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Quovo is developing an ACATS rooter process with Apex Clearing as first to sign on

The Silicon Alley startup is using its data science as a way of attacking a clog considered not susceptible to intervention

Author Oisin Breen November 14, 2017 at 11:09 PM
no description available
Lowell Putnam: It ensures everything on both sides of the transaction is 'fit for purpose,' meaning it's just down to the National Securities Clearing Corp.-DTCC to do the necessary work..

Peter Giza

Peter Giza

November 15, 2017 — 3:07 AM
Making the account transfers as easy as a phone number transfer [Lockshin] would certainly be transformational. Remember that there was a time that this was not possible and certainly perceived as not a good thing by the carriers. Then the FCC came along and made phone number porting law via Wireless Local Number Portability starting November 24, 2003. I find it unimaginable that the SEC would enact such account portability but it would certainly make ACAT a reality. Back to reality and that ACAT ala Quovo / Apex is heresy :) Having proposed a common data pipeline and APIs to the industry in years past I speak from experience. However, things have changed significantly in the past five years and there is momentum for sweeping change. One of the major differences between ACAT and other money movement platforms is that ACAT has no social aspect to it. Its not a cool thing that you can experience with or collaborate with friends. You're moving your investment account(s) from one place(s) to other(s). Outside of the undesirable removing of control from the entity holding the accounts there are the litany of systems and protocols used by each of the controlling entities. Having worked with DTCC on the Alts side I can say without hesitation that the clearing entity gets a bad rap and doesn't deserve most if any of it in context. The ACAT solution _should_ be far easier than marshalling alternative and private investment data. Chasing alt data could be a simple as a file download or calling a 4 person PE manager who still sends out statements via paper and US Mail. And then there are the backend systems ranging from - wait for it - and API sitting on FTP - oh boy, to green screen scraping and worse. Just having ACAT provide FedEx-like tracking of the process would be a big accomplishment at this point. I believe and certainly hope that they can get beyond the hurdles that they will encounter. When I proposed that an industry standard data pipeline be brought forward for RFC I was told very directly 'we don't want account data directly accessible because then people will start moving their accounts'. It is all about control. But as I argued then and argue now, accounts don't get moved unless there is a life event, someone isn't doing their job or you don't have a competitive marketplace anymore and making someone's life miserable moving money is not good business. To be sure the technical aspect is daunting due to many arcane systems but those are the kind of problems software engineers love to solve. The bigger issue is getting those in control of those accounts to cooperate. All it will take is two of them to get in on the program and everyone else will have to follow. Pete

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