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Charles River Continues Four-Step Program

Burlington, Mass.-based Charles River Development (CRD), a provider of investment management software and services to the buy side, has begun its very own four-step program.

Burlington, Mass.-based Charles River Development (CRD), a provider of investment management software and services to the buy side, has begun its very own four-step program. To offer improved integration capabilities, the company currently is on Step 3 of a four-step process that will migrate clients to version 8 of its investment management platform.

The Charles River Investment Management System (Charles River IMS) features a distributed, service-oriented architecture covering technologies, such as Java, J2EE, Microsoft .NET and Web services. Step 3 of CRD's migration program involves the conversion of the core server-side processes.

CRD (booth 1760) now has 200 exposed Web services in its core investment management system with which customers can integrate, according to Steve Engdahl, the firm's director of product management. "We are very far along in the upgrade process with existing clients plus new customers," he says. "We have a number of customers in production."

The company also has leveraged the Web services behind the Charles River IMS for its ComplianceAnywhere offering, so customers can receive alerts via the Web or BlackBerry devices. Users can, in turn, effect trades in response to those compliance alerts through the same device on which the alert was received, Engdahl explains. "It's a really nice way of incorporating the whole workflow for users who may not be in the office at a given point in time," he says.

Step 4 of the migration - which will take effect with the release of version 9 of the IMS later this year - currently is in development. It involves converting the remaining portions of the user interface. Outside of the technology migration aspects of the release, version 9 will include close market data integration with Reuters, integration of transaction cost analytics - both pre- and post-trade - and enhanced execution management functionality, including direct market access out of the Charles River IMS front end, according to Engdahl.

CRD is pursuing increased integration with market data providers in response to greater buy-side involvement in trading, Engdahl offers. Buy-side firms "are making many more decisions themselves about how to place their orders directly into the market, and they are utilizing electronic trading, algorithmic tools and smart order routing," he says. "Moving to this more-flexible platform ... fits with some of the business needs out there in the market." Specifically, CRD customers will be able to call up Reuters market data or charts on a particular trade within the Charles River IMS, rather than having to go to a different application and cut and paste the information back into the system, Engdahl notes.

Going forward, Engdahl says, CRD will enhance the platform in the area of pre-trade transaction cost analytics. The plan, he says, is to provide slippage measures against actual trades in real time. The Charles River IMS then will fire off alerts when a particular set of trading activities deviates from the expected results.

Additionally, CRD plans to integrate more algorithmic vendors into its systems - with smart order routing on top of that - giving buy-side traders more options when it comes time to program a trade, Engdahl adds. "If they are looking to split an order up into algorithmic trading and routing liquidity directly on a series of ECNs, they can fire off those steps with the push of one button," he says.

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