Despite previous assertions that its Antares and CAMRA 2000 front- and back-office portfolio management systems achieved "true" straight-through processing, SS&C Technologies has released a new platform that enables real-time linking between the two systems. The architecture, titled XE
(Cross Enterprise, relies on various Microsoft Back Office solutions to connect Antares, SS&C's trading and modeling system, with CAMRA, its portfolio management and accounting, via Internet technologies.
Speaking at a press conference last week located at the Financial Technology Expo in New York, William Stone, SS&C's chairman and CEO, said that the company has spent close to $100 million over the last 24 to 36 months to create this technology in partnership with Microsoft. The XE application platform utilizes both Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and Message Queue technology (MSMQ) to deliver transaction information over the Internet or a virtual private network.
The XE platform differs from SS&C's previous STP model in that trade information was previously distributed on a batch basis, an unrealistic process if buy side firms are to be prepared for T+1. Batch cycles also permit for more mistakes if one connection point were to fail. Stone claims that DCOM and MSMQ technology, employing XML component tagging, allows transaction data to be stored in a queue, or repository in the event of a network problem, so that it can be delivered at a later time when the problem is remedied.
Although the XE platform makes use of Internet technologies - specifically as the information gateway - Stone says that SS&C won't release browser-enabled versions of Antares and CAMRA until later next year. Users must still have the applications loaded onto their desktops.
In this first release, XE can automatically route trading information -- confirmation and affirmation notices -- between the front and back offices. Over the next year, the system will be further developed to incorporate information from external sources, including FIX and SWIFT messages, as well as pricing and compliance.
SS&C officials say that a couple of clients have been working with the new release, but decline to name any firms. Speaking to the relative ease of installation, Mike Morini, SS&C's senior vice president of the asset management business, says that it takes current Antares/CAMRA clients less than a day to replace their current batch interfaces with the XE platform.
While Microsoft played a significant role in the development of this functionality -- going so far as speaking on behalf of SS&C at the conference -- the relationship is by no means exclusive, admits a Microsoft spokesman, pointing to similar relationships with other vendors like Advent Software. He did say that the relationship has been an "ideal" one, with both partners sharing information and resources.