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Nicholas-Applegate Is Taking Advantage of Technological Advances to Improve Client Servicing and Lower Costs

SVP and CTO Steve Rapp is centralizing applications at Nicholas-Applegate for improved efficiency and quality management, and providing salespeople mobile access to the CRM database for better customer service.

Steve Rapp

Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management
600 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101


$15 billion in assets under management.


T. Rowe Price; U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co.; Providian Capital Management; Commonwealth Insurance.


B.A. from Kenyon College


Tom Simons, the CEO of a company in Louisville where I worked when I was fresh out of college. He took a chance and spent time with me.


Marna Whittington, CEO of Nicholas-Applegate. Marna is the rare CEO who demonstrates a compelling modesty.


During a recent accounting system project, there was not a single department that wasn't affected by the undertaking. It was difficult, but the thing that was so rewarding about it was the coming together of many departments. We met our deadline and we did it on budget.

Top 3 Current Projects

Simplify and Consolidate Trade Matching


This is an efficiency and cost-saving undertaking for both our global and domestic businesses. We're looking at vendor-provided solutions. What we have now is a number of applications that we've accumulated over the years. We're working on retiring those applications and moving to one central matching facility. The vendor space is now capable of doing it, which wasn't the case a couple of years ago.

Total Quality Management


Improve client servicing, including responsiveness and content. We're revamping the client statement and also improving the workflow for setting up and handling new accounts. We've implemented a lot of major systems since 2001/2002, and what we need to do now is weave them together and begin to exploit their capabilities. The real maximization comes from systems integration, so we're working on conquering interfaces.

Wireless Access to CRM Data


Provide salespeople with mobile access to our CRM database. We're looking at a couple of vendors that provide access via a BlackBerry device from the road. Security is still a definite concern, but I think we've got the satisfactory controls to protect ourselves.

2007 Initiatives

Replace Portfolio Management System and Trading Platform

Two or three years ago, we replaced our accounting system. Our next project, which is even larger in scope and impact, is to address our homegrown portfolio management system and trading platform. It's gotten a little tired -- it's on an older technology -- so we're looking at replacing that wholesale with a vendor-provided platform.

Update Nacm.com

We're going to update our Internet site and our secure client portal. We're looking at how we deliver content to clients to make sure it is being done in a rich, responsible way.

Refresh Desktop Systems

We're going to do a complete refresh of all PCs and laptops with all new computers.


IT Budget:

$7.66 million.

Key Technology Management:

  • Sean Hudson, Investments and Compliance,
  • Larry Russell, Operations, Sales and Marketing,
  • JP Gagnon, Databases and Data Feeds

Size of Technology Team:

22 in-house employees (plus 18 outsourced).

Percent of IT Projects Outsourced:

None. We work with vendors for delivery of major functionality using their products and ASP arrangements.

Key Technology Partners:

Bloomberg, LatentZero, Financial Models, Microsoft, Sybase and Factset.

Success Metrics:

If it has scale and duration, it will get a formal project proposal and be put in front of our executive committee. As we reach milestones, we go back to the executive committee. But most projects are not of that scale, so we look at things such as: Were our goals achieved? Do we see cost and time savings?

Vision: The Next Big Thing

Privacy rights management security -- things such as opting out or signing up for a do-not-call list. People want greater control over their privacy, and that's particularly acute for financial services. It's important for us to portray ourselves to our customers as trusted advisers. We want to engender loyalty. There's going to be a greater push for transparency -- shareholders and others want to know how their money is being managed.

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