SunGard Portfolio Solutions, the erstwhile Shaw Data, continues to lose clients at an alarming rate despite efforts to change its image over the past year. Two more former MicroShaw clients, Denis Wong & Associates and Calvert Investment Council, have jumped ship, this time for Global Investment Systems' (GIS) IMPACT2 investment management and portfolio accounting system. While SunGard attempted to sway both clients onto PORT, MicroShaw's Y2k compliant replacement, both firms declined.
Calvert, a firm with about a quarter of a billion dollars under management, went so far as installing PORT before switching gears and embarking on a new system search because of problems with it, according to industry insiders. King Hurlock, managing partner at Calvert, declined to comment about the firm's relationship with SunGard, only saying that PORT was considered as was Advent Software's Axys.
"Shaw's alternative that was presented to us proved to be unsatisfactory," Hurlock says, refusing to comment further.
Pamela Pecs Cytron, Sungard's vice president, sales and marketing, says, "Sungard Portfolio Solutions never expected its smaller clients to convert to PORT due to the increased pricing structure over MicroShaw and some of the advanced features."
Hurlock points out that Axys contains some "distinct limitations" in its system, but declines to elaborate. He explains that Calvert went with GIS because it proved to be an open system that appears to be flexible enough to meet the needs of the growing firm and of an ever changing industry.
"As we went through the search process, it was fairly simple to narrow it down to one or two entities," Hurlock says. "A lot of the other systems claim to have certain functionalities and abilities, but they really didn't or it was extremely cumbersome to work with or inflexible. We were impressed with Global. The compelling things for us was that they appeared to have a system that could be modified, not only to meet our needs, but the core code was such that over time it could incorporate changes that the industry would require."
While Advent's Axys relies on a flat-file database, IMPACT2 employs a relational database, a data structure that allows sharing of information much more easily between various front- and back-office systems.
Eva Yeung, operations manager at Honolulu, Hawaii-based Denis Wong, also hails the relational database as a significant factor in the firm's decision to go with IMPACT2. The firm also considered Axys and PORT, but Denis Wong, the firm's CEO, was impressed with the GIS team upon first meeting. "At the beginning of the year, Mr. Wong went to a conference, met them, and was very impressed," Yeung recalls. "GIS is easy to use, the support staff is really efficient and knows exactly what they're doing. They provide answers quickly."
Both Denis Wong and Calvert are live with the systems and are running them in parallel with MicroShaw before converting over to IMPACT2 after the New Year.