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Investment Firm Overhauls Front Office

Harris Investment Management scraps obsolete technologies in favor of Indata's TOM and Portfolio-Modeling Solutions.

Harris Investment Management (HIM), a Chicago-based firm with over $20 billion in assets, recently implemented Indata's Precision Trading for equity investing. The firm, which specializes in institutional investing, is using Precision Trading for portfolio modeling and trade-order management.

HIM opted for Indata to replace two existing systems, Macgregor's trade-order-management system, Predator, and Financial Models Company's Pivot, a portfolio-modeling tool. However, according to the firm, HIM had been using the technologies for almost 10 years, and the products had become technologically insufficient.

"They had reached the sunset of their years," says Cindy Holmes, HIM's manager of investment systems. "The average lifecycle of an application is seven years. Both the functionality and technology had become obsolete."

HIM invests quantitatively on the equity side, according to Holmes, who stresses the importance of an effective modeling tool in order to invest profitably. While she says that FMC encouraged Holmes to upgrade to FMC's newest tool, FMCModel, the upgrade path wasn't suitable for her firm.

Holmes says that she decided to test Indata because HIM was already using the vendor's portfolio attribution product, and was pleased with its performance and Indata's customer service.

Originally, she says, the firm was looking only to replace the portfolio-modeling technology, but Indata's Precision Trading tied in trade-order management as well. After testing both solutions for a few months, Holmes says that the traders were sold on the new trade-order management aspect as well.

A spokesperson from Macgregor explains that because of HIM's straightforward feature requirements, it had many vendor options available. Macgregor's system, he says, focuses more on specificities such as FIX connectivity, which may not have been necessary for HIM. FMC had no comment on the replacement.

With a comparable price tag to other vendors that she explored, and the ability for Indata to implement the solutions in about a month, Holmes said she was convinced. In addition, Indata had no problem accommodating for the needs of the firm, another key factor for Holmes.

"I was impressed with Indata's willingness to enhance products at our request," she explains, adding that these enhancements were then added to Indata's basic product functionality. "We found things that needed to be improved and they were able to turn our requests around quickly."

She adds that the integration into HIM's accounting system and pricing feeds was simple because of Indata's open architecture, based on Microsoft access on an SQL Server.

"This solution has streamlined the process so that the portfolio managers have better information and better control. They can work more quickly and be more responsive," she explains. "This was a big project and we're pleased with how well it went, so we'll look into other Indata products in the future."

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