EDM solution vendor Asset Control has bagged Investment Technology Group (ITG) as a new client and launched a new solution aimed at providing more transparency and control around reference data, with a view to improving firms’ compliance and audit functions. Rick Enfield, product business owner of the AC Plus solution, and Jean Williams, product business owner of the Tapmaster solution, explain the details to Reference Data Review.
Asset Control began speaking to agency brokerage and financial technology firm ITG in February this year about the implementation of its AC Plus solution, says Enfield. The vendor is providing ITG with global, multi-asset instrument data in a centralised reference data and pricing architecture in order to support its product development and growth. “The implementation involved us replacing ITG’s legacy applications. Projects such as this involve locating all the touch points for connectivity to a firm’s infrastructure and this can take some time because you don’t always know the number of touch points involved until you begin the transfer process,” explains Enfield. ITG represents a whole new sector of the market for Asset Control, in the form of the vendor community. “There is potentially a large customer base in the vendors and they are facing the same data management challenges as the rest of the market,” adds Williams. Given the current economic environment, any new avenues for client wins are likely welcome for those in the EDM space. As noted by this month’s Reference Data Review poll respondents, many firms are facing difficulties in getting funding for their data management projects due to pressure from senior decision makers to focus on other areas, such as risk or compliance. However, the vendor community is facing pressure from clients to up its game and provide new levels of service at reduced cost, which is where data centralisation and greater standardisation and automation come into play. EDM solutions may allow these vendors to cut some of their overheads by reducing data duplication and rationalising their systems, thus providing new avenues of opportunity for vendors such as Asset Control. As well as its client win, the vendor’s other big news is the launch of its AC Invest platform, which aims to offer users a complete data compliance system. To this end, the solution provides a logic engine combined and a more intuitive interface in order to allow users more control over the data management process. According to the vendor, AC Invest enables business users to easily create, manage, retrieve, use and re-use rules that control their data quality and usage. The decision to launch a solution in the compliance space is understandable given the current regulatory overhaul going on across the globe. By aiming for the regulatory compliance end of the market, Asset Control may have some success in getting a foot in the door with firms that are taking a more tactical approach in these budget conscious times. “The regulatory community is not afraid to fine firms for compliance related data mistakes,” says Enfield. “This has been seen recently in the case of the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) fining Barclays over MiFID transaction reports and for other firms in the US around Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.” AC Invest can be used as a standalone platform, or as part of a federated model for distributing data on a regional or enterprise basis, including global offices with regional variations, through integration with Asset Control’s AC Plus centralised data management platform. “The AC Plus and AC Invest solutions can work together to provide a federated model for the whole data management area,” says Enfield “The solution has been designed to meet the transparency and increased oversight requirements of the market with regards to data,” he continues. “It provides a high level of granularity of data and a strong and visible audit trail. The centralised logic and rules engine allows for increased control of the data management process and the solution is in plain English so that users are able to control the data flows themselves.” The solution therefore features a graphically driven, centralised logic system, which the vendor claims provides increased control and audit for decision making and allows non-technical users to easily create, manage, retrieve, use and re-use rules. It also aims to provide a role-based and a consumption-based view of data that facilitates distribution, usage analysis and costing at a firm’s business unit or regional level. AC Invest has been built on industry standard rules but is also able to add organisationally specific rules without the need for technical intervention, continues Enfield. It has been developed in partnership with Microsoft over the last two years and is based on the requirements identified by the vendor’s user groups. One of the features requested by users was for a ‘rule finder’ to support rapid impact analysis, faster responses to regulatory queries and reduced time to on-board new business, he says. “The fact that the solution is web-based means that global deployment is much quicker and easier,” says Williams. This, she says, is reflective of Asset Control’s approach to data management at the moment: to make its solutions lower maintenance and able to be implemented rapidly. Time will tell whether firms agree.