By Spiros Giannaros, President and CEO, Charles River.
If 2020 was about maintaining business as usual in a most unusual time, 2021 has been about continuing to adapt to an evolving pandemic and finding new ways to succeed and grow. Thanks to our customers, employees, and partners across the globe, we’ve had a very good year, and I’d like to share a few highlights as it comes to a close.
Delivering robust and innovative technology is central to our DNA, and this year saw a number of additions to the platform for wealth and institutional managers looking to launch new products, manage risk in turbulent and liquidity-constrained markets, and consolidate mergers and acquisitions. On the wealth side, we launched Tailored Portfolio Solutions, enabling the industry to offer portfolio customizations such as direct indexing and tax optimization at scale. Wealth Hub, our managed accounts connectivity solution for asset managers and sponsor firms, continued to see brisk adoption.
On the institutional side, our strategic initiatives included increasing the scope of risk analytics capabilities and offering functionality to help our clients manage growing demand for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-directed products by building out data aggregation, visualization, and reporting capabilities on the State Street Alpha℠ Data Platform. The order and execution management team continued to expand our trade automation capabilities and new liquidity venues to provide clients with greater choice of execution options. In partnership with MSCI and Qontigo, we brought new portfolio and risk capabilities to market, including multi-asset class and structured product analytics and portfolio optimization.
The global trend toward greater private asset allocations meant we needed to find a solution to meet the needs of our clients. After exploring potential partnerships and acquisitions to complement Charles River’s focus on technology for managing publicly traded assets, we announced the acquisition of Mercatus, a respected fintech provider of front- and middle-office solutions for private asset managers. Integrating the Mercatus technology with Charles River IMS allows us to give our clients a holistic view across their public and private portfolios, including private equity and credit, infrastructure, and real estate.
Our engineering teams have undertaken a major rearchitecting of the Charles River platform to leverage the latest software engineering best practices including microservices, elastic scale, and modularity, which will enable better platform performance, faster upgrades, and an improved customer experience. We continued to build critical mass in our Microsoft Azure environment by facilitating migration from on-premise and hosted installations, positioning clients for growth and greater resilience across their enterprise.
Leveraging our platform’s open architecture and connectivity, Charles River’s partner ecosystem continued to enjoy strong growth in 2021 with the onboarding of new liquidity venues, desktop interoperability tools, and a leading provider of benchmark and index services.
Despite the challenges of travel bans and lockdowns, we continued to bring on new customers globally and earn industry accolades, including in Latin America, Asia Pacific, EMEA and a major win in the US for State Street Alpha and the Alpha Data Platform. To better serve our growing customer base, we expanded staffing in customer support roles, professional services and relationship management.
The pandemic and rapidly changing capital markets gave us many opportunities to reinvent ourselves and forge new pathways to growth. As 2021 comes to a close, I’d like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to our customers for your trust and support during a time of great global upheaval and uncertainty. I also want to thank our partners, and the 1100+ dedicated employees globally that create, sell, and market our technology and services, support our customers, and provide the legal, financial, and IT infrastructure needed to function as a best-in-class fintech provider. I look forward to continuing to grow together in 2022.
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