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Buy-Side Firm Ditches OMS Vendor

EBS Asset Management Replaces Advent with Indata in an attempt to gain greater trade-order-management customization and increased customer service.

EBS Asset Management, an Ohio-based investment firm with $1.2 billion under management, recently went live on Indata's trade-order-management product, Precision Trading.

Indata's product ousted Advent's Moxy, which had functioned as EBS' trade-order-management system for almost five years.

"We're managing a lot of accounts through a lot of different channels and (Advent's) tool set was not compelling (enough) ...to handle that," explains Bernard Holtgreive, principal and portfolio manager at EBS. Holtgreive explains that EBS has specialized needs as a portion of its accounts are "family accounts," or multiple accounts managed as one. This was just one of EBS' account specifications that Moxy could not accommodate, he says.

With a limited trading and compliance capability on Moxy, EBS traders were often forced to perform trading offline and then re-enter data into the system, adding the possibility of costly human error, said Holtgreive. In addition, the system performance was often slow when loaded with data, creating frustration for traders.

While Holtgreive had held off on getting rid of Moxy with the hopes that Advent might customize the system to accommodate for EBS' unique trading requirements, he found that Advent made no effort to customize the system or even promise to do so in the future.

"We regret that we couldn't meet the particular needs of EBS Asset Management, but we do have over 600 firms on Moxy and have to be sure that it meets the general requirements of all of them," says an Advent spokeswoman, in response to Holtgreive's complaints. "(EBS) are clients of ours in other areas and we will continue to cultivate our relationship with them."

EBS selected Indata's Precision Trading because it uses a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and its open architecture allowed it to integrate with EBS' proprietary customer-relationship-management system.

"The flexibility of Indata, the user-defined fields, the things it handles natively that Moxy does not, the compliance and the portfolio-management tools that Indata has are far superior to the tools that Moxy made available," says Holtgreive.

Gavin Little-Gill, senior analyst at Massachusetts-based TowerGroup, notes that Indata is an example of a vendor that is gaining success by directing its attention at a specific segment of the market---smaller asset managers with under $10 billion in assets under management. "If you look at how people are competing in the current market, I think you're starting to see a focus on niche areas," he explains, referring to the size and nature of a firm's accounts. "So where once upon a time you had players who wanted to be everything for everybody, increasingly you're starting to see people targeting a particular marketplace. ... Indata knows what it wants to be and always knew what they wanted to be," Little-Gill says. "They want to target the $1 billion to $10 billion asset manager with a single database and Microsoft architecture front to back and then wrapped (with) an interesting little CRM application."

At a price comparable to Moxy, yet a functionality that exceeded it, switching to Precision Trading far outweighed the business risks and costs inherent in converting trade-order-management systems, Holtgreive says.

According to Holtgreive, EBS has thus far been pleased with both Indata's product as well as its customer service, which have, he says, been a dramatic change from Advent. The firm will consider picking up another stage of Indata's I.M.S. for Windows portfolio-accounting system late in the summer and eventually others in the future, he says.

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