BST Awards 2018: Best Buy-Side OMS—Charles River Development

Martin Bayfield, Rudolf Kilchherr, and Sue Hillwood

Taking the crown in the best buy-side OMS category at this year’s Buy-Side Technology Awards is Boston-based Charles River Development, which wrested the title from last year’s victor, IHS Markit, thanks to its Charles River Investment Management Solution (Charles River IMS), an offering that features an Order and Execution Management System (OEMS) with integrated data, FIX connectivity and trade analytics. Charles River, now part of State Street after this year’s $2.6 billion acquisition, last won this category in 2015.

Gavin Lavelle, managing director for EMEA at Charles River, says the biggest driver this year with respect to the firm’s OEMS has been regulation, where it has added support primarily around the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II). “Mifid II was the biggest thing for us and it was important that we integrated support for it into the system,” he says. “We incorporated it into the OEMS and we have a large number of customers interested in the solution.” 

Lavelle notes that the firm’s Mifid II solution has around 40 customers on it so far. New capabilities added to the OEMS also include analytics to simplify investment management processes, allowing clients to create orders for options chains or multi-leg futures and options, and foreign-exchange and money-market trades based on cash-flow forecasts. It also allows them to optimize workflows with order and price alerts, validate compliance, monitor research commission targets, and ensure best execution and trade reporting for Mifid II compliance. 

Lavelle explains that buy-side firms are currently demanding more from their existing providers and are looking to rationalize vendor numbers as a way of simplifying their operating environments. Charles River has heeded this call by integrating systems and the functions it supports into the Charles River IMS, which won the category of the same name in the 2016 BST Awards. The platform is designed to automate the investment process between the front and middle offices, allowing clients to manage portfolio management and risk functions within the same application. It also streamlines communication between portfolio managers and traders so that the status of orders can be monitored in real time, while detailed compliance functions can be carried out across the trade lifecycle. 

But unquestionably the most far-reaching change to Charles River, arguably since its founding back in 1984, was its acquisition by State Street in July this year. “With the merger with State Street, we can consolidate more of our offerings,” Lavelle explains. “We can do more for enterprise front and back offices since we can plug into their products, and I believe we will be uniquely positioned to go to asset managers and run everything that they need.” 

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