Buy-Side Technology Awards 2014: Best Buy-Side Newcomer (Vendor or Product)—S3 Partners

The best buy-side newcomer category has, since the inaugural BST Awards back in 2007, been the toughest to win by virtue of the entry numbers it attracts—on average between 15 and 20 each year. This year is no different with a total of 17 entries. Past winners include Derivative Fitch (2007); Weeden and Co. (2008); Alphacet (2009); Knight Direct (2010); StatPro (2011); Advise Technologies (2012); and DealVector (2013)—an eclectic mix of firms servicing the buy side, illustrating the acuteness of the challenge facing entrants vying for the win.

This year’s award goes to New York-based S3 Partners, thanks to its Blacklight platform, a counterparty intelligence analytics (CIA) offering, designed to allow buy-side firms to manage their counterparty costs, risk, and relationship values, while complying with Basel III mandates relating to capital adequacy, stress-tests and liquidity risk.

Advanced data management functionality is what Blacklight is all about, with the firm’s proprietary Prime Information Exchange (PIX) protocol responsible for all the heavy lifting, capturing, cleansing, verifying and homogenizing large volumes of disparate and often complex data in any format from any prime broker or custodian, providing transparency into the securities financing market via the firm’s market composite rate. Blacklight’s self-service business intelligence platform allows clients to view analytics at an aggregate level and drill down into any business dimension on demand. Modular dashboards make analytics simple to visualize and understand, and can be exported to Microsoft Excel or PDF at any level, while on-demand reporting functionality provides users with an array of pre-formatted reports. Blacklight also features middle-office analytics functionality to benchmark and manage securities finance costs across brokers, regions, asset type, and funds, while on the risk front, it supports the capture and extraction of key terms from all counterparty contracts using the PIX protocol, and a proprietary multi-factor analysis allowing buy-side firms to continuously monitor counterparty “health.” Finally, on the compliance front, it features collateral analytics allowing asset managers to understand the costs and benefits of counterparty relationships and secure balance-sheet capacity from their various counterparties.

Clearly, a great deal of thought has gone into Blacklight, which justifiably joins the winners’ circle in one of the most important categories of the 31 on offer this year. Bob Sloan, managing partner at S3 Partners, boarded a plane at JFK, flew to London, received his firm’s award, and then hot-footed it back to Heathrow to catch a return flight to the US, illustrating the high regard his firm has for the BST Awards.

Clearly, a great deal of thought has gone into Blacklight, which justifiably joins the winners’ circle in one of the most important categories of the 31 on offer this year.
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