Tokyo-based asset manager SPARX Group has implemented the GAIN data management platform from Austria’s AIM Software in a project lasting just 10 days. GAIN is handling Asian equities data from Bloomberg and data from the local Japanese Toyo Keizai feed, and ultimately SPARX may deploy GAIN as a centralised data hub across its operations.
According to Frank Maltais, head of pre-sales at AIM Software, the SPARX relationship was initiated following a call from an informal Japanese partner in July 2005, indicating that SPARX was seeking a Bloomberg connector. AIM carried out a demonstration of GAIN for SPARX, which resulted in a free of charge test installation providing all the services needed to carry out a proof of concept (POC). “The solution was exactly what SPARX required, and worked perfectly,” Maltais says. “The question for SPARX was more around having local support.”
AIM established a Japanese operation around a year ago, headed by Alexander Wilhelm, business development manager for AIM Software Japan, and subsequently SPARX signed a contract to move to a production installation of GAIN. The implementation was carried out in December 2006, with the production installation exactly reflecting the test installation.
As well as requiring a data integration platform supporting the direct import of pricing data, static data and corporate actions from Bloomberg Data License, SPARX also required the automatic download of data from the Japanese Toyo Keizai feed. “SPARX realised it did not need a new platform to handle this local feed,” Maltais says. “The feed is text file based, so it was straightforward for GAIN to handle this without any significant work – we just built a script and GAIN was able to take over the file synchronisation and management of this feed.”
Maltais believes there is great potential for the GAIN platform in the Japanese market, and reports that two further POCs are currently under way with major institutions in Tokyo. “We are seeing the same at these institutions as we saw at SPARX: they enjoy the product, and find it easy to use and deploy,” he says, adding: “We haven’t seen any real competition for our solution in Japan; SPARX had not seen a product like ours before.” To be successful in the Japanese market localisation is very important, he continues, not just from a language perspective but to ensure the solution meets the market’s particular requirements. To this end, Wilhelm’s efforts in Japan are being bolstered by a partnership between AIM Software and a local player, Polaris.