Why Asset Managers Can’t Just Buy One Part of Ridgeline

August 22, 2023
Chris Flynn, VP Strategy - Trade Order Management
 min read

“Can I just buy individual components of Ridgeline?”

Ridgeline talks to many investment management firms about their technology. We are occasionally asked if we would consider implementing single component(s) of the Ridgeline platform, such as our Accounting system or only our OMS. We understand the request but believe the value of Ridgeline is greatly reduced when we begin to integrate primary components of our systems with others.

The power of Ridgeline is the unified platform approach 

Ridgeline is revolutionizing the asset management industry by offering mission critical software components on a single platform. Firms no longer need to monitor and maintain clunky batch integrations between multiple systems, worry about which ones have stale data, or marry data from the various systems in Excel. Ridgeline maintains a single source of data, one position service with a single book of record, one security master, one client record — one source of truth for all data.  

Key Benefit #1: Ridgeline's single book of record

One of the core benefits of moving to Ridgeline is our industry-changing single book of record.  We have developed a position service that calculates current positions and delivers consistent position views across the platform. Need an appraisal with the most current information? The position service will provide the latest positions. Want to propose trades in a portfolio? It will provide portfolio holdings including proposed trades. There were corporate actions and some cancel and correct transactions processed this morning? You’re covered.  

If core third-party components were to be swapped in for a part of Ridgeline, the value of the single source of truth is lost and the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Ridgeline can no longer serve up the most current positions when a firm uses a third-party OMS, as that legacy system relies on static positions.

Key Benefit #2: An accelerated onboarding experience 

Another major benefit of Ridgeline is the single setup page for new clients and portfolios.  When you onboard a customer in Ridgeline, you can set up all of that customer’s information in one central place. Add broker and custodian information, compliance restrictions, benchmarks, strategies, and model assignments in one single screen, then utilize that screen to monitor and maintain all of this information. When we switch out components of our platform this benefit is lost. The firm either needs to try to sync up the data from the third-party system, or go back to monitoring client data in multiple systems.  

Key Benefit #3: One platform, many personas 

As we consider the various personas in an asset management firm, we have the luxury and responsibility of considering functionality that spans across traditional systems. A relationship manager can review all of the traditional features of a CRM — call notes, client information, etc.  However, we also provide all of the customer and portfolio information such as compliance rules, benchmarks, and custodial information. We also provide a view into the latest positions, performance returns and transactions with the relationship management views. 

All of these features contain drill downs into the detail. Does a transaction look incorrect? Click the link and see the exact Accounting entry. A portfolio manager can see current positions, with an easy-to-comprehend view into Accounting, active trades, pending positions, compliance status, and current up-to-date performance all on a single screen. If we try to do this via integration with another system, you would lose this seamless workflow that Ridgeline was purpose-built to provide.

Key Benefit #4: Say bye to batch

Another point to consider is that, fundamentally, batch processing is becoming even less reliable. In the case of truly global asset managers, they need to begin trading Sunday afternoon and have the system up and functioning until Friday afternoon U.S. time. If you need to take your systems down to refresh them at least once per day, how can you truly trade 24 hours a day? 

That begs another question: what is the start-of-day position set? Your start of day in the US is near or at the end of trading for the Asian markets and in the middle of trading in the European markets. Thanks to our single book of record, Ridgeline does not require system downtime to update positions, feed other parts of the platform, or refresh holdings — you are ready to go as markets open and close.

Key Benefit #5: One holistic implementation 

Finally, when users consider switching to Ridgeline, they often think back (less than fondly) to the initial installations of their current systems: months spent installing an Accounting system, just to start all over with the OMS, Compliance system, billing system, etc. With Ridgeline, you have one functioning platform. When you implement, data for all of your systems is converted and applied across all functional areas. You have a fully operational trading-billing-compliance system — with all positions, account information, and security master data ingested into the platform. The lift to get one of these other components operating is a fraction of what it takes with a completely new system.

Most legacy providers are saddled with the burden of maintaining integrations between current and older versions of core third-party integrations. Your new accounting system’s integrations need to be backwards compatible with the OMS vendor’s past three versions. Your older accounting system version needs to be compatible with the OMS vendor’s latest release. Any asset manager will testify to the pain of upgrading a core system, and any vendor will attest to the pain and cost of maintaining this spider web of connection points. At Ridgeline, we would rather allocate our engineering resources to new feature development rather than this maintenance. By eliminating integrations to competitor products, we can do exactly that!

This is not to say we are anti-integration. In fact, Ridgeline is developed using an extensive API library, which we fully document and encourage our customers to utilize, knowing their integrations will not break with an update. We have also built standard integrations to your custodians, brokers, and other third parties critical to your operations. We would also entertain integration to a specialized system for functionality that we do not currently offer. For example, if a client had a subset of their business focused on Private Equity, we may integrate with a system that handled the special needs of this asset class as a bridge until that functionality is available within Ridgeline natively.  

We strongly believe the advantages of a single system outweigh the needs to continue with batch file integrations, upgrades and legacy technology. So while the answer to "Can I just buy one component of Ridgeline" is "no," just about everything else is you'll hear from Ridgeline is usually "no problem."

Are you interested in learning more? Reach out by clicking “Request a Demo” on this page or email us at hello@ridgelineapps.com for a tailored demonstration of our platform.

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