately, the same view is common in the software industry where the main sales person has interest in a client only until he’s received his commission. From the software buyer’s point of view, it is also common for software users to look at the vendor’s software as a product, like a loaf of bread, that’s fine now but that is expected to decline in quality over time until it’s useless. We think these attitudes on the part of both the risk management firm and the risk management client are wrong. There’s a much better way to look at things.
We’re often told that the reason Kamakura is selected as a risk systems or risk information vendor is our consistent track record of innovation and the relationship that clients seek to have with the team at Kamakura, from Professor Jarrow down through the ranks. We think that this view is the correct one—risk information and risk management software are not like loafs of bread. A strong relationship between Kamakura and our clients is why our products have gotten better, faster, and more powerful year after year.
In the case of the First Rand family and the Rand Merchant Bank team, there was great mutual respect from the outset. From our point of view, the RMB credit team was obviously one of the smartest groups of people we had ever met. Kamakura’s strong international data base capabilities and credit modeling expertise led by Professor Jarrow were two of our key virtues. The third virtue was the ability of our enterprise wide risk management system Kamakura Risk Manager to perform truly integrated credit risk, market risk, asset and liability management, and economic capital calculations that recognize macro factors as common drivers of all risks. Finally, we recognized that First Rand/RMB, like all best practice clients, had a strong desire for a powerful strategic advantage that was based on proprietary risk management analytics. Our best clients don’t want to “be like” everybody else. Our best clients want to “be better” than everybody else. So do we.
When we work together with our best clients like First Rand/RMB, the relationship usually includes almost every aspect of what we do:
- Proprietary model development, testing, and team building with the client
- World-wide public firm default modeling using the KRIS public firm model
- Sovereign default modeling using the KRIS sovereign default service
- Customized default modeling for small businesses and retail products
- Enterprise-wide risk management using Kamakura Risk Manager
- Risk management calculation outsourcing where we use Kamakura Risk Manager to answer complex risk questions for clients in a hurry for high quality answers
- Joint efforts, like this research project, to make both of us better tomorrow than we are today.
We’re honored to have this kind of multi-faceted relationship with the First Rand/Rand Merchant Bank family. If we can do the same for your institution, we’d be honored to hear from you at email@example.com.
Donald R. van Deventer
Honolulu, October 16, 2009