BST Awards 2018: Best Buy-Side Client Reporting Platform—FactSet

FactSet has snatched back the best buy-side client reporting platform title at this year’s BST Awards from last year’s winner, SimCorp, thanks to its Vermilion Reporting Suite (VRS), Vermilion Software’s flagship offering, which it acquired in November 2016 for $67 million. McKay Marschalk, vice president, regional director at FactSet, says many asset managers are faced with challenges around market volatility, the rise of passive investing and a proliferation of technologies and platforms. For example, he says, many struggle to achieve operational scale in their client reporting and marketing teams. “Our clients are being asked to produce increasingly sophisticated and customized reports without significant increases in resources, and they are turning to technologies that empower business users to efficiently and transparently automate processes to improve the overall client service experience,” he says. 

When starting a new partnership with a client, FactSet initially aims to understand the specific pain points of the client’s current reporting process. It then takes a collaborative approach to design a target operating model to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for each client’s unique processes, data, and technology ecosystem. 

Marschalk says FactSet has seen growth in the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to acquire data as well as distribute reports to downstream systems like customer relationship management platform and portals. “As the market moves toward a more open framework, our clients have been able to take advantage of FactSet’s robust and growing support for web services to create more dynamic processes,” he says. “This is in line with our overarching strategy to serve our clients in a holistic solution, while also integrating with proprietary and third-party data and systems.” 

FactSet is working on making its data and analytical engines more accessible to clients in more ways, to fit their preferred processes and technical architectures. It released version 4.3 of VRS this year, which includes enhancements to tools such as its pitchbook-creation service V:Pitch, and vTemplate, both of which allow clients to save time and reduce errors, as well as increase their efficiency when servicing a growing asset base. 

He adds that the Vermilion team and the broader FactSet organization are increasingly tapping into each other’s core strengths in order to provide the best possible client experience. “As we service Vermilion users, we strategically leverage FactSet’s local market expertise by tapping into a global footprint of over 60 offices spread across six continents,” he says. “At the same time, the Vermilion team lends our expertise in applying best-of-breed reporting technology to FactSet colleagues and clients alike.” 

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