Sramana Mitra: Do they belong to the Boston group?
Skip Smith: No. I can’t say where they are based, but it is west of the Mississippi.
SM: Tell me more about this Boston pocket of entrepreneurs.
SS: Boston is a fund administration technology center in the U.S. – much more than New York, surprisingly. There is a good educated group of folks in that area, who have the domain expertise. As we have been on our hunt for acquisitions, we have looked at quite a few companies in both Boston and London. Those seem to be the two hot areas.
SM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
SS: The only thing I didn’t mention is the globalization aspect. What I mean by that is that the continued pressure for these administrators has been to manage low-cost regions. They are typically throwing people at these problems – administrators are being forced to go to these low-cost regions. The cloud-based solutions allow them to have a globally deployed solution very quickly.
Most of the global service providers are developing center-of-excellence concepts, where they might have their analyst functions in either Boston or New York, but they have more of the servicing functions in India or Poland. Deploying their solutions globally becomes quite a challenge for them.
SM: What kinds of services are these low-cost operations tackling?
SS: Some of the things they do are the regulatory files. Let’s say there is CPOP2R – a particular regulatory filing that certain money managers have to do. Administrators might create a group of people in Poland who know what to do and create that filing, managing their system or the set of spreadsheets they use to create it. They do that because due to the low level of automation they experience today they need a lot of staff, so they need to get into these low-cost areas.
SM: Your strategy is to take these processes and automate them so they don’t need to use manual services for them?
SS: Not having to use manual services is part of it, but it is also about being able to ensure accuracy and precision. There are substantial risks to these folks if they make an error in a regulatory reporting. It can cause them problems. It is like you or me making an error in our tax return and then being audited. It is not a good scenario for them to get into that queue.
SM: Thank you, Skip.
SS: Thank you so much.