AFTAs 2018: Best Front-Office Initiative—SS&C Advent

Victor Anderson, Catherine Daly and Ron Farrell

In the 2017 American Financial Technology Awards, the win in the best front-office initiative category went to State Street for its Quantextual Idea Lab. This time, however, it is the turn of SS&C Advent in the winners’ circle, thanks to its cloud-based portfolio construction and rebalancing platform, Advent Genesis. 

Daniel Eriksson, vice president of solutions management at SS&C Advent, says what the firm has built is something that the market was missing. “It is a complete order creation solution built for the portfolio manager,” he says. 

The platform, which was launched in 2017, relies on mixed integer linear optimization. “The math in the optimization engine is what allows us to scale so we can rebalance over a 1000 accounts in less than a minute,” Eriksson says. “So why does it matter? Today, that would take a portfolio manager two or three hours, and if something goes wrong they have to re-run that process. It’s just a waste of time,” says Eriksson.   

The platform has exception-based capabilities so that it can identify accounts that might be moving outside the allowed drift limit in order to quickly get them back in line. “You have information around which account has cash that needs to be invested and which account needs cash based on that requirement, so you can act on that. Or simply, you might be drifting, or you might be over-weighted or under-weighted in a security, and you want to act on that. Those are examples of information flow to the portfolio manager that they can act on, without having to look at spreadsheets,” he says. 

This year, the vendor is looking to add machine-learning technology for a number of use-cases such as smart-order ticket collection based on usage patterns. According to Eriksson, many of the technology vendors operating in the capital markets are not as specialized as they used to be. Many, he says, take a hybrid approach. “For us, it has been to focus on the portfolio manager, not the order management part,” Eriksson explains. “That is different. The pure scale and speed of this is different. Not many systems out there can work at the pace or speed that we do. So that has been a key. I think the benefit that we get from being a ‘true cloud’ provider is that we are able to release every six-to-eight weeks, which will continue to allow us to stay ahead of the competition, because obviously it is a never-ending game.”  

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