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The operations group of German bank West LB AG has begun the roll-out of Asset Control’s AC Plus data management solution to first replace a legacy mainframe system managing feeds from WM and Bloomberg, with a view to using AC Plus to replace an inhouse built centralised data management solution in the longer term. The bank is in UAT now for the first deliverable, set to go live in October.

According to Alex Rich, sales director, EMEA at Asset Control, West LB initially approached the vendor at the FIMA event in London in November last year, having already looked at a few other potential solutions but not having felt “comfortable” with them. “The challenge they had was that they were running legacy software on the mainframe to manage data provider feeds, and they were looking for a piece of software to solve that challenge, but also that would be a strategic solution for them to use for data management in the future,” says Rich. “So while they wanted AC Plus as a short term fix, they also want to use it as a strategic centralised data platform going forward.”

West LB’s initial requirement was to automate the cleansing of data from its main sources, WM and Bloomberg, to eliminate manual intervention and reduce production costs and operational risk, he continues. “The bank wants to go live with AC Plus for WM and Bloomberg in October. They’re in UAT for that now. In fact, the bank had the solution being tested just a few weeks or so after buying the product, with its own rules for cleansing and data validation in place.” This demonstrates the benefit of providing a standardised product out of the box, Rich reckons. Though other data management system vendors might dispute the claim, Asset Control believes it is differentiated by taking a product – rather than consulting-led – approach to data management.

The only element of this implementation that was really new for Asset Control was the mainframe component, Rich says. “Most of our customers take data into a middleware platform or via point to point connections. West LB wants AC Plus to feed the mainframe and distribute data out that way.” The work involved for Asset Control to accommodate this requirement – common among German banks – was not significant, he reckons.

The bank is already planning for the roll-out of AC Plus as a strategic data management platform, he claims. “The solution going live in October will already feed a lot of divisions including WestLB Markets, the savings banks WestLB owns and all WestLB AG branches,” he says. “The bank already has an inhouse built centralised data solution and it is looking to replace that in a phased approach with AC Plus.”

Yoram Matalon, chairman of the group operations committee at WestLB, confirms: “We will now be able to work within a multi-source environment to manage our reference and corporate actions data via a scalable platform that can grow along with our future needs. We will be able to move, incrementally and on our own schedule, to the addition of new data feeds and the eventual centralisation of all of our data.”

Asset Control has high hopes of further successes in the German market. “Germany is a rich potential seam of new business for us, particularly as many of the clients we have in that and other European markets don’t yet use AC Plus for our full reference data capabilities,” says Rich. “What is quite common is for clients to deploy AC Plus in one area first and then build on it.” Other existing German Asset Control clients include Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank, HypoVereinsbank and Bayerische Landesbank.

In April this year, Asset Control was bought by Fidelity Ventures, which took a majority investment in the firm. Simultaneously Asset Control acquired TAP Solutions.

Phil Lynch, former CEO of Reuters Americas and a venture partner with Fidelity Ventures, was appointed CEO and president of Asset Control at that time (Reference Data Review, April 2007).

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