SS&C’s acquisition of Advent Software is a significant change in the vendor landscape for investment management firms. On paper, the combination of Advent’s strong technology portfolio and SS&C’s increasing capabilities in providing services creates a very interesting and powerful supplier.
As with all these transactions, the challenge is in the integration and execution of the merger (although both firms have plenty of experience in this respect). I do, however, believe there are several cultural differences between the two firms and it will be interesting to see if the new organisation tries to retain the best of both brands, or whether SS&C Technologies will ultimately ‘consume’ Advent at the expense of losing some of its key strengths.
One area where Advent has always shown muscle is in its marketing and product discipline. Its products all have very clear market and functional domains; the crossover of solutions is minimal. SS&C now owns a large portfolio of products. There are many areas where these products are competitive and some cases where they are ageing. Will SS&C take the opportunity to move to a more strategic approach, with single strategic products for single markets? While this may seem an ideal opportunity to do so, to adopt this position without losing revenue impact will be a challenge. Firms on non-strategic products will be forced to review their options and may move elsewhere.