Witad Awards 2022: Technology leader of the year (vendor)—Meredith Moss, SEI

For everything from generating returns to managing risk to regulatory reporting, firms need more data. This need has always existed, but is especially pressing now as the investment landscape has grown ever more complex. As data volumes increase, it’s not enough for firms to have the data—they need to contextualize it for users, says Meredith Moss.

In 2011, Moss started Finomial, an investment lifecycle management company that provides institutional investors with insights into the alternatives space, electronifying the almost entirely manual process of alternatives transactions. A decade later, it’s still largely a manual space, but change is underway.

“The vast majority of alternative transactions—investments into private equity, hedge funds, infrastructure, real estate—happen with a form and a pen, or at the very best, a fillable PDF,” Moss says. “We live in an age of data and analytics and automation, but the industry has remained slow adopters. With that said, momentum has been building so much that we’re now in the midst of a tidal wave of automation.”

Proof of that change can be seen in SEI’s 2021 acquisition of Finomial, which cited the company’s base of buy-side firms managing a combined $500 billion in assets as a key driver for the deal. But perhaps more important is the fact that Moss and her team had the foresight to build Finomial native to the cloud at a time when the buy side was wary of the emerging technology.

Moss says that while she had some sleepless nights in those early days after launching the vendor, she never doubted the decision to embrace cloud. Today, SEI is integrating Finomial’s cloud platform with SEI’s broader investment services capabilities to enhance digital collaboration tools across its outsourcing, fund administration, and wealth management offerings.

Moss knows adversity—she joined Lehman Brothers in August 2007, just as the subprime mortgage crisis started to take hold. In October 2008, after the collapse of the investment bank, she moved to Credit Suisse but says she always knew she wanted to start a company … she just didn’t know the purpose. After working in the alternatives space, she saw the need for automation and knew cloud was the path forward. While founders of fintech companies often leave soon after they sell their babies to bigger companies, Moss says the switch has been “magical” and she’s in for the long haul.

“Providing data and analytics and configurability to clients—the bar just keeps getting raised,” she says. “That’s what I’m excited about.”

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