“In a year of high corporate activity, I’m proud of the continued focus of our team on supporting our clients and delivering value for our shareholders. Our businesses have delivered solid results while also increasing our contribution to the communities in which we operate. During another year of change and uncertainty, I’d like to thank everyone at Link Group for their unwavering dedication and commitment.”
Simplifying the business to deliver and grow
As the Chair has mentioned, in FY2022 we evolved our operating model with our four global businesses now operating with full responsibility for all aspects of their business. This will provide increased autonomy and greater transparency of and accountability for business and financial performance. As a Group, we continue to have global governance and risk oversight of our businesses through a much leaner corporate centre.
The increased empowerment and flexibility this model provides will also allow each business to make decisions closer to their clients and focus on driving continued efficiencies. We also expect to see more targeted and tailored product innovation, technology enhancements and improved user experience from each business.
Supporting our clients to accelerate growth
We aim to simplify the connectivity between financial market participants and to enhance the engagement experience for end-users. Leveraging the expertise of our people combined with our technology, digital connectivity and data analysis and insights, we have been investing to expand our product and service offering, better integrate our operations and functions and enhance our technology solutions.
Delivering on the above with a client-first approach and our value of Client Focused at the forefront of everything we do, has led to renewed contracts and ongoing business growth in FY2022.
In Corporate Markets we have renewed contracts with long-term clients such as ITV in the UK, and Tabcorp in Australia, and won seven of the ten largest IPOs in Australia as well as corporate actions such as Air New Zealand’s NZ$1.2bn capital raising. In India, we won 58% of IPOs in the market including Zomato, which had over 10 million applications. Since launching our Orient Capital business in India in November 2020, we have doubled our client base in the region. In the UK, we also launched our LinkVote+ app to facilitate wider shareholder engagement by allowing virtual participation - a first in this market. In RSS, we successfully supported our clients in completing 11 transitions, which includes the migration of approximately 350,000 new members in the last quarter alone. This is a testament to our team’s experience, expertise and tight collaboration with clients. Our UK expansion also progresses well, with members under administration increasing 22.4% and rising to approximately 976,000 members during FY2022. New product enhancements to our contact centre portal and digital member and advisor portals have been extremely well received, with funds such as Hostplus, Prime Super and Active Super launching with the newly enhanced member portal during the year, plus more to follow in FY2023.
In August 2022, we also announced an agreement to acquire HS Pensions in the UK. HS Pensions is a deeply experienced UK pensions administrator with strong capabilities in both defined contributions and defined benefits, and longstanding client relationships. Subject to regulatory approval, we expect this transaction to complete in the second half of calendar 2022. Once completed, this transaction will further accelerate our expansion into the UK, with the combined businesses servicing approximately 1.5m members with AUM of over £4 billion.
In Fund Solutions, the past year saw 28 new fund launches and 9 new fund manager relationships in the UK/Europe, as well as the acquisition of Casa4Funds. Completed in August 2021, we successfully integrated Casa4Funds over the course of the year. This acquisition has given us additional scale in Luxembourg, Europe’s largest fund domicile, which complements our expertise in the UK and Ireland. Our UK Transfer Agency team also won the Asset Servicing Times Industry Excellence Award for Client Service for Fund Administration, which is a great achievement by the team.
In BCM, the team faced a challenging macro-economic environment and reduced activity levels in the wholesale loan market. However, the business remains positioned well to capitalise on future opportunities from significant originations growth and continued enhancement of our technology platform. In Ireland, BCM supported the launch of the First Home Scheme – a Government sponsored shared equity scheme to support first home buyers. New mortgage lenders continue to be onboarded in the UK, while also supporting the entry of new lenders in the Netherlands into the fast growing buy-to-let mortgage market.
Working together to achieve and succeed
There is no doubt that our achievements in FY2022 are due to the extraordinary effort and dedication of the over 7,000 talented people at Link Group. We are committed to creating a high performing company where diversity is valued, and each person can realise their potential and contribute to Link Group’s success.
With the continuation of COVID-19, the safety, health and wellbeing of our people remain a key priority for Link Group. Everyone has access to Link Wellness, where they can obtain physical and mental wellness tools and support, including online advice and information, complimentary webinars and access to our Employee Assistance Programs.
During the year, we also delivered external workshops to help our people continue to improve their mental health and resilience in the workplace, reinforced by monthly “Stay Safe and Well” communications.
We know that providing our people with flexibility in the way they work has helped to create a more inclusive work environment that supports wellbeing, better enabling us to thrive and work together to contribute to the organisation’s overall success. Our flexible and blended work environment across our businesses globally, enabled through the rollout of a number of technology solutions and our “FlexTogether” Resources Hub has received consistent, positive feedback from our people and is also a key differentiator in attracting new talent.
In FY2022, we introduced monthly campaigns to reinforce our values and to recognise and heighten engagement around diversity and inclusion. During the year, these monthly campaigns provided awareness, support and learning on topics such privacy and security awareness, sustainability and environmental awareness and giving back to our community. We also featured a number of areas of inclusion, through PRIDE and diversity month, gender equity month, International Women’s Day and more.
Our Appreciate recognition program reinforces our values of Client Focused, Adapt & Evolve and Together We Achieve. To date, we have seen over 13,500 recognition moments on the platform with 71% of all our people having received recognition, and 16 worthy and well-deserved CEO & MD Award recipients. The success of our organisation is truly attributed to when we all work together to achieve and thrive together.
The ability of our team to work together so cohesively has led to several achievements throughout the year. I am particularly delighted that our Corporate Markets team in the UK was awarded the CCA Global Standard accreditation in recognition of their excellent service delivery to our clients. Our Global Transformation team also won the 2022 ‘Excellence in Partnerships’ award at the India Australia Business and Community (IABCA) awards, reflecting the strategic implementation of our centres of excellence across our APAC region which is a core part of our ongoing strategy to simplify, deliver and grow our business.
Our marketing team also won the thought leadership award at the UK Financial Services Forum Awards in conjunction with our research and media partners, which is a testament to our commitment to continually produce high quality thought leadership and insights. The 2021 Funds Europe’s Specialist Fund Administration Industry Report & Directory also placed our Fund Solutions business in EMEA in the top 10 for global Assets under Administration (AuA).
Giving back to our communities
Against the backdrop of a year with significant macro-economic uncertainties, including an ongoing pandemic, environmental devastation in some areas and concerns about the economy and inflation, it was extremely heartening to see our people continue to give back to our communities.
In FY2022, our financial and in-kind charitable contributions from the organisation and our people increased by 12%. Our volunteer hours increased almost three-fold, which is a great outcome especially with many in-person volunteer opportunities being postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. December 2021 was “Giving Back Month” and I’m pleased to say we raised over $60,000 during this month alone.
Our people across the globe have baked, walked, donated, mentored and more to raise funds and awareness for a range of causes to support the communities in which we operate. I’d like to highlight just a few of our achievements.
- We participated in the UNICEF #GiveTheWorldAShot campaign to help approximately 2,000 people from disadvantaged countries be vaccinated against COVID‑19;
- Our UK team’s amazing support for Young Enterprise – the UK’s largest entrepreneurial, enterprise and financial education charity – saw us being shortlisted for the Funds Europe Outstanding Community Contribution of the Year award;
- For the second year running we held a highly successful Double Impact Day to raise funds for Ardoch in Australia, supporting education for disadvantaged children;
- Our continued support for basis.point in Ireland has seen us raise valuable funds to help deliver programs for children in disadvantaged communities;
- Our India team has recycled 70 Link Group laptops, donating the equivalent of $20,000 in value to our community partners SIES and SPRJ Kanyashala Trust. This gives students and teachers in government-run schools an opportunity to have the equipment they need to study and teach virtually, while also reducing e-waste; and
- The team in India also donated 3,800 school supply kits to students in two schools, with 28 volunteers from our team personally distributing the kits.
I am very proud that our contribution has played a small part in the success of our charitable partners across the globe, and I look forward to seeing that grow further in FY2023.
Continuing to support shareholder value
As the Chair has noted, delivering shareholder value is a critical focus for us. Despite the corporate activity we have experienced and ongoing global pandemic and market volatility associated with higher inflation and interest rates, we remained focused on our stated strategy of simplify, deliver and grow.
We have delivered on our upgraded guidance for FY2022. The Global Transformation Program has delivered $77.9 million of gross annualised benefits exceeding our target of $75 million. The India Hub continues to grow with approximately 1,100 team members now delivering services and support for our four businesses. As previously mentioned, we have also taken the next logical step towards further simplifying our Group structure and operating model.
With the termination of the Scheme Implementation Deed between Link Group and Dye & Durham, we continue to refine our business operating model to drive optimal performance and outcomes for the Group and its stakeholders.
We continue to reinvest in the business, building stronger capabilities to tailor solutions for our clients, and positioning the organisation to leverage opportunities that we expect from favourable tailwinds in the next 12–18 months. We have the right people, skill sets, technology and solutions to be successful and deliver.
I would like to thank everyone in the organisation for their ongoing dedication and commitment. Our ability to work together is what makes me extremely proud to lead this business, as we adapt and evolve the way we work to deliver for our clients and shareholders and continue to support the community.
I would also like to thank my Executive Leadership Team, and in particular wish to acknowledge the contributions of Chris Addenbrooke who retired from Link Group in FY2022. In turn, we welcomed Karl Midl, as CEO of Fund Solutions.
Finally, but certainly not least, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and appreciation to our clients, shareholders and the Link Group Board.
CEO and Managing Director