The enterprise data management (EDM) solution vendor community has been going through something of an evolution over recent years and many of the incumbent vendors have been branching out further downstream into other areas of the data lifecycle, so it’s surprising to see a new entrant on the scene. However, this week, ConvergEx owned Eze Castle Software launched its golden copy solution, targeted at providing an integrated framework for firms’ reference data. Reference Data Review speaks to Rob Keller, managing director of global product management at the vendor, about why it believes there is room for another player in this space.
The new solution, Eze Data Management, has been in the pipeline for some time, according to Keller. “The current phase of our data management programme was kicked off in the summer of 2009. Customers asked us to extend our analytics capabilities by adding historical performance and risk data,” he explains. “In conjunction with this effort, we rebuilt our reference data structures from the ground up. The executive steering committee recognised the opportunity and committed significant resources to the project in 2010.”
So, the vendor is moving in the other direction to its EDM rivals: while they progress from data warehousing to better supporting risk and performance data, Eze Castle is moving from providing order management and risk systems to data management. Keller believes this perspective is what will set the solution apart from the others on the market already.
“We believe we have the right approach, the right technology, and the right people and that sets us apart,” he adds. “Eze Castle has clients across the investment management spectrum and our solutions are designed to cover all of them. This requires a flexible approach to business entities such as securities and their relationship to countries, issuers, or regions. Risk systems carry any number of attributes and we can extend the product to support these with metadata entries.” Thus the rationale is that from understanding the downstream functions, Eze Castle will be better able to support their data requirements.
“We have also taken an open systems approach to enable customers to use this data across the enterprise,” he continues. This approach is therefore aimed at allowing integration with a wide range of systems and technology, and dealing with a variety of data sources.
In terms of systems architecture, the solution is based on two core modules: one of which is focused on providing a centralised golden copy database and the other, which is focused on risk data. Much like the solutions that have been launched by the other vendors on the EDM block (GoldenSource’s RiskHub or Asset Control’s AC Connect, for example), Eze Castle’s second module is targeted at aggregating and normalising performance and risk data from multiple sources in order for it to be used for reporting purposes or fed into downstream systems.
The development of this functionality and the requirement for the solution to be easily integrated with a wide variety of solutions was not a simple process, says Keller. The decision to build the system as vendor agnostic meant that the vendor was forced to avoid designs that mirror those of its flagship order management system, Eze OMS. “This requires more effort from an integration standpoint, as the Eze OMS is both a data provider and a consumer,” he explains.
“The extensibility of the system required significant engineering from the database team and complexity in the data access layer,” continues Keller. “The development team continues to surprise me with their innovative solutions. Our culture really supports a creative environment where the teams collaborating with each other throughout the ConvergEx divisions.”
In fact, Keller puts much of his faith in the future of the solution down to the credibility of the development team: “We are able to build solutions of this calibre because of the deep financial services subject matter expertise of our product development team and the unmatched technical innovation of the development staff. We will continue to provide solutions that allow our customer to explore their data without boundaries. We are also introducing a robust reporting tool.”
As for the near future and client wins on the horizon, Keller says: “We have received strong interest from a number of existing clients and prospects. Senior executives who want a real-time view of performance contributions are excited to have a tool on their desktop instead of a monthly presentation from their analysts.”
The changing regulatory environment has also had a significant impact on investment in this space, he adds. “Investors and regulators are demanding greater transparency. Investment managers need tools that give them insight on the exposure of their portfolios across a growing number of factors. The system provides extensive auditing capability and preserves data as it appeared on any given date. The solution will also provide data to other Eze components including our compliance and modelling tools,” he concludes.