Advent’s Geneva: Building for the Future

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I want to take a moment to echo Pete Hess’ sentiments of enthusiasm and hope for our future as part of SS&C, and reaffirm our commitment to Advent’s Geneva. We truly believe in our shared future and are committed to delivering on our promise to our clients to help them succeed.

As head of solutions and client experience for the institutional and alternative asset management markets, I can confidently say, we are building for tomorrow. Our mission has never faltered – to transform the investment management industry with innovative solutions and services. With that in mind, I want to reiterate our commitment to Advent’s Geneva and paint a picture of where we are going.

Since its inception, Geneva has evolved to address a wide spectrum of business needs – from front office decision support and portfolio management, middle office automation through trade capture and reconciliation, to full portfolio, fund and investor accounting and reporting. We have invested and are continuing to invest in research and development to keep it a leading solution for the world’s most dynamic investment managers. Geneva product development, along with integration with SS&C capabilities which we are actively pursuing, is full force ahead – we’re expanding our functionality and our global footprint to so that both our current and future clients will reap the benefits.

Our clients have been at the forefront of driving the direction of Geneva’s product development and value of our semi-annual releases. Most notably, Advent Direct Community has been instrumental for collaborating and connecting with our clients on product ideas and business priorities. To match market changes and our clients’ unique business needs, we are developing and polishing capabilities that can help our clients consolidate multiple platforms and eliminate cumbersome workarounds and manual processes. We are progressing enhancements to optimize handling of private equity investments, adding greater flexibility in accounting for swaps, bank debt, FX and global fixed income, and have broadened Geneva’s fund accounting capabilities to include hybrid fund structures.

We recently added hosting capabilities so that we can offer our clients a simplified experience and give them more time to focus on what they do best, by doing what we do best. If our clients feel they have realized a true return on their investment with us, then we have done our jobs right.

Coming out of last week’s acquisition close, I didn’t think I could be more excited about the direction of Advent products and the addition of complementary SS&C capabilities and support. Then last Thursday, Geneva was awarded Best Accounting Provider in the 2015 Waters Ranking by our clients and industry peers, which is a true honor. It re-affirms that we have been providing unparalleled value and has energized us as we move forward as part of SS&C. We have been a trusted source of investment management solutions, and we intend to remain so with the support and collaboration of the broader SS&C organization.

I personally cannot wait to see the places we – Advent, SS&C, and our clients – will go.

Robert joined Advent in 2001 and now leads the global solutions management and client experience teams for the institutional and alternative asset management market group. Responsible for designing solutions on and around Advent’s award-winning portfolio accounting platforms and ensuring that Advent’s solutions continue to keep pace with the rapid change in the market, Robert is also chartered with making sure our clients get the full value of their relationship with Advent through superior service and support.

Posted in Advent Software, Advent Software, Advent Software, Asset Managers, Hedge Funds

Ushering in a New Era with SS&C

logo-sscI want to take a moment today to shed light on the completion of SS&C’s acquisition of Advent, the next chapter of our relationship as a joint entity, and my appreciation of the outpouring of support from the industry and our valued clients.

Thirty two years ago, Stephanie DiMarco founded Advent on the basis of three standout principles – helping our clients succeed, our employees grow, and our investors thrive in an effort to transform the investment management industry. These principles have not wavered, but as the industry changes, we are beckoned to as well – with the confidence that Advent and our clients will be better for it.

As a business unit within SS&C, we’ll usher in this new era by combining capabilities with SS&C.  This is a company with many complementary software solutions that has proven its expertise in deployment and outsourcing services. If you combine that with what we do best – software – you can see our potential to become an even more valuable leader in financial services technology. Going forward, we will be able to integrate with their best-of-breed, complementary applications, to exponentially extend the reach and value of our core solutions and better serve our clients, the lifeblood of Advent as a company.

In order to reach our goals and deliver on our promises, we’ve realigned our team to organize around two market segments – one focused on high-net-worth advisors and wealth managers, and the other focused on institutional and alternative asset managers. The market teams will transcend specific products to focus more holistically on the unique needs of your business – the pressures you face from your clients, regulators, competitors, and others – and will be laser-focused on delivering solutions to better help you to compete and thrive.

Today, Advent has the opportunity to accelerate our pace of innovation and be better than we’ve ever been. Together with SS&C, Advent will emerge as a stronger partner for the industry and for our clients, holding steadfast to our promise to help them grow and succeed. I’m personally excited for Advent to take a big leap forward in continuing the mission we started, and I hope you are equally excited to take this next step in this new phase of change, growth, and innovation.

Many thanks for your continued confidence and trust in the Advent team.

As CEO and President of Advent Software, Pete Hess has responsibility for vision, strategy and execution across Advent’s global business. Follow Pete on Twitter.

Posted in Advent Software

Social Media, Your New Recruiting Tool

recruitingYou know social media helps advisors attract new clients–but did you know it can help firms attract new talent as well? It can be a powerful recruiting tool that also works as a selling point for your firm to attract the next generation of advisors. It shows your firm is forward-looking and planning for the future.

I can anticipate your questions already: How do I get started? Where do I find the right audience? Will it cost me anything? How do I “sell” my company via social media?

Whether you are part of small or large firm, your employees should have up-to-date profiles on LinkedIn. For smaller firms, it’s important to have as many people as possible on LinkedIn to represent the company. Your experts should be your stars—they are the face of your company and potential advisors will associate them with your firm. They should be sharing from their own profiles—the more personal and relatable, the farther the reach across audiences (I’m talking 30-70% more vs. posts from the company page)[1].

Where do you find the right audience? There are a number of cost-free ways to find the next generation of advisors: Meet-ups, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Glassdoor searches and more. There are paid tools as well: LinkedIn Recruiters, LinkedIn Sales Navigators, and Facebook and Twitter ads. All of these tools can expose you to your current clients’ connections as well as new groups of connections.

How do you “sell” your company via social media? You might be starting to mock up the messaging and positioning for your products and services, but let me stop you right there. Talking about your products, services, returns, isn’t a necessity. In fact, it could get you in trouble, so stray from doing so. The next generation, more than ever, wants you to be a part of their community. And if you break into their space, they will trust you and like you more for it.

What exactly do I mean? Your firm’s advisors should humanize themselves—present themselves as being real, approachable and relatable, and as a source of reliable information. They can do this by posting pictures of themselves, and what they’re doing, by talking about events and happenings in the office, and local community activities they’re participating in. Company heads and team leads should share success stories, and recognition of their employees for their hard work in and out of the office.

I encourage you to take a leap of faith and try one of the tactics I’ve mentioned. There’s no harm in trying, something great might come of it (in the form of new talent and what’s not to love about that?). And always remember, content is more engaging when you use images. Don’t miss an opportunity to grab your potential employees’ attention.

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See what I did there? If you smiled, my plan worked! So what do you have planned to attract the next generation of advisors to your firm?

For more tips and tricks on Attracting the Next Generation of Advisors, check out our recent webinar with social media experts Joanna Belbey and Phil Gerbyshak of Actiance.

[1] LinkedIn Finance Connect

Miguel Rodriguez leads Advent’s social media program. In his role, Miguel is responsible for Advent’s social presence including TwitterFacebookLinkedInYouTube, and Advent’s blogFollow Miguel on Twitter.

 

Posted in Advent Software, Advisors, Social Media, Trends

Innovation Without Purpose – Don’t Fight A Losing Battle

The concept of innovation makes me cringe a little. I picture a boss walking into a fictional office space, with an animated smile, reminding everyone, “let’s be innovative today.”

Don’t get me wrong, innovation is worth striving for in all areas of business whether it’s product development, marketing, or sales, yet the word innovation seems to have lost its true meaning. So what does it take to make innovation truly impressive as oppose to a total flop?

To start, it helps to know what you are trying to do (other than just being innovative, of course). I read recently that if you want to be innovative at work, you should begin by figuring out why. It sounds so obvious, but I suspect this isn’t always the case. Take bottled water for pets. I’m guessing most dogs aren’t asking for the filtered stuff. More likely, the manufacturers thought it would appeal to the ever-doting dog owner who already cooks up human food for man’s best friend. But realistically, with no real purpose and demand, it was kind of a superfluous attempt at innovation.

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You could also ‘be innovative now and figure out why later,’ but not only is that a big gamble, you might be challenged for inspiration if you don’t have target clientele. I’m looking at you Heinz’s purple ketchup.

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Or you might produce something amazing for which there is zero appetite to use or buy.

I recently heard in a presentation, Top Ten Technology Initiatives for Asset Management in 2015, by CEB TowerGroup about something called an “innovation gap.” At a basic level, it’s the difference between what people want, but don’t have intention to buy, and what they want and will buy. The concept is interesting, but I think the explanation of the “gap” was oversimplified, presented as “a simple function of the fact that the two inputs (priorities and budget) are out of alignment and can easily be brought together.” I think there’s more to it than that.

In my opinion, the innovation gap is better explained by the difference between functional benefit and emotional appeal. If you are only trying to innovate to impress in a demo – i.e. to sell those things that have high emotional appeal – you have to hope that the actual benefit and value will somehow catch up to the level of appeal. You can’t focus so much on designing a product that delivers the “WOW factor” that you forget to make sure it actually delivers the real benefits clients will feel years down the road. In the end I think it comes down to this: satisfying someone’s emotional needs should supplement, not replace, a functional foundation that your clients will see value in and be willing to invest in over the long term. If you can’t achieve this then you need to ask yourself, “why be innovative at all?”

At Advent, innovation wasn’t the result of a leader telling us to ‘go innovate.’ It happened when we tackled a challenge that we knew mattered, created an environment, and assembled a team that could make it happen. Another common thread was that we – and our clients – felt better at the end of the project than we did at the start because we solved more problems than we set out to work on. The way Geneva handles correcting mistakes is a perfect example. When we worked with one of the largest hedge funds in the world to implement Geneva, they told us that due to one function of the platform we designed differently from our competitors, many people on their team gained 30 minutes of time back each day. The firm benefited by freeing up a meaningful amount of time for its employees, which turned out to be a real morale booster.

By focusing on solving specific problems, we’ve uncovered some of our greatest achievements. Take Advent Custodial Data. Back in the ‘90s we knew clients wanted an efficient way to download data from counterparties. So we solved the problem in a different way – via a hosted, multi-tenant environment (now called the Cloud!). We weren’t necessarily trying to be innovative, we were trying to make it easier for people to use our software, but it turned out to be a massive innovation.

That is what Advent has been doing for over 30 years – creating the kinds of innovation that help our clients thrive.  It’s why folks choose us, and more importantly, stay with us.

Robert joined Advent in 2001 and now leads the US product management and solutions consulting groups, responsible for designing solutions on and around Advent’s award-winning portfolio accounting platforms and ensuring that Advents solutions continue to keep pace with the rapid change in the market.

Posted in Advent Software, Trends

Data Services and the Cloud: The Perfect Package?

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Quick access. Self-service. Resource pooling. Scalability and elasticity. Cost reduction. Agility.

Sounds like the perfect package—and for many companies it is. The concept of data-as-a-service—providing on-demand access to data from a variety of sources—has spread like wildfire and made it a no brainer to leverage the cloud for improved efficiencies.

However, for investment management firms, it’s not always this simple. Data control and compliance time and again has come up as the top concern for firms considering the cloud. And since solutions delivered via the cloud, with the goals of increases efficiencies for all, isn’t going to let up anytime soon, it will become an imperative for firms to get on board.

With this in mind, I thought I’d tap into insight from our own Nilang Patel, whose expertise on the cloud make him the perfect person for this last post of the data series. He’ll provide you with some final pieces of information regarding data management, and hopefully diffuse any concerns that may have crossed your mind about its association with the cloud.

Kendall: Should investment management firms invest in a locally deployed data management system or a hosted solution? We talk a lot about the benefits of moving to the cloud, but with regard to data which is a better option?

Nilang: Cloud-based solutions are becoming increasingly popular in our industry because of the intrinsic benefits to their infrastructure – quick access, singular connectivity to multiple sources, automation of data collection and deployment, reduction of costs and deficiencies associated with locally-installed software, and more. The cloud also reduces the risk of workplace disasters and allows for greater scalability and flexibility, all of which can translate into better client service. There’s an upward trend of data integration vendors and warehouses converting their capabilities to the cloud or developing new solutions in the cloud for firms looking to dramatically improve their current in-house operations. This model greatly reduces costs and improves data access for firms. For example, if a market data provider adds new data sources or enhanced reporting tools, cloud service providers need only make one update through a shared services in contrast to multiple manual updates needed for a locally-installed solution – which becomes costly and inefficient for both service providers and clients

The cloud also allows firms to scale quickly and meet investor’s demands in a timelier manner. In the process, it eliminates the necessity for IT teams to engineer systems to handle peak loads. The cloud frees up time and money for better resource allocation across firms, cuts down on time-to-market, and offers mobile access.

Lastly, I’d say that cloud solutions offer one single connection to multiple data sources, which eliminates much complexity. Without the cloud, many firm employees find themselves navigating through a maze of connections to multiple data sources, all with their own unique interfaces. Cloud solutions can also simplify business operations by providing a two-way workflow so that investment firms can better communicate with data providers, custodians, counterparties and most importantly clients. They reduce costs associated with on-site installation of data management systems by eliminating overhead needed to maintain them.

Kendall: So how secure is the cloud for the investment community?

Nilang: I get this question a lot. As a starting point, everybody should recognize that no system can be 100% invulnerable from a breach whether locally installed or cloud deployed. That said, security standards that govern the cloud are rapidly evolving given the fact that this technology model sits at the center of almost every industry. Think about it–99% of your interaction with technology is through a web-based solution in both your personal and business life. However, given the special considerations surrounding investment information, firms should be diligent about understanding what providers are doing to ensure their data is secure.

Providers are continually working to develop and test protections. Meanwhile, cloud data centers have implemented a number of measures, including surveillance cameras, background checks, strict authentication of staff, and others, to ensure they can detect and stave off cyber security risks should they arise. When choosing a solution, firms should make sure the cloud provider obtains a security and controls assessment to oversee the movement of their data as well.

Kendall: So do you see investment management firms jumping at the opportunity to move to the cloud? What do you think is the comfort level with the cloud across the financial industry?

Nilang: Investment managers, traders, and IT departments really like the on-demand, real-time aspect of the cloud. They can work on projects and not worry about the data getting lost. Risk analytics, meeting compliance requirements, performance attribution of investment strategies, you name it, are all ongoing projects that involve robust amounts of data, and the cloud is effective for this. However, teams accustomed to legacy systems and often operationally intensive processes may not see the same advantages to the cloud right off the bat.

Data control comes up a lot in conversation. It can be a bit daunting for firms to transfer all core systems and data to the cloud. It’s completely understandable given the importance of these systems and the data they contain. So we see firms taking a phased approach to leverage cloud-based solutions. Smaller firms are more quickly adopting these technologies given the efficiency gains offered, but larger firms take a phased approach—moving some operations to the cloud, not core ones, and then evaluating their performance. However, as the decision to move to the cloud plays out, it’s important for firms to have done their research about security and compliance, and what type of cloud infrastructure is most suitable enterprise-wide.

 

For more information security in the cloud, check out A Clearer View: Security, compliance and the cloud.

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, Trends

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