SimCorp Coric won two categories at this year’s BST Awards: best client reporting platform and best implementation at a buy-side firm, thanks to its work with Marathon Asset Management. Victor Anderson chats to Stuart Keeler about life in the SimCorp stable, the often overlooked art of collaborating with clients, and the extent to which Mifid II is likely to impact the client reporting practices.
Coric has been part of the SimCorp stable for a few years now. How was the transition from Equipos into a much larger entity, and to what extent have synergies been realized as part of the new ownership?
Stuart Keeler, managing director, SimCorp Coric: With a focus on organic growth, SimCorp has not made many acquisitions during its 40-year history. So, from the outset, it was essential to preserve the value in the business, which meant retaining the employees and expertise in client communications while leveraging administrative functions.
Importantly, it was agreed to keep SimCorp Coric as a separate business unit with its own development, delivery, and sales capability. We made sure that the only impact on clients would be a positive one, and I firmly believe we have delivered on that promise. The acquisition was a total success however you choose to measure it, and it has been important to our clients that we have retained the agility and domain knowledge to innovate and develop our solution, with the backing of a financially strong, global firm.
SimCorp Coric won the coveted best implementation category in this year’s awards thanks to the work it did with Marathon Asset Management. What are the keys that SimCorp Coric typically focuses on when rolling out the platform at a buy-side client?
Keeler: The key to a successful project comes down to the relationship and expectations. In Marathon we had a client that wanted to change the way they work and bring in a new operating model alongside SimCorp Coric. This meant that they were able to get the most out of the solution. Working together, we could show significant automation, which reduced some elements of work from weeks to days. Managing expectations also requires strong project governance so that any decisions to change or extend scope would be considered in the wider context of timing and costs.
The project also retained oversight from senior management, meaning that co-operative and collaborative interaction between the two organizations was maintained throughout the project. The result is that Marathon is very happy with the system, the efficiencies it has brought, and the enhanced client reports that are now being produced and distributed each month/quarter to its clients.
SimCorp Coric typically replaces a lot of ageing, legacy client reporting platforms at buy-side firms. What does it offer buy-side firms that they wouldn’t be able to produce with their incumbent platforms?
Keeler: Put simply, we provide the ability to transform a firm’s reporting and provide a flexible and performant solution. We can provide highly sophisticated report templates and workflows to optimize usage of the system. Marathon is a prime example. With transparency and governance dominating investors’ minds, delivering innovative client reporting is becoming ever more crucial for the buy side. It is frustrating when firms want to replace a 10-year-old solution but insist on keeping the processes and outputs identical to what they replace. In the long term, firms like Marathon, that recognize their investor’s needs, and make the change now, will be the ones to succeed.
What ‘s in the offing for 2018 for SimCorp Coric, bearing in mind that we will be in the Mifid II era from the start of next year?
Keeler: 2018 will be a significant year in terms of new releases for SimCorp Coric. We are focused on improving the user experience for our clients to further enable the simple and efficient management of the end-to-end client reporting process. This commitment will see a brand new and intuitive user interface introduced so that SimCorp Coric is easy to use even by infrequent users. We are continuously investing in key areas of the product, meaning there are also various upcoming enhancements to our digital offering. With clients demanding real-time, online updates on their portfolios’ performance, the improved digital channels offered by the SimCorp Coric solution, such as self-service reporting, will enable this and help firms to reduce cost and improve responsiveness and the overall experience offered to clients.
To summarize, a lot is happening in development, so you should expect to see some big news as we get into mid-2018.
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