UnaVista, part of the London Stock Exchange Group, Axioma and SS&C Eze emerged top in the three categories that focus on technologies introduced over the past 12 months at the 2018 American Financial Technology Awards. UnaVista’s win came on the back of its three-way reconciliation service, launched to help firms comply with aspects of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Mifir), specifically their reconciliation obligations under Mifir regulatory technical standard 22 article 15, while Axioma’s came courtesy of its axiomaBlue cloud-based infrastructure environment, designed to act as an intermediary layer, using application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect and manage individual technologies from various providers.
SS&C Eze’s win was down to its buy-side-focused Eze Eclipse platform, a cloud-native offering that supports hedge funds’ full investment lifecycles, viewable by way of a single web-browser interface, offering them access to analytics on performance measurement, execution and real-time market insights, including valuations, profit and loss (P&L), and position-level exposure.
Below are the write-ups detailing the three products responsible for delivering the category wins for UnaVista, Axioma, and SS&C Eze.
UnaVista – Best New Technology Introduced over the Last 12 months (Data and Operations)
As 2018 has now come to a close, the year has seen capturing data and regulatory reporting obligations occupy large numbers of capital markets participants, especially with the introduction of the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Mifir) on January 3, 2018. A year on, and the regulatory burden has shown little signs of subsiding. UnaVista, the regulatory reporting arm of London Stock Exchange Group Technology, is a familiar name in this space, and over the past 12 months has dedicated its efforts to develop its Mifir three-way reconciliation service to help firms comply with their reconciliation requirements under Mifir RTS 22 article 15. This latest functionality, aimed at tackling a complex data problem and minimizing compliance breaks, has helped UnaVista win the AFTA for the best new technology introduced over the last 12 months (data and operations).
Maryse Gordon, senior pre-sales and business development manager at UnaVista, explains that the three-way functionality captures and reconciles data from three key data points: a firm’s internal system, the data records submitted to UnaVista from one or multiple firms, and extracts of the reports filed with regulators. The technology’s core objective is to ensure consistency of data quality throughout the process, reduce the likeliness of compliance breaks, and deliver clear visibility of reporting failures. “The process of submitting data is one aspect of regulatory reporting where firms need to do their due diligence to ensure that what they have reported is quality data, is accurate data, is complete data, and is also submitted in a timely fashion,” Gordon explains. “So one way to do that completeness check is to use reconciliation services such as UnaVista, which allows for post-reporting using three-way reconciliation on a T+1 [basis].”
Built using a modular approach, the UnaVista platform is regulator-agnostic and can be adapted to support multiple jurisdictions, asset classes and products. Looking ahead, the provider plans to continue rolling out its Securities Financing and Transactions Regulation offering and focus on developing its data and analytics capabilities to allow clients to benchmark and compare their reporting performances with those of their peers. “Data and analytics are going to be a very big part of our strategy for 2019 and beyond,” says Gordon. “We are looking at enhancing the visualization of data, creating new products from it to allow our clients to gain deeper levels of insight into their reporting activity, but also using that information to make decisions about where to take their business.”
Axioma – Best New Technology Introduced over the Last 12 months (Infrastructure)
For many capital markets firms, irrespective of whether they are from the buy side or sell side, legacy systems are invariably the cause of inefficiency, inflexibility and unnecessary cost. It is therefore now more important than ever for market participants and the technology providers servicing them to build and deploy open and flexible technologies that support interoperability, customizable investment strategies and operational scalability. Axioma’s cloud-based axiomaBlue platform has hit the ground running in this space since its launch in October last year, winning the 2018 best new technology introduced over the last 12 months (infrastructure) category at the AFTAs.
Sebastian Ceria, founder and CEO of Axioma, describes axiomaBlue as a cloud-native environment that functions similar to a computer’s operating systems. He explains that it is designed to act as an intermediary layer, using application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect and manage individual technologies from various providers. The platform allows multiple applications to more easily interoperate with each other, supporting data consistency across all embedded systems, including front-to-back office operations. “The key today is infrastructures that are open,” says Ceria. “That means whatever piece of technology you put in a client’s system, they have to be able to interact and interoperate with other tools from other vendors in a seamless and consistent fashion. Otherwise, the choice is a monolithic platform that becomes all-encompassing, rigid and the client becomes completely dependent on one vendor.” The infrastructure service offers clients a variety of integrated modules and packages relating to security, interoperability, scalability, and transparency. It is currently available with Axioma’s API-first risk product, and features new business intelligence and dashboard capabilities.
Recently, Axioma’s complete technology suite was added to the platform, which covers risk management, performance attribution, and customized analytics, as well as portfolio construction and optimization. Additionally, the open architecture is developed to allow third-party vendors to more easily integrate their technologies such as order management systems, accounting platforms and investment books of records. Going forward, Axioma intends to continue introducing additional capabilities to axiomaBlue and forge strong alliances with technology partners by adding their services to the platform. Ceria explains that Axioma is currently in talks with OpenFin, a provider of desktop workspace applications, to collaborate and integrate its services. “One objective is to increase the number of Axioma services on the platform and the second is to illustrate its openness by bringing partner applications on top of the infrastructure,” he adds.
SS&C Eze – Best New Technology Introduced over the Last 12 months (Trading and Risk)
Buy-side firms have spent decades trying to consolidate and streamline their front-to-back office operations. The value of such an achievement enables hedge funds and traditional asset managers to develop complete visibility of performance, risk and regulatory compliance through the adoption of unified platforms. SS&C Eze, formerly Eze Software, has taken this concept one step further with the development of its Eze Eclipse platform, tailored to meet the needs of startup hedge funds focused on equity and event-driven markets. In the year-and-a-half since its launch in June 2017, the offering has garnered attention for its growing risk and investment management capabilities, and this year its hard work has paid off as it takes home the award for best new technology introduced over the last 12 months (trading and risk) at the 2018 AFTAs.
Built on cloud-native technology, Eclipse supports the full investment lifecycle, viewable through a single web browser interface. Designed with a holistic approach in mind and aimed at minimizing total cost of ownership, the platform can be configured and customized to fit clients’ needs at various stages in their growth. Portfolio managers can tailor investment strategies by adjusting portfolio, custodial and strategy-level allocations and leveraging Eclipse’s order-routing capabilities. Supplemented by ICE Data Services, clients have access to built-in analytics on performance measurements, execution and real-time market insights, including valuations, profit and loss, and position-level exposure. Eze Eclipse sits on an internal investment book of record platform that allows for complete visibility and management of risk and regulatory compliance. It provides configurable pre- and post-trade compliance checks and enables clients to monitor positions throughout the transaction lifecycle.
Eric Christofferson, managing director of product and engineering at SS&C Eze, explains that the firm works closely with clients to consistently improve the platform’s functionality and uses an Agile approach to bring those solutions to market quickly. In one example, he highlights the fact that the provider dedicated a large amount of time to developing the front-end of the platform based on users’ specific requirements. “We have focused pretty heavily on the user experience and tailoring workflows so that clients have all the data they require at their fingertips,” he says. “We have focused heavily on how to navigate through the application to find what you need as easily as possible and implement an action very quickly.”
Looking to 2019, SS&C Eze expects to roll out the offering across the EMEA and APAC markets and continue to expand its asset class coverage, including support for credit instruments and futures.
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