Robert Roley, senior vice president and co-general manager at SS&C Advent, talks about how the firm is growing its offering after a series of high-profile acquisitions.
Twelve months in, how has the SS&C-Advent merger helped improve your offering?
Robert Roley, senior vice president and co-general manager, SS&C Advent: It’s been a big year, indeed! We’ve taken two 30-year-old companies and blended the best of Advent’s history of innovation and strong solutions, brand and team, with the strengths of SS&C. As one firm, we can provide more holistic solutions, inclusive of software, data and services, and extend our value proposition to clients looking for both technology solutions and operational services. Having different options about how they consume technology is important to our clients. The momentum toward combining technology with a variety of operational processes continues to grow. We have standardized the integration of Advent solutions with many SS&C offerings, including regulatory solutions, Recon for reconciliation and Varden for e-reporting. We have deep relationships with the SS&C teams that provide business process outsourcing and margin and financing services. Providing clients with easy access to these solutions and services is of tremendous value to them. The feedback we get from clients and our industry partners is that we have earned credibility and confidence over the past 12 months by continuing to service and enhance our solutions at the level they’ve come to expect over three decades. Any concerns clients might have had about a change in service levels or our record of reinvestment have been put to rest. I attribute that to the work we have done to strengthen our client-facing teams and to keep improving the products our clients depend on.
What recent enhancements have been made to improve your accounting capabilities?
Roley: Advanced accounting capabilities are at the core of our latest enhancements to Geneva, our global portfolio management solution that supports multiple currencies, transactions, instruments, and account structures. In fact, many clients are using Geneva as their investment book of record, or IBOR, facilitating increased efficiency and collaboration among groups within a firm. Geneva’s open architecture integrates seamlessly with external systems for more reliable access to a broad range of data, enabling streamlined, accurate, and controlled accounting. With the April 2016 release of Geneva, we added new, highly refined accounting functionality for complex swap and bank debt instruments, ABS and MBS, and improved asset-transferring capabilities. Significant improvements were made to Expense Manager, a comprehensive solution designed to streamline and automate the expense accrual process. We also strengthened Geneva’s hybrid fund capabilities with workflow enhancements that ease the processing of funds and enable users to easily drill through to complex investor details.
What do you currently have in development for rollout over the coming six to 12 months?
Roley: Geneva clients benefit from two releases per year, demonstrating our commitment to reinvesting in the solution. The next six- to 12-month enhancements are intended to support several key market drivers:
• International expansion and instrument coverage—We’re in the process of developing functionality serving South Africa and expanding upon robust forward FX and multi- currency functionality. Staying ahead of the derivatives market is a continued focus and in 2016 we’ll roll out several swap reset and accrual enhancements.
• Blurring lines of business—Clients increasingly want all assets on a single platform; as such, we’re expanding coverage specific to institutional asset managers and ETFs, while building upon existing hybrid funds’ functionality.
• Regulatory pressures—Geneva helps firms comply with local, regional and global regulations that demand robust data management, workflow and reporting. Enhancements to support new delayed compensation regimes for bank debt are on the horizon as well. Other modifications include automation of daily mark-to-market, support of delivery versus payment (DVP), and workflow enhancements that speed up closed-period reporting.
• Technology and scalability—Improved usability, increased transaction scalability, and software speed are examples of continuous refinements that bring clients greater flexibility. We will also release our highly anticipated Enterprise Information Store to enable easier, faster reporting from Geneva.
Over the next 12 months, what will be the main challenges facing the industry that you’ll help address?
Roley: Our clients face many challenges to grow their business with scale and efficiency, while meeting the demands of their clients and staying competitive. They are doing all of that with the backdrop of Brexit-driven volatility and what’s sure to be an interesting election year. One thing our clients are doing is exploring broader investment opportunities and strategies—including emerging markets—and more flexible fund structures for their clients. Geneva provides the strategic support to help them manage their day-to-day activities with automated systems that scale, promote efficiency, and reduce risk. Our flexible service options enable clients to tailor our services to address the specific challenges they face. W