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Friends Life Investments Start-up Implements Markit EDM Platform

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Markit has made one of its first and fastest implementations of the enterprise data management (EDM) platform it acquired with Cadis Software back in June at Friends Life Investments, a start-up asset manager within Friends Life Group.

Conversation between Friends Life Investments and potential technology providers started about six months ago ahead of a rigorous selection process and proof of concept test that resulted in Markit providing a hosted version of its EDM, Charles River hosting its order management system for the asset manager and HSBC Securities Services providing outsourced back-office and clearing functionality.

Friends Life Investments opened for business in late summer, with fixed income assets that had previously been managed by a third party on behalf of Friends Life Group loaded onto the EDM platform and integrated with the front-office and outsourced back-office systems.

According to Daniel Simpson, managing director at Markit EDM, and formerly MD at Cadis, “At Friends Life Investments, we had the luxury of starting with a blank piece of paper, which meant when we installed the EDM platform it made it easier to integrate the other pieces of the system. It took around six weeks to implement, that’s two weeks less than we have achieved before.” Following the Friends Life Investments implementation, Markit has gone on to implement the EDM platform on the green field site of a new retail bank.

Friends Life Investments chief investment officer, Mark Versey, says: “We created an asset management business from scratch with aggressive timelines, the Friends Life Investments platform had to be live by the end of the second quarter of 2012 to manage the Friends Life Group’s fixed income assets. We chose Markit EDM based on its experience with our market data, technology and outsourcing providers and its rapid implementation time. We were also impressed by a solution that is user focused and which we could quickly take ownership of ourselves.”

Simpson says the asset manager is pretty much self sufficient with the data management platform, but notes that Markit may help the firm add more third-party managed assets in the short-term.

On a longer-term basis, Markit will release Version 9 of the EDM platform early next year and is challenging legacy systems and competitors including Asset Control and Eagle Investment Systems to add more clients to its global tally of 82. Simpson says: “We are talking to Tier 1 sell side investment banks that want to rationalise legacy data for regulation and compliance purposes. Also a number of asset management arms of insurance companies that need to find a solution to Solvency II and others that want to outsource a data management platform.”

On the acquisition of Cadis by Markit, Simpson comments: “The acquisition has been very positive. Markit’s size, credibility and global chain of 14 data centres have moved us aggressively into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) space. At Cadis, we had offered SaaS for a while, we had a couple of clients and a couple that were thinking of migrating, but now we are part of Markit clients are more comfortable and are embracing the idea.”

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