Dutch vendor Screen Consultants is to add to the number of market data management systems available in the US via a partnership with Shelton, Conn.-based consultancy Axiom Group to offer the vendor's INFOmatch system in the US market.
European rivals MDSL and BST already have US operations, while The Roberts Group is based in New York. Screen, though, has not had a US presence until now, and as a result only has a couple of clients in the US. "Our customer base is not yet big there, and we think one of the reasons is that we were lacking a good local partner," says Peter Fruitema, Screen founder-partner and director of INFOmatch.
The vendor chose to partner with Axiom rather than set up its own operation because of the risk associated with entering a market directly, compared to forming a partnership with an established company. "Setting up in new countries with our own staff is a risk and an expense," Fruitema says. "Cost and time to market is very important."
Axiom will be responsible for sales and first-line support for INFOmatch in the US. The company will also be able to use the system internally to provide outsourced market data management services to clients on an ASP basis.
Axiom already provides trading floor support services and manages real-time market data services for a number of investment bank and hedge fund clients. However, the company wants to expand its reach in the market data management area, and in particular to provide services on an ASP basis. But it did not have a system of its own to use as the basis for such a service. "It's fortuitous, because they were looking for a North American partner at the same timeâ¦ [that] we were looking for a tool," says George Blancke, managing partner at Axiom in New York.
Blancke says Axiom will focus on second- and third-tier firms, such as regional banks and broker-dealers, asset managers and hedge funds, rather than the big international players who already have systems in place. He says Axiom would prefer to do most of its work using the managed ASP, as this could prove more accurate and cost-effective than having clients implement the systems themselves. However, he says the vendor will implement and support an on-site installation for clients with large enough requirements.
"By year-end, we want 10 to 12 new firms on board using the managed service, and we'd like to think two or three larger firms will have purchased and be installing the system," Blancke says.
He says the vendor expects to grow slightly to support new business. Axiom now has around 30 staff, and "we are currently ready to support the first lot of [expected] clients, and we anticipate hiring this summer." He says this will most likely only amount to three or four new full-time staff initially, covering sales and client support. "It depends on how quickly we take over full support for the US," he says.
Axiom will not have access to the source code to develop US-centric enhancements to INFOmatch, but Screen will make changes based on Axiom's recommendations. "We would go back to Screen and work with them to develop anything specific required for this market," Blancke says. "The system is [already] really quite flexible. It is already permissioned for multiple currencies."
In addition, Screen has already adapted an INFOmatch function that takes into account different tax rates in European countries to handle local tax rules for users subject to different state taxes across the US, Fruitema says.