The plenary sessions and workshops were led by keynote speakers from many of Odyssey's customers and partners worldwide - including ABN Amro Netherlands, CIBC Asia, Barclays UK, Deutsche Bank Belgium, Accenture Paris, Cutter Associates US, Renaissance Capital Moscow, Bank Ehinger & Armand von Ernst, Zurich, Bank Degroof Brussels, and the Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV) in Lausanne.
Odyssey Asset Management Systems was founded in 1995 in Luxembourg by CEO Antoine Duchateau and 8 private shareholders with the aim of building a software company dedicated to the provision of IT solutions to the wealth management and private banking industry.
One year later Odyssey acquired the exclusive distribution rights for the TripleâA Advantage portfolio management system, originally developed by Unicible in Lausanne for the use of the BCV and other Swiss cantonal banks.
In 1997 Odyssey expanded by acquiring the Brussels-based company CAFC which had provided an ageing portfolio management system used by several European Tier 1 banks. One year later Odyssey acquired full ownership of TripleâA, the development team in Lausanne and two new offices in Geneva and Zurich were opened.
During 1999 Odyssey launched the development of its client relationship management system for wealth management â Advisor â and introduced the new component based Java technology which has now become standard.
On acquiring in 2000 the London-based company "Market Data Systems" Odyssey not only gained a substantial presence in the UK market but also acquired specialist product skills in accessing, filtering, warehousing and distributing market data. Odyssey used this knowledge-base over the next 3 years to develop Nexus, its referential data warehousing solution which is now being implemented by several Tier 1 institutions.
In 2001 Odyssey Asset Management Systems incorporated its sister company Odyssey Advanced Financial Solutions which had developed and marketed the Mirage reporting system.
2001 also saw a significant expansion in global coverage with the opening of an office in Singapore. Odyssey Singapore rose to be a leading provider of Wealth Management software in the region, with 7 out of the top 15 wealth managers in Asia using Odyssey business solutions. "Odyssey provides high quality Private banking and wealth management solutions for the Asian Pacific region." said Kees Stoute, Fortis Mees Pierson Asia.
In 2003 Odyssey opened an office in Munich, and the German operation now counts 5 TripleâA and Advisor customers, with up to 40 Odyssey employees working in the country.
The New York office was opened in 2004 with the signing of 2 major North American financial institutions. Odyssey now employs 12 people in the US, and the office will continue to expand to become a full-service location with Help Desk and support consultants dedicated exclusively to North American clients.
15 of the top 25 European banks are now Odysseyâs customers, and Odysseyâs wealth management solutions are now used by more than 130 financial institutions in 26 countries. Customers include leading global financial institutions such as ABN Amro, Barclays, BNP-Paribas, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Dexia, Dresdner Bank, Fortis, HVB Group, ING, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Wachovia. In addition, Odysseyâs customers include leading primarily banks focused on private banking such as Bordier & Cie, Bank Julius Baer, and Banco di Lugano, and leading regional banks such as the National Bank of Dubai, and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation in Singapore.
Working with customers in a long term partnership, listening to requirements, and ensuring ongoing satisfaction is a key priority for the company. In 1999 Odyssey started its annual survey to take input on improving its solutions and how to better serve customers. In the latest survey last year 93% of those surveyed said that they would recommend Odyssey and Odyssey solutions to a business relation. The average overall satisfaction was ranked 7.25 out of a possible 10, up 0.7% from the previous yearâs results.
âOdyssey has tremendously successful partnerships with leading international institutions, we are confident that we have chosen the right partnerâ, said Faranak Foroughi, Head of NBDâs Private Office.
From products to solutions
Odyssey has moved from a purely product-oriented approach to a solution approach. The original products (TripleâA, Advisor, Nexus) have been divided into business components, rewritten in new J2EE technology, and combined to form solutions reflecting the business requirements of the various user profiles specific to a bank, and made available via a standardised web-based user interface. Solutions for portfolio managers, relationship managers, third party managers, compliance officers and the bank clients are being packaged.
Odysseyâs new Relationship Manager Workstation was recently chosen by Hamburger Sparkasse. JÃ¶rg Ludewig, Head of Private Banking of Hamburger Sparkasse discussed why. "Odyssey was chosen for its excellent reputation and proven track record to deliver mission critical Private Banking solutions. Empowering our Relationship Managers with a high quality Investment Management Platform will enable them to provide better and much more pro-active investment management services to their clients while we will improve the efficiency of our processes and ability to control risks."
Odyssey now also offers a new Portfolio Manager Workstation, which empowers users to automate the investment process, whilst ensuring that the investment professional is focused on "exception management" and value-added client services. The portal approach allows easy integration to extended external solutions for risk management and market analytics.
Working with Partners
During the last 10 years Odyssey has built partnerships with suppliers who offer specialist expertise and complementary products and services that complete the Odyssey solution set. Solutions embedded include the reporting engine from Actuate, integration tools from Ascential (IBM), and database technology from Sybase.
In 2004 Odyssey formed a global alliance with Accenture as a preferred implementation partner, and signed agreements with CMS in Melbourne Australia and with Raqmiyat in Dubai to distribute our solutions in these new territories.
Throughout its network Odyssey employs more than 300 business and IT professionals, with an average age of 35. Odysseyâs employees combine experience, enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism. Together Odyssey represents a mixture of 21 nationalities, reflecting an international focus and office network and Odysseyâs belief that its employees should be close to the market and its customers in the key financial centers around the world.
Odysseyâs focus for the future remains, through a proactive partnership with customers, to continue towards meeting current and future requirements for business solutions, while addressing the needs of an increasingly wider segment of the wealth management industry. Bernard Coucke from the ING Group, an Odyssey client since 1999, has confirmed the results: "Odysseyâs solution suite is sophisticated, open and scalable. It meets all of our current and future operational and business needs."