The evolution of the buy side EDM specialist formerly known as Citadel Associates that was set in train by the departure of managing director Jean Williams and the company’s acquisition by a group of seasoned financial technology investors mid-last year has culminated in its renaming as Cadis Software. As the vendor assumes the name of its flagship solution, it also gets another new CEO: Daniel Simpson, as planned from the outset of the acquisition, takes over day to day operations from interim CEO Peter Little, who moves into the chairman role.
Global expansion is also on the cards, Simpson says. “We are expanding in North America, adding one more person in Boston and opening a New York office in the coming few weeks.”
Personnel changes aside, the Cadis strategy is unchanged, according to Simpson: “a laser-like focus on the buy side”. As the vendor trumpets an impressive 11-week implementation at Principal Global Investors, Simpson highlights an ongoing effort to streamline implementation times further still, by packaging up plug-ins to third-party systems commonly used by the buy side. “By continuing to focus on packaging the solution and refining the implementation process, and on passing on knowledge about the system to the customers’ own staff, our aim is to get that installation time down to as low as eight weeks,” he says. This focus on ensuring the solution can be implemented as easily as possible “out of the box” is in stark contrast to the more consultancy-focused direction apparently favoured by Williams – who is now ensconced at EDM vendor Asset Control.
US-based asset manager Principal – where the Cadis EDM suite is providing a centralised single security master file, delivering up-to-date, cleansed security data – joins an impressive roster of buy side clients already using the Cadis software. Simpson says his own background (10 plus years in buy side-focused financial technology), the buy side software/asset management backgrounds of the other key personnel at Cadis and the buy side-specific focus of the software itself position the vendor well to meet investment manager and hedge fund EDM needs more effectively than EDM vendors with a broader buy and sell side focus.
It is certainly true that buy side firms tend to favour software vendors that are focused on their particular needs – and have less appetite (and budget) for the kinds of long-winded, multi-year implementations that unfortunately have tended to characterise the EDM landscape to date. The question is whether, in the current troubled environment, buy side demand for EDM solutions will continue to hold up.
Simpson insists Cadis has seen no slow-down in demand; indeed, “during the past two to three months we have seen more RFIs than we saw during the whole of the past year”, he says. The heightened focus on risk in the current market environment is an important driver, Simpson adds. “Generally there is a strong demand to be able to aggregate data and look at risks and exposures. That is hard to do if you need to look across several different systems, and risk is at the heart of a lot of the RFIs we are seeing.”
Cadis had already been investing in improving the capability of its software to handle complex derivatives and structured products, and that focus continues, according to Simpson. “Firms are either taking systems such as Murex for trading OTC derivatives, or continuing to handle much of this activity in spreadsheets,” he says. “They are finding they still have four or five silos of information which is not acceptable from a risk management perspective. A complete picture is needed and this is driving more and more investment in EDM solutions like ours.”