It's not unusual these days for IT heads at money management firms to have more than one tech project on their plate at a time. Just ask Gordon Marchand, chief operating officer at New York-based Yeager, Wood & Marshall.
Since last year, he's supervised the roll out of the Windows-based version of Global Investment Systems' Impact II portfolio management and accounting system. He then oversaw the Y2k testing for Impact II. Now, his firm is gearing up for the installation of Depository Trust Co.' new affirmation/confirmation system.
"DTC is coming out here in mid January with their TradeSuite product," says Marchand. "GIS has written the interface to TradeSuite, so we're going to be the guinea pigs to test it out. Step one is implementing Trade Suite, step two is testing the interface to Impact II."
At $600 million in assets under management, Yeager is certainly significant, yet considered more of a mid-sized money management firm. Regardless of its size, Yeager officials realize that if they want to continue to grow, they have to continue to invest in technology.
The firm runs GIS's 32-bit system on a Microsoft NT small-business server. Yeager uses the in-house, turnkey Impact II for client accounting, portfolio analysis and operations support. Impact II provides performance measurement, asset allocation, trade execution, transaction entry, cash balance and cash flow monitoring, client reporting and billing, compliance monitoring and loss exposure control.
Marchand says conversion to the Windows flavor of Impact II was smooth. He explains the DOS version's non-existent Y2k compliance made replacing the incumbent system not optional, but inevitable - a problem that faces many firms.
"We had no choice, we had to upgrade for Y2k compliance," says Marchand. "However, we also wanted to take this opportunity to get an open system to develop our own reports in-house, and get a relational database with the upgrade." These new customized reporting capabilities are highly valued among IT managers at Yeager.
"In preparing SEC audits, the system allowed me to use an external report writer to access the database, and prepare a report exactly according to SEC requirements, and save to an Excel spreadsheet file," says Marchand. "It took about 10 minutes. In DOS, I couldn't have done that at all," he says. Yeager uses Seagate Software's Crystal report writer.
Marchand spent most of last year wrestling with Windows and Y2k, this year it will probably be STP and T+1. The buzzwords may change, but the fact remains - IT managers will have to constantly evaluate, automate, integrate and sometimes eliminate systems on an ongoing basis in order to stay competitive.