Firm58 Welcomes Merlin Securities

We were excited to announce yesterday that Merlin Securities had selected Firm58 to automate and manage its CSA/Soft Dollar program. They went live several months ago and it’s been a terrific relationship with the Merlin team.  The announcement can be read here.

One of the clues to our work with Merlin was the white paper we posted on our website this past October.  In that paper, Ron Suber, Senior Partner & Head of Global Sales & Marketing shares Merlin’s views on Business Process Maturity and the optimal time to invest in automation.   From their quote in the press release you can see it was “time” for automation.  “Integrating Firm58’s software into our own proprietary systems will help us manage that process [CSA/Soft Dollars] effectively while maintaining close communication with clients and regulators,” said Aaron Vermut, COO at Merlin Securities.

There are two themes here we have seen take hold in 2011.  The first is broker dealer clients now expect the management of a formal CSA/Soft Dollar program beyond the myriad of spreadsheets that have dominated this practice.  At a minimum, broker dealers are trying to protect their commission revenues, if not grow their business.  With trading volumes still below the ’07 and ’08 levels, firms are doing whatever they can to meet client demands while securing more business and protecting their existing commission dollars.

The second theme centers on transparency and regulation.  It’s not enough to struggle through paper files and fragmented sources of trade data to try and answer regulator’s questions.  Quick response times and accuracy of data is critical to avoiding any compliance headaches (or nightmares).

In both situations, Firm58 has been helping its clients to protect and grow it revenue base, as well as serve as a critical component in compliance and regulatory reporting for several years now.   A comprehensive approach to commissions management  (Billing, Profit Analysis, CSA/Soft Dollar, Compensation, and Regulatory Reporting) is a must have for any brokerage.