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Investment Manager Shelves LongView for Macgregor

In the highly competitive space of portfolio management, asking your customer to upgrade may be the best way to lose them.

M&I Investment Management Corp. and Marshall & Ilsley Trust Company have decided to replace their LongView portfolio-management system with Macgregor's Financial Trading Platform.

The firms plan to roll out Macgregor's Portfolio Manager Workstation, Advanced Fixed Income, Compliance, and FIX (financial-information exchange) Network components to users in six offices in the first quarter.

In what can only be described as a super-competitive niche where financial services and technology intersect, the portfolio-management-system space is seeing vendors poach customers from each other almost on a weekly basis. (see: www.wallstreetandtech.com/story/topNews/WST20021017S0006)

Here, one vendor's attempt to move its customer onto a new version of its product opens the doors for a review of competing products. And, in this case, the suggestion turns out to be a relationship-ending request.

David Schultz, president of M&I Investment Management Corp., says that his firm hit the market when LongView "recommended" that M&I move to the latest version of its offering. At that time, Schultz says, it was "time to do a complete review of our trading and compliance platform. It was a coincidence that, at that same time, LongView was recommending we upgrade to a new platform."

So, he says, the company did an "internal RFP" and narrowed the potential vendors down to LongView, Charles River Development and Macgregor.

The most salient points, which caused M&I to settle on Macgregor, says Schultz, were that the MFTP could do fixed-income and equity trading, and compliance, on one platform, which was "not the case with LongView." Also, he adds, the system was scalable enough to handle the thousands of accounts that M&I interacts with as part of being in the trust business.

"Our evaluation led us to believe that Macgregor had a more comprehensive package that could handle fixed income, equity, run trading and compliance and assist our portfolio-management team in all aspects of our business better than the other two competitors," explains Schultz.

Macgregor will also work with Metavante, the provider of M&I's trust-accounting system, to develop a link between the two applications. Following the implementation at M&I, Macgregor and Metavante will jointly market the link to their common clients.

In terms of pricing, Schultz says that the finalists came in with very comparable figures and the winner didn't necessarily have the lowest bid, also a common sentiment in the selection of such systems.

Schultz says, when evaluating a potential system, it's paramount to see the particular application at work in a financial institution that has similar functionality and scalability requirements. Only when seeing such systems in action can an executive be confident it will meet the needs of their environment. "It's very important to see the system up and running first," he says.

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