Earlier this month, investment management firm Capital Group signed up to roll out Asset Control’s AC Plus and AC Connect solutions as its new enterprise data management platform, president and CEO of the vendor Phil Lynch and AC Plus business owner Rick Enfield explain that the firm selected the solution due to its productised approach and the extensibility of its data models. The implementation is all part of the firm’s overhaul of its middle and back office technology platforms, which is taking place over the next couple of years.
Nine months ago, Capital Group decided to upgrade its internal pricing and reference data management system and went through a build versus buy evaluation process, explains Lynch. The firm wished to replace its legacy proprietary systems in order to keep pace with the changing market dynamics and decided that rather than building again from scratch, it would roll out a commercial solution. Asset Control was asked to get involved in a proof of concept along what Lynch describes as the “usual suspects” from the EDM vendor community.
“The decision to go with AC Plus came down to the firm’s desire for a more productised approach rather than a custom built solution. They bought into the idea of our product maintenance and support, rather than having to take on this work themselves,” elaborates Lynch. Accordingly, AC Plus will provide the Capital Group with a centralised data management platform to support its global investment operations.
“In general, their requirements are fundamentally straightforward but they have requested some degree of tailoring in order to take into account data workflows from their various systems,” notes Lynch.
The firm will therefore also use the recently launched AC Connect module in order to simplify the integration process between the EDM platform and its downstream systems. “Capital Group has some complex integration needs with regards to their systems for the outbound distribution of data and that was why AC Connect was a key contributor to the selection of our solution,” says Enfield.
Capital Group’s plethora of downstream user defined data requirements meant that the AC Connect module was an appealing way to solve a potentially complex problem. Given that a lot of these downstream systems are also being overhauled as part of the firm’s ongoing project, a solution that can plug in easily to as many systems as possible was required. Enfield contends that AC Plus and AC Connect’s extensible data models will allow for these requirements to be met.
The overall project to overhaul Capital Group’s middle and back office systems is expected to take place over a couple of years, but Lynch indicates that the firm has set in place fairly aggressive timeframes for the rollout of reference data management functionality. The idea is for the business benefits of the selection of AC Plus to be demonstrated early on in order to continue the rollout into further areas.
The asset management community in particular, is a key demographic target for the vendor and Lynch indicates that this community now makes up around 20% of Asset Control’s revenues and it hopes to grow this further. Enfield adds that the benefit of this implementation for the vendor, as well as getting a high profile asset management referee, is receiving feedback on how the solution should develop next to meet the requirements of this community.
The next areas for development are around providing data in a more consumable format via the use of dashboards and statistical tools, according to Enfield. The vendor’s next big update, in its usual eight month cycle, is scheduled for February next year and it is likely this functionality will feature heavily. “Firms are keen to be able to get a visual snapshot of what is happening with their data across an organisation in order to conduct consumption analysis,” he explains. Firms are therefore trying to get a handle on their data costs and consumption in order to track who is using what and why.
Lynch reckons the post-crisis environment has led firms to focus more intensively on their data consistency also. “It is beyond just meeting regulatory requirements, it is about business reporting that underpins a firm’s value proposition to the market. Firms realise the data details matter to both customers and the market,” he concludes.