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Founded in 1991, the Silver Management Group of Companies initiated its operations as a multi-industry, multi-disciplinary management and technology consultancy and over time transitioned to exclusively focus on the investment services vertical. Commencing in 1998, the company developed its first financial technology software platform, which delivered a comprehensive online retail brokerage solution for brokers/dealers, financial advisors, and retail investors. Today, Silver operates two wholly-owned subsidiaries in the FinTech solution space: Silver Cost Basis and Silver Wealth Technologies. While the former provides best-in-class cost basis solutions in support of brokers’ regulatory transfer and year-end tax reporting requirements, the latter offers multi-vendor investment advisory and wealth management solutions.
Each of Silver Wealth Technologies’ software solutions has been built upon the company’s core competency in delivering ultra-scalable, high-quality data normalization within investment services datasets—a key skill learned over the years by adapting complex datasets for multi-currency portfolio accounting and other FinTech functionalities. Deployed either on-premise or in the cloud, Silver Wealth Technologies’ applications use lessons learned by processing tens of millions of investment accounts and billions of transactions to develop enterprise-scale data collection and complex calculation engines. We had an insightful conversation with Jason Vogel, Silver’s Senior Director of Product Strategy &Development to understand the company’s role as a trusted provider of enterprise-class business and technology solutions for investment services companies.
How has Silver Wealth Technologies evolved in its operational journey?
A significant catalyst for Silver has been the adoption and explosion of the cloud. In recent years, the IT industry has benefited from established companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft enabling truly cost-effective SaaS business models. This has made it easier for companies like ours to provide affordable solutions to our clients without sacrificing the security and scalability or incurring unreasonably high costs.
Further, across the board, FinTech has been driven by the ‘open platform’ era’s explosive growth of innovative, purpose-driven, third-party applications and more recently, the interoperability and integration partnerships among these solutions. This is particularly true in the wealth management space where the growing acceptance of highly scalable cloud infrastructure is fueling an incredible expansion of application development. Investment and wealth management firms benefit as they can leverage these new technologies to differentiate and provide better tools and services to their clients without losing focus on their own core competencies—financial planning, advisory services, and wealth management. However, each application that is integrated increases the number of data “shadow” copies leading to loss of data control. Inherently, this leads to operational inefficiencies, data inconsistencies and costly reconciliations, and privacy concerns and security risks relating to personally identifiable information (PII).
What are some of the challenges that CIOs face in the FinTech space?
Investment and wealth management companies— from independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) to the world’s largestfinancial institutions—want to take advantage of innovative third-party technology applications.
Silver solutions are designed to help firms update their data structures to take advantage of third-party systems while not losing control of their data
In the process of implementing these applications, however, it is mandatory to share access to the firm’s sensitive data. In this regard, CIOs, IT groups, and business executives alike have expressed their concerns about how this data is being protected. Some of the major questions being raised include:
• How secure is the data in the cloud?
• Is the data encrypted both in transit and at rest?
• Is the database locked down?
• Is there a need for this application to store field X?
• Should system A send our data directly to system B?
Traditionally, protecting sensitive data has meant completely restricting access to it, but the two desires of sharing access and protecting data are diametrically opposed. In addition to privacy and security concerns, executives are also worried about the data inefficiencies and inconsistencies resulting from the growing number of “shadow” datasets. Thus, Silver solutions are designed to help firms update their data structures to take advantage of third-party systems while not losing control of their data. Specifically, our solutions centralize, protect, enrich, and focus integration points while providing firm-configured, granular data permission access controls.
Please cite a case study defining how Silver Wealth Technologies enables its clients to overcome their problems and attain desired outcomes.
Over the years, Silver has helped many companies to achieve transparency in their financial processes. In one instance, a technology provider developing a comprehensive advisory platform needed help accelerating their product development. Their core competency was developing innovative user-facing applications and tools. The firm engaged Silver and licensed our multi-tenant software platform to normalize data from numerous custodians and trading systems to enable their front-end applications to organize, present, and enrich portfolio data regardless of its original source. Our solution also enriched the data by automatically creating account groups, calculating AUM fees, and generating daily portfolio-centric business analytics. Their front-end systems accessed all the data via flexible, robust API calls, and our solution helped protect the data by enforcing user-specific functional and data entitlements. With our help, the firm launched successfully their product on time for hundreds of advisors across more than 40 advisory firms.
What differentiates Silver Wealth Technologies?
We primarily compete against in-house development teams and their homegrown systems. However, many firms are beginning to feel that managing these systems is too expensive, too resource intensive, and a distraction from their core competencies. This is especially true for firms that prefer to focus as many internal resources as possible on investment services activities rather than building and maintaining their own software.
Silver relies on a consultative approach to help our clients methodically migrate from in-house and other legacy systems to our solutions by seamlessly integrating them without disrupting their existing business and technology ecosystems. Our modular software makes this easy as it is designed to be deployed as either point or holistic solutions—many roll-outs begin by solving a specific problem then expand over time. We feel our deep domain expertise coupled with our configurable, and extensible software platform gives us a distinct advantage.
What lies ahead for Silver Wealth Technologies?
Historically, Silver has focused on ultra-scalable solutions for large financial institutions. Going forward, we plan to begin offering enterprise-class solutions to smaller firms and independent advisors – leveraging affordable cloud infrastructure and our multi-tenant software capabilities will enable us to do so cost-effectively.
We will continue to build upon our decades of developing data-forward solutions and will be dedicated to helping firms of all sizes to evolve and differentiate by first focusing on their data. This includes security through multi-sourced data centralization and firm-controlled data access with extended partnerships for a wide selection of application integrations. We will also continue to improve our business intelligence, fee billing, and performance measurement applications based on client feedback and marketplace needs.