FINBOURNE Turns 5: CEO Open Letter to the Industry

FINBOURNE Turns 5: CEO Open Letter to the Industry

FINBOURNE Technology Turns 5: CEO and Co-Founder Thomas Mchugh has penned his thoughts on being a mission-driven company, as we move from start-up to scale-up. And why challenging the status quo, to solve diminished trust, transparency and timeliness of data, has a clear social impact across the investment ecosystem.



December is one of my favourite times of the year. The holidays give us a chance to celebrate, spend time with loved ones and a chance to reflect on another year. This December also marks a rather special occasion for FINBOURNE, as we celebrate our 5th birthday in industry.

From seven founders to over 130 employees today, FINBOURNE is a start-up no more. Backed by confident investors, we have firmly moved into scale-up territory at pace, with solutions that not only solve the very real data challenges that the industry faces, but also help shape the future of investment management.

Mission ‘impossible’
We started our journey in December 2016 with a clear mission: to reduce the cost of investing and increase transparency for the investment ecosystem. With a strong mindset and serious ambition, we set out to challenge the status quo around data management, to become the backbone for the global investment community. Our intent is to bring change to an industry that has long suffered from a failure to solve diminished trust and a detrimental lack of timely data. An important mission, with clear social impact.

As industry practitioners, we decided it was time to solve the data pain once and for all and to give the investment community a solution that at its base, lets firms know exactly what they own and how much it is worth, at any given point in time. A seemingly simple task, but which many firms struggle to answer with reproducibility or confidence, on a daily basis.

We strongly disagreed with the notion that addressing data complexities required big bang or front to back change. Fusing domain expertise and deep technology, we set out to design a new standard for data management, making data usable and interactable across the organisation. A platform that empowers firms with valuable insights, de-risks the process of change, and integrates within the ecosystem firms already operate in today.

Challenge (not disrupt) the status quo
But we are not a disruptor. Challenging the status quo and innovating to offer something new requires empathy and respect towards our clients’ needs. We have worked to remove the pain points created by years of inefficient legacy and proprietary systems. Delivering a strong alternative to the multi-year transformations that have occupied the industry for much of the last decade, we’ve tackled the fundamental problem of understanding, accessing and controlling the data you hold. Not in 3-5 years’ time, but from day one.

In just half a decade we’ve entered into a pretty exciting space, thanks to a growing number of clients who run the full spectrum; from global asset managers to start-up hedge funds and market infrastructure providers. Their vote of confidence, has been instrumental in validating not only our very existence but also qualifying the value of the solutions we’ve built.

Vital to serving these clients and our mission, is the team of diverse, passionate and talented people that have decided to join us on this journey and truly bought into the difference we are trying to make. At FINBOURNE we don’t do herd mentality. We’ve worked hard to curate a team of creative problem solvers and thinkers in the industry – from developers and engineers, to product managers and business specialists.

We’re growing diversity of thought, from people of all backgrounds, who are capable and willing to challenge the norm. And we arrive at viable solutions through our mistakes, because we believe in the right to fail. We don’t claim to be perfect; no one is. But we learn from mistakes rather than gloss over them, to craft tested solutions that will stand up IRL and not just in back testing.

Back to the future
With much of the asset management industry operating in an inhibiting landscape of spaghetti systems, we believe the time for change is now. And while, unlike the popular 80s film, there are no time machines or flying hoverboards today, there is way to rectify the mistakes of the past. Blank slates are hard to come by in this space, but as a relatively young company, we’ve been careful in using ours to design the right technology. A bridge that supports the systems of the past, and secures the future of investment management.

As we enter the next chapter, we aim to continue building efficiencies into the global investment ecosystem, helping to eliminate the burn out that is seriously affecting employees, and stagnating productivity and growth. We are scaling up to underpin the data foundation for global firms, adding significant resources in London but also incorporating in the US, and soon, Asia Pacific to more closely serve clients in these regions.

Going back to our mission; lowering the cost of investing and enhancing transparency for everyone, the next five years will see us broaden our flagship platform, LUSID, as we become the backbone of the wider investment ecosystem. This includes the launch of a new Hedge Fund offering, before moving on to cover similar solutions for Private Equity and Venture Capitalists. And to complement these offerings, we are curating marketplace program, delivering our clients additional best-in-class functionality they desire, through selected industry partnerships that match our purpose.

Above all, our future is about the community we build around us. At FINBOURNE, we live and breathe openness. It is how we work; from contributing to open software with publicly accessible APIs, to removing silos and empowering clients with controlled access to data, that informs their investment decisions.

As a fast-growing scale-up, we work to learn from and educate the people around us; whether it is through sharing insights and directly engaging with our clients and employees, talking with members of our FINBOURNE Product Council and newly launched CTP Design Council, or the dialogue we hold with the developer community. All of these interactions fuel our innovation and our growth and we are truly thankful to those who have chosen to join us and impart their wisdom, to shape our journey.

The more we develop our knowledge and skills, the more our client’s benefit, and the closer we get to delivering a mission that matters. Not just to us, but to all.

Yours Sincerely,
Thomas McHugh
CEO and Co-Founder, FINBOURNE Technology

We’re also interested in hearing from you. If you’ve got burning thoughts on the future of data in asset management and how to solve the data dilemma, why not get in touch at [email protected]

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