Trading tools

Charles River continues push into South Africa after 2008 success

Technology provider Charles River Development is expecting to attract more South African buy-side firms to use its Investment Management System (IMS) in 2009 after signing three companies last year.

“I am visiting South Africa towards the end of Q1 and we already have meetings with five new accounts,” Jon Steward, managing director, EMEA, Charles River Development, told “We have won five accounts there over three years and it wouldn’t surprise me if we delivered another four this year.”

Prudential Portfolio Managers selected IMS in June 2008 to replace two separate front office solutions. In September, prime brokerage firm SPS, a subsidiary of Sanlam Capital Markets, rolled out IMS to client GenX Statistical Arbitrage Hedge Fund. And in October, ABSA Capital signed up for Charles River Compliance, an IMS module.

These three firms join fund manager Metropolitan, Charles River’s First South African client, which selected the IMS in March 2006, and STANLIB, South Africa’s third-largest investment manager, which signed up in December 2007.

A big driver for funds choosing Charles River, said Steward, is the desire to move to a single system to trade multiple asset classes. “We tend to be replacing two or three systems with a Charles River system,” said Steward. “This gives companies economies of scale and it is cheaper to put everything on one platform. We have been proving to them that we have the capacity to provide the same if not better functionality as their existing systems.”

Steward also claimed that Charles River is more focused on the development and tailoring of systems to local needs than some competitors. “Incumbent vendors are not really putting the effort into R&D,” said Steward. “We change the product to suit the local market and clients tell me they are not getting this from the existing vendors in South Africa.”