BST Awards 2019: Best integrated front-office platform—Charles River

Front Office

While Charles River has been distinguished in these awards previously as having the best integrated front-office platform—winning in 2012 and 2016—this marks the first time it is taking home the honor since State Street acquired the vendor last year. But that was the big reason why the Boston-based bank was so keen to buy its neighbor: The Charles River Investment Management Solution offers a robust set of front-office tools that connect with one another, and with its middle- and back-office functions.

Margin compression continues to erode profits for global asset managers, increasing the pace of mergers and acquisitions across the industry, says Gavin Lavelle, managing director for sales in EMEA. As firms tie together systems, they often grapple with legacy technology, multiple point solutions and redundant support staff. Furthermore, regulatory changes continue to pressure asset managers, either by forcing firms to upgrade their technology or hiring specialists in order to bring their systems into compliance. Finally, the need to offer innovative, low-fee product offerings presents an additional challenge for firms seeking to differentiate and grow assets under management in an increasingly passive investment landscape.

With this in mind, the vendor has looked to bolster its offering since the acquisition for portfolio and risk analytics, multi-asset trading, collateral management and compliance services. It is also expanding its third-party vendor ecosystem—partnering with the likes of Axioma, MSCI, Tradeweb and MarketAxess—to enable clients to select the applications, data, analytics and liquidity venues that best support the unique demands of their investment process and product mix.

“By offering our clients a complete yet highly extensible investment management platform, Charles River hopes to help investment firms attain operational efficiency, keep pace with ever-changing regulations, and support their ability to offer new and differentiated investment products to their investors,” Lavelle says.

Eze Software won this award in 2015, 2017 and 2018, while Bloomberg took home the title in 2013 and 2014.

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