Developing a Mobile Device Strategy for Fairfield Trust Company

Developing a Mobile Device Strategy
for Fairfield Trust Company
Case background developed by:
Gabriele Ralph, CPA and Laura Iacona
(Grant Thornton LLP)

Client Background
The Fairfield Trust Company (“Fairfield”) is an independent investment and
wealth management firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The firm serves
individuals, families, foundations, and other institutions throughout the
United States. It was founded in 1975 by Andrew and Annie Fairfield in
Philadelphia to serve as the corporate trustee for the trust they had endowed
to honor their parents. The Fairfield Trust makes donations to support
charitable organizations that share the family’s beliefs and philosophies in
the fields of education, medicine, and social welfare. It remains within the
ownership of the Fairfield family.
In 1982, Fairfield began offering
formal investment services to families, corporations, public plans, foundations
and endowments. They built a comprehensive range of wealth advisory services to
complement their primary services of investment management and trust
administration. Fairfield’s SEC-registered investment advisor, Fairfield
Investment Management (“FIM”), provides access to Fairfield’s investment
strategies. FIM has $3 billion of assets under management for Fairfield’s
proprietary family of mutual funds.
By 2001, Fairfield had expanded its
presence outside of Philadelphia to include offices in New York, Delaware,
Illinois and California. As of 2012, Fairfield is a national trust company with
12 offices throughout the United States, employing 210 people and serving more
than 2,500 clients across the country.
Use of Mobile Devices by Fairfield Employees
The proliferation of mobile consumer
devices in the workplace has the potential to create opportunities for employees
to work in innovative and productive ways. Technology continues to evolve at a
rapid pace and companies must adapt accordingly. People are becoming more
familiar with new technologies and want to use them at work, in many cases
without knowing or considering the potential risks.
Fairfield currently has a
corporate-liable BlackBerry program for its employees.Over the last decade,
the nature and use of mobile devices by Fairfield employees has changed
dramatically. Originally, only a few corporate-owned BlackBerrys were used by
management personnel and a few employees had personal cell phones. Currently
all employees at Fairfield are eligible to participate in the corporate-liable
BlackBerry program. Of the company’s 210 employees, there are 189 participants
in the program and approximately the same number of devices to manage and
support. Today, the expansive use of these devices results in significant costs
associated with paying for the infrastructure and supporting its users.
The company’s
BlackBerry service contract will end within the next three months, at which
time the infrastructure is due to be replaced. As such, the company is now at a
decision point regarding the future direction of its mobile device policy. The
Chief Information Officer has been in contact with their current provider and
has informed senior management that costs under the new service contract will
increase by approximately 10%. In addition, the provider will no longer offer
unlimited data usage. At this time it is not clear what impact this change
would have on employee expense amounts in terms of incurring overage charges.
Bring Your On Device
(BYOD) by Fairfield Employees
Fairfield has three
general categories of employees: management, investment advisors and administrative
support (including Human Resources, Compliance, Accounting and IT). The
management team and investment advisors travel frequently to meet with current
and potential clients, particularly during each quarterly reporting cycle in
January, April, August and October. Personal client service is an important
part of the company’s culture which they feel differentiates them from their
larger competitors. Regardless of whether or where they are traveling, investor
advisors require access to market information from the New York Stock Exchange,
NASDAQ, and other exchanges around the world. Changes in technology and
personal mobile use have led some employees to request devices that are not
currently supported by Fairfield’s IT department. Only BlackBerrys are
permitted to access company email, therefore employees find themselves using
both their BlackBerry and personal mobile device. Some investment advisors have
also asked about bringing their personal tablets to assist with presentations
to their clients.
While BlackBerry
devices may access company email, there is no external access to the company’s
network other than through VPN on company-issued laptops. The CIO recently
asked the IT department to conduct an in-depth data security survey. It was
determined that while the majority of data stored on the company’s servers is
low risk, there is some highly confidential client information including social
security numbers, addresses, bank and investment account numbers, and detailed
information about trusts and wills.
Balancing Client
Service Expectations and IT
As a smaller firm,
Fairfield walks a delicate balance between meeting client expectations by
providing personal service and simultaneously dealing with changing
technologies. They want to demonstrate to their clients that they can be as
“leading edge” as the larger investment firms but they are limited by their use
of technology and by internal policies. For example, investment advisors
continue to submit all client trade requests via paper trade tickets. There is
no mechanism for submitting trade requests via the internet or via a mobile
device-based app. Clients can check on their portfolio by contacting their
investment advisor, but they don’t have on demand access to this information.
As Fairfield continues
to grow, management is looking for ways to save costs, retain key personnel and
provide comprehensive client service. The BlackBerry program has become an area
they want to investigate. Certain management personnel have questioned the
costs and benefits of renewing the BlackBerry contract, and instead have
suggested implementing a “Bring Your Own Device” (“BYOD”) policy as an
alternative. Others have suggested keeping the BlackBerry program but limiting
it to employees requiring the frequent need to use a mobile device for
business.
Fairfield has hired your company to
assist with developing a mobile device strategy project. They are seeking your
recommendations on whether to remain with their current corporate-liable
BlackBerry program or move to a BYOD program. Your main point of contact is
John Mason, the CIO at Fairfield and head of the mobile strategy project
Steering Committee. The other Steering Committee members include Janet
Richardson (Chief Financial Officer), Sanjay Sunderji (IT Security Manager),
Catherine Wu (Chief Compliance Officer) and Jason Manning (Head of Human
Resources).

Please develop a detailed written
report for Fairfield that addresses the questions below (10 pages maximum). Be
sure to include the client’s background and issue, your recommended mobile
device strategy and why you recommended it.

CASE STUDY QUESTIONS
1.
What risks are associated with implementing a BYOD policy, and how
can these risks be addressed? Consider how BYOD risks differ from those in a
corporate-owned mobile strategy.

2.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a corporate-owned mobile
device strategy versus a BYOD mobile strategy?

3.
Should Fairfield allow the execution of trades using electronic
devices, or continue its current policy?”

4.
How can a company handle the payment and administration of employee
expenses related to mobile devices?

5.
How can a company protect its data if it allows access through mobile
devices?

6.
Which policies should be in place to help companies manage the risk
of using mobile devices?

7.
What ethical considerations must a company make when defining the
“acceptable use” of mobile devices?

8.
What compliance issues must be addressed?

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