As a sign of the times, erstwhile competitors SEI Investment Systems and Services (ISS) and First Rate Investment Systems are partnering to offer SEI's Trust 3000 clients a more robust performance measurement platform.
SEI Investments, a provider of investment processing solutions to banks and mutual fund families, has signed a contract to re-sell First Rate's Web-based performance measurement system, First Rate SnapShot, with its trust accounting system, Trust 3000. Current and prospective Trust 3000 clients will have the choice of installing SEI's own mainframe-based Performance Base System (PBS) or SnapShot.
According to Jeff Clark, director of sales and marketing at First Rate, it has been difficult in the past convincing Trust 3000 clients to implement SnapShot because of the added work required to seamlessly integrate the two disparate systems. "Before, to port Trust 3000 over to first Rate, clients had to pay a lot for custom development," Clark recalls. Today, the two companies are working together so that installing SnapShot is no more difficult than installing PBS. "This becomes just another module in the Trust 3000 system," he explains.
Officials at SEI declined to comment for this article.
Clark points out that PBS has long been an industry-dominating performance-measurement system, but it employs a "decades-old, inflexible, mainframe, green-screen" type of architecture. SEI had explored the option of completely rebuilding PBS for the new Web-based world, but decided instead to partner with First Rate, looking to bring its clients an upgrade to PBS as soon as possible. According to Clark, SEI will continue to offer and support PBS.
Whereas PBS offers a limited number of configurations-offering only batch reporting, a few predefined reporting templates, and no online access-SnapShot provides custom reporting and the ability for money managers and their clients to view performance reports from a standard Web browser, says Clark. With the click of a button, Trust 3000 clients will be able to automate the entire reporting process via SnapShot, which allows users to set their own reporting configurations for adds.
SEI will first implement the combined system at IAG, its own in-house investment accounting division, before offering it to outside clients. This deal is the second of its type for First Rate, which only months ago signed an agreement with Fidelity ATS to integrate SnapShot into AM Trust, Fidelity's trust accounting platform.