Case study – PX Partners
Tanushree Dabral and Jon O’Keefe have launched PX Partners, a firm that will supply outsourced Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) services to the financial services industry. They spoke to Industry Moves about what prompted them to launch the business and why outsourcing governance is the way of the future.
What was behind the decision to launch the business?
We have held senior governance, risk and compliance roles and led teams both in Australia and in other major markets overseas. We found the support of external lawyers and other resources was of benefit. But what we really wanted was access to senior GRC resources on demand who could hit the ground running and understood the importance of embedding change sustainably. While working together previously, we both realised that we shared the fundamental belief that when done right, compliance never competes with customer experience. We wanted to build a company that had this at the heart of what it does.
Why did you decide to launch now?
We think a big lesson for business from the experience of 2020 is that adapting is a lot more important and powerful than planning. What the pandemic has taught business leaders is that they don’t need to see their employees every day in an office to achieve business goals. This change in behaviours and perceptions opens up a huge opportunity for PX Partners.
In a recent survey of senior executives conducted by PX Partners, 94 per cent agreed that accessing variable or scalable GRC teams would ‘better support their business’.
How did you research market opportunities?
Identifying the opportunity for PX Partners is based on our observations of how things need to change in GRC models to keep pace with the demands of our industry. In our prior roles as senior GRC practitioners and in conversations with peers, we would consistently hear of the pain points and frustrations with lack of access to experienced practitioners. We soon realised that a firm like PX Partners was needed in the market.
Do the funds management and superannuation industries have unique GRC challenges?
The challenges facing both sectors are broadly the same, both commercially and from a GRC perspective. The funds management and superannuation industry are faced with growing uncertainty on many fronts – technological disruption, growing community expectations, regulatory and political scrutiny to name just a few. We are also seeing a significant amount of consolidation in both industries as they face into the challenge of keeping their business models profitable and scalable.
Both the pace and diversity of regulatory changes has increased - from the whistleblower changes, to modern slavery, to complaints and design and distribution obligations (DDO). While there was somewhat of a pause during 2020 to give firms the space to contend with the pandemic, we know that the regulatory agenda off the back of the Royal Commission is picking up again. What will be important to firms is to have a GRC capability that can be dynamically varied. We really feel that adapting is a more vital than planning. Ensuring that the solutions they put in place are sustainable is critical and we believe that a practitioner-led approach will help firms succeed.
What challenges did you face when launching and how were they overcome?
There is always a challenge in being new in anything you do. But we are fortunate that we have built deep global networks during our years as practitioners. And this network has proved to be a great source of support for us in our formative days. We would add that starting a business from scratch is not for the faint hearted, especially during a global pandemic! But we are really pleased with what we have achieved so far and how our offering is being embraced.
Why do you think outsourcing GRC is the answer?
Traditionally, firms have been comfortable outsourcing their distribution, operations and legal services but, until recently, less so with GRC. At the same time, businesses are faced with constant change and uncertainty. Couple this with the fact that 90 per cent of senior executives believe that a shortage of experienced GRC practitioners is ‘limiting business success’ and it becomes clear that outsourcing provides firms with the ability to access a more dynamic and elastic model of GRC resourcing.
What is your revenue model?
Revenue? We’re a new business! We adopt a flexible and transparent approach to pricing with clients depending on the type of work being undertaken. And we operate a lean and agile model so we don’t come with the overheads. We’re focussed on building long term relationships with our clients.