CASE STUDY

MICROSOFT TREASURY: A TWENTY-YEAR PARTNERSHIP FORGED ON INNOVATION & GROWTH

Key points

  • The Microsoft Treasury group serves as a nerve center for operations in over 190 countries and invests over $120 billion (as of 2021) in cash instruments, fixed income, equity, and other investments. The group monitors thousands of bank accounts and provides just-in-time cash management globally. This mandate requires Microsoft Treasury to rely on a vast amount of data to make fast, accurate and well-informed decisions.

  • Making well-informed cash management decisions while prioritizing their corporate goals of capital preservation and liquidity was challenging when the team’s infrastructure consisted of spreadsheets, decentralized reporting tools, and manual processes. The challenge and opportunity was to streamline this infrastructure, empowering Microsoft Treasury to act with clarity.

  • Microsoft Treasury’s implementation of the Aladdin® Enterprise platform has streamlined its operations, automated processes, and centralized investment data, allowing the team to efficiently manage multi-asset portfolios within one flexible end-to-end solution. Aladdin has provided Microsoft Treasury with the needed software and services to diversify its portfolios, leading to continued growth over the past 20 years.

ADOPTING ALADDIN – A TRUE END-TO-END OPERATING SYSTEM

In 2002, Microsoft Treasury embarked on a digital journey to transform its business and bring efficiency to new levels. Integrating all investment tools onto one platform, centralizing data, and automating processes have helped Microsoft Treasury manage its multi-asset portfolios.

The end-to-end operating system combines sophisticated risk analytics with comprehensive portfolio management, trading, operations, and compliance tools, providing the group with greater clarity on opportunities and risks in the moment and in the future across its diversified portfolio, all in one place. As the group’s language of portfolios, the platform is used across different Microsoft Treasury teams, enhancing communication and reducing operational risk.

This holistic view of Microsoft Treasury’s portfolio, supported by Aladdin, has enabled the firm to unlock new opportunities and grow its business over the past 20 years.

Across the board, the Microsoft Treasury group found that Aladdin allowed them to access and utilize data easily, helping them see, understand, and act on business opportunities and risks.

LEVERAGING THE INDUSTRY’S BEST
PRACTICES

Over the last 20 years, Aladdin has helped Microsoft Treasury stay up to date with evolving industry requirements and trends. During the 2008 financial crisis, centralized data allowed the team to quickly aggregate exposures to different banks and make well-informed decisions. Additionally, Aladdin offers regular updates and controls to help stay ahead of key standards such as Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) regulatory reporting. What-if functionality, for example, helps keep portfolios within compliance limits while having the latest regulatory requirements or accounting standards built into the system makes compliance easier and lets the team focus on more value-added tasks.

FROM COMPLEX TO ACTIONABLE PORTFOLIO INSIGHTS

Microsoft Treasury was able to centralize and efficiently harness its data for portfolio construction, analysis and reporting. With simplified data access, data processing and handling are more seamless. The team can now pull historical data sets, build specific reports, and perform advanced analysis to gain enhanced insights and clarity into its investments. As a result, they can efficiently track investments, optimize portfolio construction, and rebalance portfolios when needed.

UNLOCKING OPPORTUNITIES
FOR SCALE

The possibility to onboard different asset classes and standardize the processes of each within Aladdin has supported Microsoft Treasury through various investment policy changes. This capability has allowed the group to bring more of its investments in-house and manage multi-asset portfolios on a single platform, contributing to Microsoft Treasury’s diversification and the scaling of its business over the past 20 years.

Quotation start

Our Treasury investments process has evolved over time and the size and complexity of our portfolio has changed significantly since we first started using Aladdin. We expanded the scope of our investments beyond traditional short-term fixed income, and using the Aladdin platform provided us with the tools and reporting capabilities to manage a multi-asset portfolio.

Quotation end
Brad Faulhaber – Treasury Director, Head of Fixed Income

FUTURE-PROOFING THROUGH
PARTNERSHIP

The partnership between Microsoft Treasury and Aladdin has only grown after two decades of collaboration. As Microsoft Treasury’s needs change to keep up with evolving industry trends, Aladdin continually supports the team to stay ahead in key focus areas.

To achieve its sustainability goals, Microsoft Treasury looks forward to unlocking even more value with the platform’s access to headline ESG metrics from industry-leading ESG data providers as the team shifts towards building more sustainable portfolios.

Quotation start

Beyond those ESG-specific portfolios, we want to look at existing portfolios through an ESG lens and see how external managers are contributing to our ESG efforts.

Quotation end
Jade Michelle Sue – Group Treasury Manager

Additionally, the Microsoft and Aladdin teams have recently embarked on a strategic partnership to migrate Aladdin Enterprise to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, a venture that is key to further enhancing the Aladdin client experience.

Hosting Aladdin infrastructure on Microsoft Azure helps drive more innovation and unlock new capabilities to provide best-in-class features and functionalities. In addition, Microsoft Azure’s network of global data centers and capabilities helps meet the localized needs of Aladdin clients and maintain the platform’s high standards for resiliency and security.

As the first client to migrate its Aladdin platform to Azure, the Microsoft Treasury team reported a smooth transition with no disruption to its operations during the process.

Quotation start

At a high level, integrating our data across platforms is key to unlocking the real value-add. For instance, the continued digital transformation journey that we’re on will pool data for better insights. There are a ton of great opportunities that can come out of this journey together.

Quotation end
Brad Faulhaber – Treasury Director, Head of Fixed Income