Mobile Trends in Financial Services

Mobile devices haven’t just changed our personal lives, they have completely reinvented how we do business too. And within the financial services industry there are no signs of adoption slowing.

Take a look at the stats below, which speak highly to how client service and firm productivity have changed thanks to this trend.

Learn more about how your firm can benefit from the mobile revolution in our latest white paper, Mobility in Investment Management: Tracking the Trends.

Mobility and Financial Services

Posted in Advent Software, Mobile, Trends

SEC Exams: Creating your own “Warning System”

WarningOver President’s Day weekend, I joined the droves of people shopping for a new car. On this venture, I stumbled across something called the Predictive Forward Collision Warning system in a number of cars.

It had me wishing there was a system like this for our industry, a system that could detect deficiencies long before they cause disruption, that could audibly alert you, tell you exactly where they originated from, and stop the workflow – a system that could even keep you on top of the latest SEC exam priorities and regulations. Well, we may not have a fancy automated system, but let’s make the best of what we do have and create our own tool.

For starters, don’t wait until the SEC examiners come knocking to have all your ducks in a row. Stress, disruption and expense of an SEC exam can be mitigated by a constant state of preparedness. But what if you don’t have an exam policy or process in place? Here’s a quick guide to get you started on your own version of a predictive forward collision warning system.

Types of Examinations—do you know what category your firm falls under? 

  1. Cause Exams: this type of exam is the result of complaints, tips, referrals, media reports. Others looking in see a problem that needs to be fixed. AKA a firm on the receiving end of this exam is about to find themselves in an episode of Law and Order.
  2. Routine Exams: this is the type of exam for which everyone should be prepared. Firms can be expected to be chosen at random for this type of examination.
  3. Sweep Exams: the SEC hit the jackpot, whistle-blower-style. A pattern of risks has tipped them off and sparked a wider investigation across a specific industry practices or products.

You can now lay a solid foundation by addressing the most basic issues likely to alarm the SEC. Here are some red flags you can easily avoid:

  • Ensure that you do not have nor are creating any misleading advertising and marketing materials. You can use a disclosure checklist to be sure of this.
  • Double check that your template policies and procedures are in line with current regulations
  • Find or create a written Code of Ethics as well as a written manual of policies and procedures to prevent violations (avoid generalizing–these should be unique to your firm)
  • Make sure you have a strong Chief Compliance Officer
  • Put a system in place for storing and future retrieval of all business-related correspondence
  • Have or create a policy for best execution of trading practices

The SEC has arrived—now what??

  1. Acknowledge notification of an impending exam
  2. Assign the CCO to lead all meetings, discussions, and interviews with examiners
  3. Communicate to all parties that key staff are needed during an examination period
  4. Follow preparation procedures you previously put in place and assign additional responsibilities to the relevant people
  5. Hold a company-wide meeting to inform the rest of your staff about the exam and what to expect
  6. Be responsive: review your request list and ask questions if something is not clear
  7. Execute a method or system for organizing necessary documents
  8. Keep track of all correspondence between your firm and the SEC’s secure mail server
  9. Provide only what the SEC requests. Here, it is not necessary to go above and beyond
  10. Prepare a background presentation for examiners of your company and policies–do not leave them guessing
  11. Request an exit interview
  12. Consider submitting a request for exclusion from the Freedom of Information Act

So how likely is it really for the SEC to actually come knocking? Note that it is very difficult to predict when your firm will be examined by the SEC. In 2013, on average, an advisor was examined every 12.5 years. With that said, don’t take this stat as sly encouragement to procrastinate—this gap has drawn criticism from the investing public, industry players, Congress, and from within the SEC itself.

You’re now on your way to your own version of predictive forward collision warning system, but a few reminders to keep top of mind: ALWAYS have a policy and procedures in place for exam preparation, create a culture of positivity around regulatory examination, and be very transparent with your own team and with examiners about requests and expectations. With this guide, you’re already a step ahead of the game.

For a breakdown of 2015 SEC exam priorities, join Advent and former SEC Branch Chief Examiner, Timothy Simons of Focus 1 Associates in a webinar on Thursday, February 26, 2015. Register here.

Kendall has leveraged her passion for writing along with her background working with enterprise cloud technologies to strengthen Advent’s external communications.

Posted in Advent Software, Compliance, Focus 1, Risk

Advent Software to Join SS&C Technologies

logo-sscI am pleased to share that, earlier today, SS&C’s CEO and Chairman Bill Stone and I announced that we have entered into a definitive agreement under which SS&C will acquire Advent. This is an exciting opportunity for Advent to expand and accelerate the value we offer you, and I would like to share the rationale for the acquisition and why I am convinced this will be to the benefit of all our clients.

Since our founding, Advent has been focused on helping our clients thrive, working to help you run your businesses as successfully as possible. Over the years, we have earned the trust of thousands of firms like yours by making good on our commitment to enhancing your existing Advent solutions and bringing new capabilities to market that help you further streamline operations and meet the demands of your clients.

I see the combination of Advent and SS&C as a powerful team that can take a big leap forward in the value proposition we offer the industry. As I’ve heard from so many of you in recent years, the investment management industry is evolving rapidly and under ever-increasing pressure, whether from margin or fee compression, shifting regulatory standards, or expansions into new products or lines of business. We know you need more complete and flexible solutions from us to navigate these market dynamics, and that’s what makes this acquisition so exciting. SS&C has a rich history of delivering a leading combination of people, process, and technology that complements Advent’s existing solutions, and the additional scale and resources we will have as a united team will accelerate our ability to provide the industry with game-changing solutions for your business.

Advent will operate as an independent business unit within SS&C, continuing to focus on the markets we serve and delivering the innovation and quality you expect across our product and service offerings. As we move forward and dig more deeply into the capabilities of each other’s solutions sets, I look forward to sharing ways that we can further expand the value we offer you by integrating SS&C’s industry-leading solutions and services.

While the transaction is still subject to shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in Advent’s second fiscal quarter. Our teams will be working closely together in the coming weeks and months, and we will update you on our progress accordingly. Please know that while we may not have all the answers immediately, we are committed to remaining the partner you trust and to accelerating the industry-leading innovation that you expect from us.

Advent exists to deliver solutions that help the investment management industry thrive and transform. SS&C is acquiring Advent so that we can jointly accelerate our ability to fulfill that mission by sharing each other’s capabilities and assets. This is good news for our shared future, and we look forward to working hard to prove it to you in the coming months and years.

Thank you,
Pete Hess

Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the transaction, the Company intends to file relevant materials with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including a preliminary proxy statement on Schedule 14A.  Promptly after filing its definitive proxy statement with the SEC, the Company will mail the definitive proxy statement and a proxy card to each stockholder entitled to vote at the special meeting relating to the transaction.  INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF THE COMPANY ARE URGED TO READ THESE MATERIALS (INCLUDING ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS THERETO) AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION THAT THE COMPANY WILL FILE WITH THE SEC WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMPANY AND THE TRANSACTION.  The definitive proxy statement, the preliminary proxy statement and other relevant materials in connection with the transaction (when they become available), and any other documents filed by the Company with the SEC, may be obtained free of charge at the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov) or through the investor relations section of the Company’s website (http://www.advent.com).

Participants in the Solicitation
The Company and its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Company’s stockholders with respect to the transaction.  Information about the Company’s directors and executive officers and their ownership of the Company Common Stock is set forth in the Company’s proxy statement on Schedule 14A filed with the SEC on March 27, 2014.  Information regarding the identity of the potential participants, and their direct or indirect interests in the transaction, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the proxy statement and other materials to be filed with SEC in connection with the transaction.

Forward-Looking Statements
The communication above contains “forward-looking statements,” relating to the acquisition of Advent by SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. All statements other than historical facts included in this communication, including, but not limited to, statements regarding the timing and the closing of the transaction, the expected benefits of the transaction, prospective performance and future business plans, and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing, are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown, or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the parties’ expectations and projections. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, uncertainties regarding the timing of the closing of the transaction, uncertainties as to the Company’s stockholder approval of the transaction; the possibility that various closing conditions to the merger may not be satisfied or waived, including that a governmental entity may prohibit, delay, or refuse to grant approval for the consummation of the transaction; that there is a material adverse change to the Company; that the integration of Advent’s business into SS&C is not as successful as expected; the failure of SS&C to achieve the expected financial and commercial results from the transaction; other business effects, including effects of industry, economic or political conditions outside the company’s control; transaction costs; actual or contingent liabilities; as well as other cautionary statements contained elsewhere herein and in the companies’ periodic reports filed with the SEC including the factors set forth in the Company’s most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q and the proxy statement to be filed by the Company. These forward-looking statements reflect the Company’s expectations as of the date of this communication. Advent undertakes no obligation to update the information provided herein. Additional information about Advent is available at www.advent.com.

Posted in Advent Software

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