The findings of the 2006 B.I.S.S. Corporate Actions Benchmarking Report show that the systems of the four providers covered in detail – CheckFree, Information Mosaic, SmartStream and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – all score well in the data handling categories. B.I.S.S. Research confirms all these vendors have invested heavily in their systems and developed new functionality.
Information Mosaic’s is the highest aggregate scoring product in the benchmarking, which B.I.S.S. Research says demonstrates its all-round strength as a system for participants in all market sectors. The report highlights the fact that CheckFree eVent supports not only ISO 15022 standard messaging but also incorporates “off the shelf” interfaces to several leading data vendors, and can also be used to gather non-standard messages if the client’s business demands it. CheckFree’s Message Broker layer also enables eVent to support ISO20022 standard messages, which is how the product will handle proxy voting over Swift. CheckFree scored highest for the broker/dealer sector.
B.I.S.S. Research commends SmartStream’s TLM Corporate Actions for its “golden copy” functionality. “A key to any corporate actions system is the ability to find the ‘Golden Copy’, and in this area SmartStream has produced a very strong feature,” the report states. “There is a logical thought process which has been applied to finding a solution to the ‘Golden Copy’ target, where the system can be totally relied upon. Indeed this module can be of value to the market and a viable option to other vendors in this space. It could save buyers wasting money on over-hyped data scrubbing products,” it continues.
The number of completed sales of corporate actions systems has fallen in 2006, B.I.S.S. Research finds, with a number of sales due for completion last year that rolled into this year still not finalised. The research firm suggests this indicates a switch in priorities among financial services firms, likely driven by the increased focus on compliance created by regulation such as MiFID. That said, international sales have increased in 2006, outstripping the UK domestic market for the first time. All the vendors are improving the international functionality of their systems, B.I.S.S. Research says, and this growth in international interest plays particularly well for TCS which currently has the most advanced capabilities for the international market.
It is unlikely that any new corporate actions vendor can now enter what is a highly competitive market, B.I.S.S. Research contends. However, this shouldn’t present a problem for buyers, since each of the vendors has developed different functionality strengths in its product, creating a genuine differential for systems selection, the research company says.