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Investment Management Firm Selects TOM Vendor

As volumes in the securities world grow, automating is becoming less a choice and more a necessity. With that in mind, Capital Advisors Group entered the marketplace this summer to find a system that could meet its needs.

Capital Advisors Group recently selected the MacGregor Financial Trading Platform (MFTP) to automate its fixed-income trading and compliance processes.

Largely in light of exponential growth ($1 billion under management to $6 billion over the past four years), but also with an eye towards T+1 implementation, Capital Advisors realized that its manual process of trading--relying on excel spreadsheets, faxes and e-mail--would no longer suffice. However, deciding to purchase a trading system and actually selecting one from the marketplace's many vendors are quite different things.

To remedy its lack of internal expertise with trading systems, Ben Campbell, president of Capital Advisors Group, says that when the company decided to hit the market and find the right system, it also decided to partner with a consultant. The firm selected Basis Point Group from Milton, Mass.

The consulting firm questioned Capital Advisor executives as to what they were looking for, as well as looking at the firm's internal information flow and processes. "Pre-trade compliance was important to us and individual compliance for separate account management," says Campbell.

After looking into the market, Basis returned with a list of vendors, which was then narrowed down to three finalists--Charles River Development, SGA Business Systems and MacGregor.

Those three were then interviewed by Basis and subsequently each demonstrated its system before Capital Advisor executives. Campbell says that after narrowing the selection down to Charles River and MacGregor, the firm chose the latter due to the strength of its organization.

"We deemed that MacGregor was a stronger financial organization and we also deemed that because of the stronger financial position that they probably would have a more robust product in this area, through upgrades, two or three years down the road," he says.

Though he would not say what Capital Advisors is paying for he system, cost, says Campbell, is always a factor, remarking only that MacGregor was "more competitive than the other fellas," though "not necessarily less."

Campbell says that MacGregor is about two weeks into the four month implementation project which has, thus far, consisted of the vendor collecting more information on his firm's internal processes and procedures.

He says that entering into such a relationship should not be taken lightly. "You're basically partnering with someone on a lease vs. buying a piece of software and having them go away," says Campbell. "Because we're going to be working with these people as aggressively five years from now as we are today, it's very important for us to have a vision of what the organization and product will look like five years from now."

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