GRCO adopts BIAN Standard for Open Banking

GRCO adopts the BIAN Service Landscape to facilitate business analysis and specifically to support our clients’ Open Banking initiatives.

When it comes to new developments in the financial services space, “Open Banking” is one of the most interesting topics from both a customer and the institutional perspective. Open Banking essentially means opening up a bank’s architecture to third parties developing applications and services around it. Technically, this involves the implementation of open application programming interfaces (APIs). In Europe, the Payment Services Directive (PSD II) is one of the driving forces behind the move towards an Open Banking infrastructure, as it requires banks to open up their architecture to third-party payment services providers.

But the potential of Open Banking is much larger. From the provision of personal finance management solutions, to less cumbersome and faster credit approval processes to streamlined back-end payments processes, there are numerous ways to extend the API-based approach to generate value for financial insitutions, customers and bespoke service providers.

But from a business perspective, this means that both the financial institution and the service providers need to have a common understanding of banking functions and or services. And the development of such common understanding of banks’ internal landscapes has historically been complicated by those institutions’ reliance on proprietary development and proprietary standards.

Enter BIAN, the Banking Industry Architecture Network, which is an independent, non-profit organization created to define standards for service-oriented architecture in the banking industry. As part of their work, BIAN have published a standardised Service Landscape, which defines a generic institution’s service domains.

(click on image to access detailed view via

From a consultant’s perspective, this Service Landscape – which is also available in a more detailed UML repository – can be used for business process and functional modelling, but also to support the design of API needed to enable Open Banking initiatives. In fact, API development has been one of the driving forces behind BIAN’s latest initiatives, which also include the release of an API Exchange containing RESTful API specifications for a large number of their Service Domains.

In this context, GRCO has now formally adopted the BIAN Service Landscape and standards as a tool supporting our work. Using the Service Landscape specifically enables us to work to a higher level of consistency and completeness, while eliminating the need for reinventing the wheel. The BIAN Service Landscape is therefore both a starting point and a point of reference in our business analysis process.

For further questions on our experience with BIAN’s Service Landscape and how it can be used to drive value creation in your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact Hans Radtke.

Join us!

GRCO sucht Senior Consultants und Engagement Manger im Bereich Governance, Risk & Compliance

As consultants in the financial services market space, our business is global in nature. A significant part of our work is therefore conducted in English – but GRCO as a firm is primarily based in Germany.

Consequently, German language skills, to at least B2 level, are a key requirement for joining our team. Which explains why our job postings, like the one below, are a deliberate break from the overall theme of this website.

Senior Consultants & Engagement Managers,
Governance Risk & Compliance

GRCO ist eine Unternehmensberatung mit Büros in Frankfurt, London und Luxembourg. Als Boutique mit Spezialisierung in den Bereichen Governance, Risk, Accounting und Compliance bieten wir unseren Kunden in der Finanzindustrie maßgeschneiderte Lösungen. Unser Ziel ist es, unsere Kunden in einer Welt des stetigen Wandels in diesen Themenbereichen langfristig orientiert zu unterstützen. Auch im Hinblick auf unsere Mitarbeiter setzen wir auf langfristig orientierte Beziehungen.

Unsere Themen sind vielfältig und geprägt von aktuellen regulatorischen Anforderungen. Beispielsweise unterstützen wir unsere Kunden in folgenden Bereichen: Basel Accord, Brexit, FINREP / COREP, Asset Quality Review, Stress Testing, Local ICAAP / ILAAP, Sanierungsplan (MaSan / Living Wills), IFRS 9, AnaCredit, BCBS239, Asset Encumbrance, Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP) sowie die Umsetzung des Single Supervisory Mechanism.

Zur Verstärkung unseres Teams in Frankfurt suchen wir erfahrene Berater und Engagement Manager (w/m) mit dem folgenden Profil:

  • Mindestens zwei Jahre Berufserfahrung in einer projekt- oder mandatsorientierten Umgebung, insbesondere in der prüfungsnahen Beratung
  • Sicheres Auftreten im Umgang mit Führungskräften, Überzeugungsfähigkeit und Kommunikationsstärke
  • Eigeninitiative und strukturierte, zielorientierte Arbeitsweise
  • Dezidierte Erfahrung in der Finanzindustrie mit Schwerpunkt in den Bereichen Governance, Risk oder Compliance, beispielsweise: Market, Credit oder Counterparty Risk, Operational Risk, Living Wills und Sanierungsplanung, Regulatory Compliance, Anti-Financial Crime
  • Grundlegendes Verständnis relevanter Arbeitsprozesse unserer Mandanten
  • Kenntnisse eines typischen Anwendungssystems aus dem Bereich Handelssysteme, Risikomanagementsysteme oder ERP Systeme (insbesondere hinsichtlich bankrelevanter Module)
  • Erfahrung in der Modellierung von Arbeitsprozessen und / oder der Erstellung fachlicher Anforderungskataloge
  • Sehr gute englische Sprachkenntnisse sind erforderlich, Kenntnisse der französischen Sprache sind von Vorteil

Den passenden Kandidaten wiederum bietet Gutmark, Radtke & Company als Arbeitgeber die folgenden Vorteile:

  • Mitarbeit an der Lösung komplexer Probleme, die eine Kombination aus Fachwissen, Kreativität und Strukturierungsfähigkeit erfordern
  • Tätigkeit in einem eignergeführten Unternehmen mit Teamgeist, kurzen Entscheidungswegen, minimaler Hierarchie und enger Kommunikation
  • Aufträge bei großen, internationalen Mandanten
  • die Möglichkeit der Arbeit im europäischen Ausland, insbesondere in London und Luxembourg
  • Schnelle Übernahme von Verantwortung für Mandanten, Themen und Mitarbeiter
  • Überdurchschnittliche Vergütung mit transparentem Erfolgsanteil

Sollte das Profil unserer Firma für Sie ansprechend sein, und wenn Sie wiederum dem Profil unserer Mitarbeiter entsprechen, dann freuen wir uns, umgehend von Ihnen zu hören. Senden Sie Ihre Unterlagen einfach an

GRCO supports Brexit mitigation

With Brexit looming, international banks are working on moving parts of their UK portfolio to the EU. GRCO can help with ECB onboarding.

The Challenge: Portfolio Relocation

European Central Bank

While uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the EU remains, many financial institutions are beginning to act on their contingency plans. And some of those plans involve moving large portfolios of assets to locations within the Eurozone.

But what if this leads to a previously “less significant institution” based in the Eurozone breaching the EUR 30 bn barrier and suddenly becoming a “significant institution” under ECB oversight?

The Onboarding Process

In this case, an onboarding procedure is triggered, as part of which the ECB will perform an initial health-check for the institution in the form of an Asset Quality Review (“AQR”). The AQR process aims to enhance transparency of bank exposures, including the adequacy of asset and collateral valuations. 

For more detailed information on ECB expectations regarding a relocation to the Eurozone, you can also refer to the ECB’s own excellent Q&A section on this topic.

Onboarding & the Asset Quality Review

Put into further context, the AQR is carried out as a one-off exercise at onboarding, but it is also repeated in regular intervals as part of the Comprehensive Assessment (“CA”) performed by the ECB and the National Competent Authorities (“NCAs”). The CA effectively consists of the AQR combined with a stress test. But let us first focus on the AQR as part of the onboarding process. The following chart illustrates the ten key areas (“workblocks”) of the AQR, which are explained in more detail in the ECB’s AQR Manual.

AQR Workblocks
Source: ECB, Asset Quality Review, Phase 2 Manual (June 2018)

Of the ten workblocks shown above, the first step, the review of processes, policies and accounting practices (“PP&A”), is of particular importance. It is a vital exercise to prepare a bank’s readiness for the on-site inspection by the Joint Supervisory Team (“JST”). In this context, the policies, procedures and accounting practices governing the following areas need to be documented and evaluated:

  • Classification of financial instruments
  • Application of fair value hierarchy
  • Provisioning
  • Impairment of staging criteria
  • NPE definitions
  • Forbearance and restructuring
  • Collateral valuation and disposal processes
  • CVA calculation
  • Group of connected clients and country of ultimate borrower
  • Deconsolidation processes
  • Creation or reserves of legal costs

Our Experience

This initial workblock of the AQR will already help to shape regulatory focus – and it is therefore of particular importance to get it right. And this is an area where GRCO has substantial experience, working with clients currently going through Brexit-related onboarding processes. With our experience, we can help your organisation plan, prepare and execute your part of the AQR process in a timely and efficient manner.

For further information on our experience, please do not hesitate to contact our colleagues Dr Benny Gutmark or Torsten Tegtmeier.

GRCO partners with Lumiukko

The larger consulting projects get, the more difficult it is to maintain full control over their status and to provide timely and accurate status reports. This is where Project Management Officers (PMOs) come in to support the project and programme managers responsible for running the initiatives.

In order to ensure a high standard of operational control for our projects, GRCO has entered into a strategic partnership with Lumiukko, a company providing PMO resources and project assistants to help monitor and manage large-scale initiatives and provide full transparency for our clients. Lumiukko offers its own framework for milestone planning and controlling assumptions, risks, issues and decision requirements along the life cycle of projects.

As part of this strategic partnership, Hans Radtke, Managing Director of GRCO, has taken a stake in Lumiukko and will therefore ensure the quality and practical usefulness of their product offering.

GRCO partners with IMFU Institute

Management Consultants are not born as such – they are forged by a combination of training and project-based experience. GRCO therefore firmly believes in training our consultants in tried & tested consulting techniques, covering project management (both agile and waterfall), workshop facilitation, data analysis and analytical toolkits, such as BPMN for process and UML for requirements analysis.

In order to ensure a high standard of training for our people, GRCO has entered into a strategic partnership with IMFU Privates Institut für angewandte Methoden der Führung und Unternehmensberatung (or IMFU Institut, for short), which offers bootcamps for business analysts and consultants as well as leadership training for more experienced consulting managers.

As part of this strategic partnership, Hans Radtke, Managing Director of GRCO, has joined the executive board of IMFU Institut and will therefore ensure the quality and practical usefulness of their training programme.

GRCO implements OFAC Sanctions Screening

In a joint team with our client, a consumer credit Institution, GRCO has implemented a centralised sanctions screening platform based on FircoSoft’s Continuity package.

The solution applies fuzzy logic to identify potential hits pertainting to SWIFT messages and offers an efficient and audit-proof platform for analysing and managing them.

As a result, all incoming and outgoing SWIFT Messages are now filtered against a host of sanctions watchlists, including those provided by the US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the European Union and the United Nations. The solution checks for suspicious names, legal entities, addresses, countries, aircraft or vessel identifiers, and much more – all in real time.

Using this technology, our client’s Payments and Financial Security teams can now ensure that financial messages aiming at breaking international sanctions, financing terrorism or perpretrating financial crime are immediately identified and appropriate action is taken.

For any further information on how GRCO can help your firm to improve Financial Security, please do not hesitate to contact Hans Radtke.