BST Awards 2020: Best buy-side corporate actions platform—IHS Markit

Buy-Side Technology Awards 2020

If IHS Markit’s 2015 acquisition of Information Mosaic proved fortuitous in providing the vendor with a mature and award-winning corporate actions processing solution in the form of IMActions, then its decision last year to roll out Corporate Actions SaaS, a cloud-based version of its solution, proved equally fortuitous as the Covid-19 pandemic made traditional software sales and client onboarding more challenging.

Originally developed in 2003, IMActions is a “very sophisticated corporate actions processing solution,” that uses data from various sources, including proprietary data and information from securities depositories to support investment banks, asset managers, private banks and custodians, says Gerard Bermingham, vice president and managing director at the vendor and commercial lead for its post-trade securities services and corporate actions division. “At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty around, for example, dividends being cancelled, so there was a lot of calculation and re-calculation that clients had to go through. And there were higher volumes of mergers and acquisitions, and bankruptcies, so there was a lot of activity going on in the corporate actions space,” Bermingham says. “Our system automatically manages that. Clients were able to use our system to do reversals, and ensure updates were applied correctly.”

Aside from pandemic-related market impacts, the vendor also faced the challenge of rolling out software in a new, remote-working environment. “This year, the whole process of onboarding new clients has changed,” Bermingham says. “We collaborate with clients to ensure everything is running on time, and for new clients we have a remote onboarding process.”

Corporate Actions SaaS is a lightweight, cloud-based solution that is faster to implement. Though driven by growth plans rather than with remote working during a pandemic in mind, the solution has proved useful in the current climate because of its ability to remotely onboard clients. “It was driven by our market strategy and growth strategy—how we could continue to grow our client base, and grow it faster. Traditionally, we’ve targeted large global and regional banks and custodians, but there are a finite number of those. Outside of those, firms want a different approach—a cookie-cutter implementation to managing corporate actions processing and risk,” Bermingham says.

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