How Newport Credit Union safeguards and manages its cash investments

Mar 27th 2024

Insignis Cash has a wide range of non-profit organisations as clients across the UK, including credit unions. We were delighted to speak with Len Casley, General Manager of Newport Credit Union, and hear how Insignis Cash helps his organisation to manage risk and make the administration of a small credit union easier. Having spent over 30 years in investment and corporate banking, Len joined Newport Credit Union as General Manager in 2022.

Read on to discover how this credit union made investing easier, simplified its administration, and can interactively manage its cash.

Onboarding pain “obliterated”: how to speed up investing

Len explains that he had spent a significant amount of time working with asset management teams in the past – and that he sees similarities between Insignis Cash’s platform and previous systems he’d worked with. 

“One of the structures that we developed during my investment banking career was this dashboard of potential investments,” Len tells us. 

“That’s where my appreciation of investment portals stems from, and Insignis Cash offers a very similar solution with its banking panel. When the yield curve started rising a few years ago, I began looking around at what other credit unions were doing. It quickly became clear to me that Insignis Cash was a preferred provider for a number of Credit Unions.” 

Moving cash around had previously been a very slow process. Len explains that it involved a string of emails and letters and getting all board members to sign the required documents for every new financial institution. Insignis Cash has brought this arduous task to an end. One set of documents gives access to a whole platform of FCA and PRA-regulated financial institutions.  

Newport Credit Union’s new investment policy is now geared around making the most of cash and the interest rate environment, and ensuring that regulatory liquidity requirements are met. Len set about establishing a cash flow model that matched available cash with pre-approved banks and tenors.  

“Signing with Insignis Cash gave us access to all these new banks and products,” Len says. “As long as we meet the investment criteria of that vehicle, and it meets our own investment criteria, we can just go ahead and do it. It has enabled us to move cash around easily and transparently, without a whole chain of events needing to take place.” 

Moving to a portfolio approach of investment opportunities

Until they created an Insignis Cash account, Newport Credit Union had historically left cash reserves with a combination of two building societies. Since credit unions do not receive the same FSCS protection as other entities, Len needed to further diversify their cash into relatively even holdings with more institutions, in order to minimise risk. 

“Insignis Cash allows me to see right across the yield curve for investment opportunities, and gives us flexibility in how we manage cash,” Len explains. 

“We search for holdings up to a fixed six months, because we need to keep a reasonable amount of liquid cash to meet our members’ requirements. We can also look at the investment grades of the institution; the Insignis Cash portal gives us a snapshot of our exposure to any institution at any one time. As a result, we were able to utilise that yield curve in a way that we’ve never done before.”

Modifying a treasury policy with ease

With the FCA urging credit unions to ensure they have a clear investment strategy document, explaining the Insignis Cash concept to Newport Credit Union’s board was a priority for Len. He told us that credit unions can end up not reviewing their treasury policy very often, because it is a long process and any change usually takes an inordinate amount of time and organisational effort. 

“The board of Newport Credit Union meets on a monthly basis. An approach has to be agreed and approved, then the documentation has to be generated, and so on. It’s time consuming,” he describes. 

However, Insignis Cash has made this process much easier and faster, thanks to its banking panel of rates and terms. This makes it highly convenient for the Treasurer, Board members and the Finance Team to see where the funds are invested, and for what duration. They can also see what other investment opportunities are available, all on one screen. 

“Insignis Cash presents you with so much information in a very straightforward way,” Len opines. 

“You can understand very clearly what products and terms you’re looking at. It’s also hard-wired into our core bank account, so in terms of a risk package, it’s as good as you’re probably going to get. That reassures a board, and then helps us put a policy in place to agree where our funds should be invested.” 

Better returns help fund day-to-day operations

In terms of anticipated returns, the numbers that Len cites speak for themselves. He tells us that Newport Credit Union’s board of directors has made the most of the interest rate environment and consequently has made a significant difference to the resilience of their organisation. 

“That’s vital money to keep funding our day-to-day expenses. We’re a small credit union and need the capacity to withstand things that are out of our control, like energy price hikes. Insignis Cash has enabled us to be much more professional about how we manage finances – not only costs and expenses, but the whole operation.” 

Working with Insignis Cash

We’re very grateful to Len for his time and sharing so many insights into how Insignis Cash can benefit credit unions and other non-profit organisations. To find out more about how you could use our platform to great effect like Newport Credit Union, request an illustration.

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