Financial technology company, T-Scape today announced that the second major version release of its corporate action application iActs has been successfully deployed at Loomis, Sayles & Company. The deployment continues the iActs story that began in 2017 with the announcement that iActs v1 had been rolled out at the global investment management company to support both back office and front office operations.
Chip Bankes, Head of Trading at Loomis Sayles, said at the time, ‘the introduction of iActs has provided us with a single window through which we can view and act upon pertinent corporate actions. This level of transparency is something we have not had until now and provides for a much easier and secure exchange of information between us and the corporate actions team. This is especially relevant to elective corporate actions, and with iActs we have effectively eliminated any risk of miscommunication.’
‘The sucessful roll-out signifies a real coming-of-age for iActs and is a major step forward in the applications evolution’, says T-Scape’s Managing Director David Baxter. ‘Within a very short space of time T-Scape has managed to create a system that is already seriously challenging those older systems still active in the market today. Not surprisingly we are really pleased with iActs v2, it’s taken a lot of very hard work to get the application to where it is, but demonstrates what can be achieved with the right combination of people, technology, belief and determination.’
Whilst iActs v1 was primarily developed to open up the processing of corporate actions to the front office, it also served to a) extend the life of the incumbent corporate action solution and b) provide a development road map within which iActs v2 could be completed. During quarter 3 of 2019 a major milestone was reached when iActs v2 was deployed into production at Loomis Sayles and the incumbent system was retired. Baxter continues ‘once iActs v1 was complete, our attention turned to improving things for the operations team. We had the luxury of being unencumbered by legacy code; instead we were building from scratch. That’s a great place to be when you have the experience the T-Scape team has. It meant we were not constrained or bound to any single structure but instead could be as flexible and agile as we needed to be when developing. Critically we could let the business requirement drive the solution rather than the other way around, as is often the case.’
Corporate Actions Manager Francisco Tolentino comments, ‘we’ve been working with iActs v2 since the tail-end of last year and it’s actually better than we expected with improvements seen right across the process, from golden copy creation through to status updates on our instructions. One major improvement area for us is exception processing. Prior to iActs, a big chunk of our day would be used to clear exception tasks created as a result of ‘workflow’. Many of these exceptions, irrespective of type, would halt a corporate action in its tracks and would need manually clearing before any further processing could be done. Not only did this slow the progress of each corporate action, it also increased our workload. iActs uses a combination of real-time visual indicators, alerts and warnings to advise us when something needs to be addressed without the need to raise an exception task. This is a much better approach enabling us to deal with issues far more efficiently.’
Tolentino continues, ‘It’s a similar story with golden copy processing. It can be challenging dealing with a complex corporate action when you have more than 15 custodians all providing their own interpretation of the event. iActs has made this process far more efficient by providing all the necessary tools the user requires to establish a golden copy very quickly. Importantly though, these tools also enable us to undo things if required. For example, detaching a message and creating a new event is incredibly simple to do. It’s not required often, but it certainly helps us overcome some of the market inefficiencies we see today.’
Paul FitzGerald, Product Director at T-Scape adds, ‘we put a lot of effort into analysing processes and finding the best solution to the requirement. We also understand and take into account market inefficiencies and nuances to ensure we provide our clients with the tools to work around these. Corporate actions can be complex enough as it is, so we make it our responsibility to break that complexity down and deliver an environment within which the user can operate with the utmost efficiency. That is why we get such great feedback about our user interface. It has been designed with the user in mind. Complicated workflows that create a multitude of tasks might be the answer for some, but for Francisco and his team, and in fact the investment management community in general, something different was needed. That’s why we re-evaluated the whole process and concluded there was a much better way of tackling the requirement. As a result we have been able to deliver major improvements across the board.’
Baxter concludes, ‘our goal is to make iActs the application of choice for investment managers. We have projects in flight with some of the biggest names in the investment management world and aim to expand our client base over the coming months. Discussions will continue with potential partners to help with that expansion. We will also be extending our marketing activities as best we can. The recent departure of one provider from the market, and the potential for others to follow (given the cost of updating those older corporate action systems) means it is important that the market is aware of iActs, and knows there is a system that can not only support existing requirements, but is agile and flexible enough to support those of the future.’
About Loomis Sayles
Since 1926, Loomis, Sayles & Company has helped fulfil the investment needs of institutional and mutual fund clients worldwide. The firm’s performance-driven investors integrate deep proprietary research and integrated risk analysis to make informed, judicious decisions. Teams of portfolio managers, strategists, research analysts and traders collaborate to assess market sectors and identify investment opportunities wherever they may lie, within traditional asset classes or among a range of alternative investments. Loomis Sayles has the resources, foresight and the flexibility to look far and wide for value in broad and narrow markets in its commitment to deliver attractive sustainable returns for clients. This rich tradition has earned Loomis Sayles the trust and respect of clients worldwide, for whom it manages $271.9 billion * in assets (as of March 31, 2020).
*Includes the assets of Loomis, Sayles & Co., LP, and Loomis Sayles Trust Company, LLC. Loomis Sayles Trust Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Loomis, Sayles & Company, LP.
T-Scape provides financial institutions with high quality software solutions that decrease risk, improve service levels, deliver transparency and reduce costs. The company takes a holistic approach to development, and actively promotes creativity through collaboration. It is through such an approach that its flagship application, iActs was able to successfully encourage front, middle and back office participation in the corporate action process. That same approach has seen iActs extend beyond corporate actions to support other areas where processing inefficiencies exist. It enables T-Scape to deliver solutions that can be easily adapted, that can keep pace with a continually changing regulatory-led business landscape, and that will ultimately serve the needs of tomorrow as well as that of today.