Buy-Side Technology Awards 2014: Best Buy-Side Reconciliation Platform/Service—Electra Information Systems

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Victor Anderson, Andrew Kaufmann, Gabriel Khanan and Brian Moore.

It’s been a busy few years for Electra Information Systems. From a large-scale implementation with AQR—covered extensively by Waters in 2013—through to forming an alliance with Eagle Investment Systems and hiring a new COO in the form of Scott Rhodes, the New York-headquartered firm has been making waves. Thanks to its flagship Electra Reconciliations platform, Electra has unseated long-time winner SmartStream to take the honors in the best buy-side reconciliation platform category in this year’s awards.

The name may not be instantly familiar to Waters’ readers, but its previous moniker, STaARS, certainly will be, the company having been around since 1998. Electra underwent a corporate rebrand at the end of May, introducing a simpler system of reference for its core products, but the technology base is essentially the same. Electra Reconciliation can be best described as flexible at its core, with a variety of options for clients to take for receiving the software. In-house installations, software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery, managed services and scalable versions for start-up businesses are all catered for.

Once embedded, the software allows for the management of trade exceptions based on individually defined parameters and rules. Breaks are displayed with the effect on both cash and security positions in a single view, allowing for rapid resolution, while the progress of reconciliation processes are displayed in real-time for reconciliations officers. Automation is at the heart of Electra Reconciliation—the platform is designed not to support Microsoft Excel-based reconciliation operations, which are still prevalent, but to mechanize and replace them through its front-end.

When compared to certain celebrated areas across the buy side such as alpha-generation functions, risk management, performance or large-scale infrastructure projects, reconciliation is unlikely to set the pulse racing. However, what cannot be disputed is its critical supporting role within any compliant and efficient buy-side organization, particularly given regulatory measures of late that require fast and accurate reconciliation data for reporting purposes. The platform also caters for this through its dynamic and historical snapshot options, allowing data capture from current and past reconciliations.

Electra, in more than a few ways, represents the general technology trend in buy-side firms, in that it fully supports the move from manually intensive, risk-prone processes that cannot support the scale and complexity now evident in markets, into the modern age. Its sophistication, impressive client base—both in terms of overall client numbers and new firms signed over the last 12 months—and flexibility make it a worthy winner of this year’s category.

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