For most of my career, I have thought of myself as of a financial services “operations guy,” focused on operational efficiency and client services, getting the right value for the price of technology that I use, and reducing risk to the company in which I work by ensuring first-class business processes and technologies. From that perspective, and now that I am more of a “technology guy,” the financial services industry’s growing interest these days in the power and value of end-to-end processes sticks out to me as a huge step in the right direction. While we have always wanted to complete a certain process or a deliverable from start to finish, all in one place, the tools have not always been there to do that. We were always focused on the next biggest thing rather than pushing for end-to-end solutions.
For too long, those of us who were and are concerned with back-office operations and ensuring efficiency, compliance, and quality have had to make-do with a variety of “best-of-breed” point solutions, simply knitted together. Take financial reporting, for example. Yes, there have been some good data-centric tools (like ours at Confluence) to help with the organization and validation of data, but they typically stopped short of being able to create stylized output or documents, never mind filing. Once completed in those systems, documents required operations staff to jump across to other systems or send the output to outside, third-parties to complete the typesetting and fulfill essential regulatory filing requirements with the SEC.
This way of working may have been “good enough” in the past, but the industry now demands better. The costs associated with maintaining multiple systems and third-party relationships along with the risks associated with handing data and documents back and forth for typesetting and filing are no longer acceptable. Today, better tools are required to help a sector already experiencing wide scale cost-cutting and layoffs to stave off ever-decreasing margins. The tide has begun to turn; third-party administrators, self-administration asset managers, and other companies that need to collect data, as well as deliver it to both the regulator and shareholders, are demanding the entire better process with automation, all in one place.
I am excited that, at Confluence, we have heeded this call. We started over 27 years ago with a focus on data, six years ago we set up an automated publishing component, and just a few months ago, we launched our EDGAR and filing capabilities on the Unity Financial Reporting platform. Combine that with the significant enhancements related to analyzing data inside of the system and we have doubled down on improving processes; with our solution, firms are creating the industry standard. Said differently, our solution is the best end-to-end solution on the market for the production of critical, financial and holding reports designed to meet regulatory disclosure requirements and marketing demands.
For our clients and prospective clients, the message is clear – using an end-to-end system will help you drive down costs and focus on the other things that differentiate you from your competitors. There is only one way to succeed in this new world of constant pressure and I am certain that using a single platform to focus on saving time, money, and preventing risks is a huge key to success.
For a guy like me, and really for everyone that services funds, it’s exciting to finally bring together the “operations” and “technology” sides of our businesses – and our personalities – to produce the best results for our clients and the end investors who are depending on us to get it right.