Over the summer, I have enjoyed connecting with several of my SS&C Advent® colleagues for a unique blog series profiling the employees behind Geneva®, our portfolio and investor accounting solution for Alternatives. These wide-ranging conversations spotlight the different vantage points and perspectives of employees who support and make Geneva the award-winning platform that it is today, as well as what makes SS&C Advent a unique place to work.
In this third conversation, I spoke with Ben Simmers, Director, Solutions Consulting for Geneva. This is a special conversation that expands on Ben’s video interview on Geneva Managed Series. Watch the interview here.
For more in our series, you can read our interviews with David Peck and Ernesto De Sieno and Sam Ramadan and Marisa Fitzpatrick.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Ben. Can you tell me a little bit about your role within SS&C Advent?
BEN: I am a director of Solutions Consulting with SS&C Advent, and I work within the Geneva umbrella of solutions which includes: Geneva, Geneva World Investor®, Advent Lumis® , SS&C Recon, Advent Syncova®, and Advent Outsourcing Services®(AOS) and Managed Services. As a solutions consultant, I work with prospects and existing clients to understand their business needs, their pain points, and pair that with our solutions and services. One of our more recent projects is developing our Loan processing capabilities to support and run what is typically a complex and manual asset class.
Could you tell us a little about Geneva’s Managed Services? What business needs does it solve for?
BEN: Geneva Managed Services offers back-office operations that help our clients run their business with our solutions. At SS&C Advent, we refer to this model of working with you on your environment as co-sourcing. The Managed Services team can help with everything – from data processing to operations, and reconciliation. For example, think of the vast amount of data flowing into Geneva, or into SS&C Recon, it’s an onerous task to ensure trades are loaded, custodian accounts are setup, strategies are accurate, security master is complete, and pricing is loaded. As for operations, our services offer to run daily reconciliations to the Prime Brokers and Custodians, month-end and NAV reconciliations to Fund Administrators, tracking and managing counterparty statements, as well as booking various ad-hoc activities, such as expenses or cash activities.
That’s great and there are certainly a lot of opportunities to alleviate onerous tasks from our client’s workflows. Previously, you mentioned loan processing, could you describe what that entails?
BEN: Thinking of the life of the trade, through our Managed Services offering, SS&C Advent can book the initial transaction. This means setting up the facility, the contract, and making sure the terms and conditions of the loan are all captured accurately. These activities can vary significantly from loan to loan, whether syndicated or private.
Furthermore, upon settlement, we ensure all the cash flows tie-out to the funding memo, there are often many moving parts here, cost of carry, delayed compensation, economic benefit, or even fees. Once the trade is settled, we support the various credit activities that can occur throughout the life of the loan, this includes rollovers, paydowns, contract splits or consolidation, and any trading activities. Much of the time, SS&C Advent is receiving the notices directly from the agents, so it’s taking these manual tasks off our client’s plate. Communication and transparency are top priorities for our team, therefore anything out of the ordinary, we are informing the client.
Beyond it being an incredibly manual process, why has SS&C Advent focused specifically on this asset class?
BEN: We have seen a lot of growth in the Loan space across our Geneva client base. And it is an asset class that requires regular and consistent manual intervention. As it stands today, it’s not possible to fully remove the manual nature of this space, but it is possible to make it easier to manage the daily workflows. Our Managed Services offering has expanded to support this asset class by processing the manual activities on our clients’ behalf. We want to make sure everything is as streamlined as possible. The more efficient we are, the more effective we are, and in turn, the more value we provide to our clients.
Why should clients leverage Geneva Managed services?
BEN: Our clients have made the decision to invest in Geneva, a best-of-breed, market leading solution, so why not take that extra step and invest in the same team that built it, and let that team run the system for you. At SS&C Advent, we are experts in our own systems, we leverage the whole suite of functionality in the most efficient way. Clients can rest assured that they are getting the most out of our solutions.
Tell me why is it an exciting time to be a Managed Services client?
BEN: This is one of the fastest growing parts of our business; it is a bespoke, white glove service, and we’re actively investing in this space. There is not a one-size fits all approach; we are working closely with our clients to put processes in place that make both parties comfortable. Moreover, the growth in our managed services capabilities is providing valuable feedback back into product, thus creating, what I like to call, a virtuous cycle between servicing clients and product roadmap. Being part of that is truly exciting!