Miller Johnson Steichen Kinnard, a Minneapolis-based investment firm with $4 billion in assets under management, recently signed on with Thomson Financial to overhaul the firm's market-data solutions. MJSK, whose investment managers service a range of retail and institutional clients with diversified portfolios including fixed income, mutual funds and annuities, will begin implementing Thomson One Advisor and Thomson One Equity this week.
Matthew Hoban, the director of IT for MJSK, explains that Thomson One Advisor will allow brokers to research and analyze company and market information to ensure wise investments for their clients, as well as track the progress of those investments.
Thomson One Equity will be utilized on the trading desk, Hoban adds, to provide a view of institutional equity markets through additional Thomson equity solutions as well as proprietary and outside market data feeds.
Hoban says that he was especially impressed with the integrity of the data, which he says is demonstrated by Thomson's strong presence delivering quotes to CBOE and AMEX, among others. "If it's good enough for the exchanges, it should be good enough for us," he says.
In addition, Hoban says that Thomson's scalable and smooth data distribution from server to client, significant cost reduction and finally integration, both into other Thomson products as well as proprietary and third-party systems, made it attractive to MJSK.
"With the Thomson Financial products, I can have up to 300 clients attached to one server while still maintaining the integrity of the data and the speed of delivery, which reduces infrastructure costs on both telecommunications and hardware," he explains.
Thomson One Advisor and Equity solutions will replace Bridge workstations and Reuters Plus, products that had worked well for the firm, Hoban says, but whose contracts were up.
Ken Doody, senior vice president of Reuter's Private Client Services says that, while he is unfamiliar with MJSK's specific case, Reuters Plus is the leader in the marketplace. "In my opinion we maintain a higher level of integrity of our data," he says.
Despite the market downturn, Hoban says, now seemed like an ideal time to rebuild the technological foundation for MJSK, and adds that the firm is also updating and replacing hardware such as its desktops. He says that overhauling technology while the economy is down will allow the firm to take lead when it finally turns around.
So far, the implementation has been smooth, particularly because Thomson is making sure that the brokers feel taken care of, he explains. "Once brokers find something that works for their business, they don't want to change it," he says. "But they are actually excited about the change."
MJSK plans to have all 185 of its workstations, which range across ten offices, running on a combination of the new Thomson products by the end of May, Hoban says.