Andersen Consulting is preparing to build an online straight-through processing portal, dubbed Web eSTP, that will integrate customer relationship management, trading, order management, portfolio management and accounting. The solution will not build out the various components, but integrate existing solutions available on the market today. Andersen is only planning to partner with a select number of vendors, potentially exiling those that can not interface with the outsourced solution.
Although Web eSTP will eventually target broker/dealers, Jim Honihan, partner in Andersen's Financial Services Practice, explains that the solution will initially be rolled out for asset managers. He says Andersen's STP White Paper conducted on behalf of the SIA points out that money managers compared to brokers and custodians will receive the lowest return on investment in STP technologies. He declines to elaborate, but added, "suffice it to say, once the economics become apparent, more asset managers will be flocking to the outsourcing model."
Andersen has already signed an undisclosed client, and is working first to integrate an industry-leading CRM solution. Andersen has found that money managers are lagging in the CRM push, many employing "low-end sales support tools la Avenue or Goldmine," Honihan explains. He contends that none of them offer the integrated trading and portfolio accounting support that a T+1 world will require.
"As it stands today, portfolio managers need to jockey between CRM and OMS and the accounting system," he says. "So, every time there's an update in one, unless you're conscious of going in and changing the client's information in the other systems, they're not integrated and you are open to discrepancies." Andersen has yet to announce which CRM provider it will work with, but Honihan says that it would be a firm like a Siebel or Clarify.
At the core of Web eSTP is a middleware messaging layer that Andersen developed with STC, a global eBusiness integrator. The middleware solution will eventually tie together CRM, order management and trading, and then ultimately tie together back-office accounting and custodians.
Rather than traveling to clients on a monthly basis, the ASP model will allow money managers to work online collaboratively with their clients. Managers will be able to "push" clients graphs, statistics and other helpful information, as well as post "video clips" that can be archived and accessed by the appropriate clients at any given time. Honihan expects Andersen to announce the first client and the chosen CRM solution within the next 30 days.