Stuart Berwick, CEO
The first Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) was a regulation established by the European Union (EU) to govern financial markets. It proved to have several flaws in its framework in the face of the 2008 financial crisis, which led to the creation of a new and improved regulation—MiFID II. This framework imposed more stringent reporting requirements on trade firms in order to increase transparency. Since then, the implementation of MiFID II has made a significant impact on banks, investors, asset managers, and other financial institutions. At this juncture, Singletrack was founded to help brokers, investment banks, and other sell-side firms in a financially turbulent marketplace gain the much needed operational resilience for business excellence. The company, headquartered in the financial heart of London, provides customer relationship management (CRM) tools and research solution sets aimed at transforming client engagement, road-shows and other corporate activity, and research distribution.
What are the key trends seen in Capital Markets that Singletrack has adopted into its product sets?
MiFID II changed the interaction dynamics between the buy and sell-sides of capital markets. Business processes have become much more systematic and data-driven than ever before in order to be compliant and to support the business models on the buy-side. MiFID II and the unbundling of execution services from advisory services have increased the revenue pressure on sell-side firms. Buy-side firms with active managers, on the other hand, feel the squeeze from tracker funds. As a whole, the industry is trying to improve profits and add more revenue streams with fewer resources and less experienced talent at hand. Capital markets are looking for streamlined and transparent methods to facilitate communications and interactions between buy-side, sell-side and corporate clients.
We, at Singletrack, have built a solution which embeds leading edge technology—centred on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics—not just to be a system of record, but also a system that drives actions and insights to help end-users traverse the productivity gap. Since its development ten years ago, our platform has been entirely cloud-based. At a time when most other companies in capital markets were apprehensive about cloud integration, we at Singletrack deliberately bet on cloud and partnered with Salesforce. Now, even though cloud platforms have become ubiquitous in capital market firms, a decade’s worth of experience in that space has given Singletrack a steady advantage over others in the industry.
What features does the Singletrack platform offer that can overcome the prevalent challenges in the industry?
With the world becoming increasingly data-driven and connected, every institution is part of a web that connects research aggregators, trading platforms and data interaction hubs. No system that aims to be effective as a business solution can remain an island without connecting to this network. It has become an obvious challenge for CIOs to implement technology aimed at bridging the gap between cost and productivity. Singletrack was founded with the vision of solving these technological challenges in the capital markets space.
Old school enterprise software does not meet user expectations anymore, as these are coloured by the outstanding user experience we have when using cloud based solutions in our personal life - such as Amazon, Google etc. Singletrack’s innovations go beyond the norm to nurture the productivity that clients need. The sell-side platform of Singletrack comprises modules that broadly encompass the CRM process, research distribution and the associated analytics. A huge part of the inner workings of the industry is centred on connecting issuers and investors, where the sell-side plays an important intermediary role.
With this goal in mind, one of the modules on the platform focuses on solutions that deal with activities such as road-shows and event management.
Another module is focused on research distribution, taking research content, and distributing it via multiple channels such that it has the maximum actionable potential with the right investor. The third module, called Advanced Insights, is a data analytics solution that decodes the information captured by the other modules within the platform to generate actionable revenue-driving insights into client profitability, account coverage, research engagement, and more.
All of these modules can be deployed together in the Singletrack platform or as standalone solutions to be integrated into an existing CRM. As a modern web-based tool, Singletrack offers custom user-experiences for its mobile and desktop versions.
Singletrack has also launched a solution for the buy-side —as a complement to its sell-side solution. This platform enables buy-side firms to track and quantify the value of services and interactions with the sell-side. It ensures that buy-side firms maintain regulatory compliance with MiFID in that they do not receive services from providers with whom they do not have a contract or a trial agreement. It is both a compliance checking and a business-value adding solution that comprises a voting model to enable buy-side firms to assess their sell-side partners comprehensively. The platform uses AI and ML to reveal data insights that the buy-side portfolio managers and analysts may not receive from their research providers. Singletrack has thus established itself as a platform that connects the constituencies of the buy-side and the sell-side to work efficiently together.
How has your solution helped clients with their customer relationship management?
Since our founding, Singletrack has successfully executed hundreds of implementation projects and has delivered successful collaborative efforts with clients using our in-house team of capital market experts based in London and New York.
One of our clients—Liberum, a fast-growing investment bank— needed a solution that was more future-ready, flexible, and faster in response than the other CRM tools in the market. In 2012, Liberum decided to use Singletrack’s client engagement applications integrated with the natural workflow between departments to ensure that the employees involved were fully briefed and ready to act on a client’s interest. Liberum has also implemented two Singletrack Advanced Insights business models—Profitability Scorecard and Client Scorecard—to show the quarterly breakdown of different activities within the company.
What does the future look like over the next 12 to 18 months, in terms of expansion and product enhancements?
Singletrack is not just a platform built with the latest technology (we have three upgrades every year without fail). Beyond that, specialist consultation services add functionality, customisation and value for clients. Over the years, Singletrack has witnessed significant client growth—particularly in the UK, Europe and the US. Our headquarters in the UK gives us the first-hand experience and knowledge of new financial policies such as MiFID II. We have used this position to explore further into capital markets in search of business development insights. In the next 12 to 18 months, we are aiming to expand our influence in the US and UK markets. Using mobile technology, AI, and ML, we have made a system that can easily capture core data, generate data insights and take actions based on this information. We will also expand our asset management client base and continue to enhance our buy side solution.
Ultimately for us, it is not just about being a software company that addresses specific segments of an industry, but also about leveraging our years’ worth of experience in unifying those segments and enabling them to interact efficiently.