Written by Steve Knabl

Swiss-Asia – Taking technology to the next level
As the Managing Partner and COO of Swiss-Asia Financial Services Pte Ltd, a Multi-Broker/Multi-Custodial Fund and Wealth Management Platform, my biggest challenge is to ensure that the integration of the technology and business processes of our company is constructed in the most scalable and lean manner. The technological challenges we face are undoubtedly putting restraints on our business model and on the overall scalability and profitability of our business.

Legacy Technology
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different electronic trading systems and portfolio management systems out there. Yet, all have one single point in common: they are all based on and linked to legacy technology. Today, in our everyday lives, we all use 21st-century technology while transmission of crucial financial information still depends upon outdated technology. However, we have an opportunity to change this and to lead the way by developing 21st-century data mapping technology middle-ware.

When will banks move on to 21st century technology?
As we cannot change how banks and large established software vendors develop their systems, we have decided to take things into our own hands—by changing the way we map data, and thus facilitating the integration of the data received from our 65 counterparts into our two vendor systems. Basically, we need to integrate information that comes in 65 different formats into one specific format for each of our two vendor systems (applications), essentially translating 65 different languages into two common languages.

Intermediation between source and application
Data mapping is crucial to data integration to ensure the smooth transfer of information between source and application. If that process does not run efficiently, neither does our business. The effects of this are far-reaching for both our business and the clients we serve. Having experimented and dealt with numerous financial software providers, the lack of flexibility of all our technology service providers and counterparts seriously impedes our ability to gain economies of scale. The costly third-party integration processes and the lack of comprehensiveness have always put limitations on the growth of our business. In the less than perfect financial climate that we are continuing to experience, it is more important than ever that software minimizes costs and improves flexibility. Our current systems and software are simply not playing the role required of them.

Building blocks for economies of scale
Developing 21st-century trade mapping & reconciliation modules will enable us to overcome serious shortcomings in our existing Fund Portfolio Management & Wealth Management Systems. The current status of the development program is providing positive results. We are already working to improve the current set of third-party integrations to extend our reach, as well as to bring in large economies of scale in controls and risk management.

Bringing all our data mapping needs under one non-legacy roof is a positive and business-affirming path forward. However, we see no need to stop there. I can confirm that our peers experience very similar, if not identical concerns. We intend to partner up in the pursuit to distribute this solution and its components to our extensive network within the next 12 months. This will enable our peers and the rest of the industry to profit from this much-needed technology that greatly surpasses the legacy systems in use at the moment.