02.25.2013
By Terry Flanagan

Best Portfolio Management and Accounting Systems

The old saying that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM might also be applied hiring Advent Software, which is as dominant in its space as Big Blue is within its.

“Portfolio management and accounting is all we do,” said Advent Chief Executive Pete Hess. “Our sole focus is on creating technology for the buy side.”

San Francisco-based Advent had about 4,500 clients as of late 2012, including 3,300 asset managers that use Advent for functions deemed mission-critical, according to the company. Advent boasts a 10-year average length of customer relationship.

Pete Hess, Advent Software  chief executive

Pete Hess, Advent Software
chief executive

Founded in 1983 by Stephanie DiMarco and publicly traded since 1995, Advent’s primary products include Advent Geneva, which is targeted at prime brokers, fund administrators, and hedge funds, and Advent Portfolio Exchange (APX), which is aimed at institutional asset managers.

The company has a rich history of innovation. “We were the first ones to bring portfolio management technology to PCs back in the 1980s,” said Hess. “That was a big move, because it made asset-management technology more affordable and lowered the barriers to entry. Over time, we have made the technology more robust, and since the 1990s we have offered services via the cloud.”

Geneva is a global real-time investment-management platform which allows hedge funds to manage complex international accounting requirements and broad instrument coverage needs. APX is a portfolio management and reporting system that integrates front-office functions such as prospecting, marketing and relationship management with portfolio accounting, reporting, and performance attribution.

Among the company’s other brands are Black Diamond, a reporting platform for registered investment advisers that Advent acquired in 2011, and Moxy, an order management system that launched in 2012. “With more than 800 clients, Moxy is the most widely used OMS in the market,” said Hess. “It integrates well with our accounting systems, and supports workflows through compliance and trade settlement.”

Advent has mixed and matched its brands to create a comprehensive platform for asset and wealth management. Other products include Advent Rules Manager, Advent Revenue Center, Advent General Ledger Exchange, Tradex, Advent Corporate Actions, and Advent Custodial Data.

In November 2012, Advent enhanced its platform to support key workflows and data access across the entire investment process. “These enhancements give asset and wealth managers a more comprehensive dashboard to see and manage their portfolios, reconcile accounts and increase the speed by which they can respond to changes in the market,” Hess said at the time.

As the asset-management industry has matured, service providers have attempted to modify the delivery mechanism of managed accounts to offer more complete asset allocation and investment advice delivery.

The latest iteration of this modification is the Unified Managed Account, which uses a single account to offer investors full asset allocation and access to multiple separately managed accounts and mutual fund sub-asset classes or styles. Processes that fall under the UMA category include account administration, reconciliation, performance reporting, statements and billing.

Providers of middle and back-office services are embedding Advent cloud technology into their systems. For example, mbOffice, a cloud system for hedge funds and asset managers that supports portfolio management and investment administration, is powered by Advent’s Geneva suite of accounting and reconciliation engines for real-time P&L, performance and risk attribution reporting, and interfaces to counterparties as well as third-party service providers.

“Portfolio management and accounting is all we do. Our sole focus is on creating technology for the buy side.” Pete Hess, Advent Software chief executive

Advent is rolling out Advent Direct, a new cloud-based system that lets investment managers take data from their Advent systems to generate a view of their investment processes.

“In 2013, the big opportunities for our clients are the cloud and mobile access, as well social media,” said Hess. “The concept of a product is going away. Our clients can benefit tremendously if we can adapt our legacy form of product orientation to a cloud-based workflow orientation.”

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