Tim Leeming – A Passion for Software Solutions

Tim Leeming is the Chief Administration Officer and Business Development Head for Riva Financial Systems, as well as one of the four founders of the firm, Director and Board Secretary. With about 30 years in the industry, he’s held responsibilities in various aspects of the transfer agency space, including over 13 years in the offshore […]

Tim Leeming is the Chief Administration Officer and Business Development Head for Riva Financial Systems, as well as one of the four founders of the firm, Director and Board Secretary. With about 30 years in the industry, he’s held responsibilities in various aspects of the transfer agency space, including over 13 years in the offshore funds back office operations of Global Asset Management, followed by many years in the business analysis, system selections and requirements, system implementations and data conversions at many of the leading organizations in the asset management and service provider organizations, working in the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.

Founded in 2002 and incorporated in the Isle of Man, Riva Financial Systems offers the asset management industry a unique global transfer agency solution supporting multiple jurisdictions, currencies and product types on a single platform. Here Tim tells us more about it.

 

What were Riva Financial Systems’ beginnings back in 2002?

At the time of Riva’s inception, fund houses and service providers were relying on 20+ year old legacy systems supporting single jurisdictions, single product lines and over the years, being used for business models they were not designed to support. As founders of Riva, we had the vision of creating a state-of-the-art, global platform to replace the multiple legacy systems being used by global organizations, across jurisdictions and product types, yet deliver a solution to the local markets and introducing operational efficiencies. The product that was created, Riva TA, is currently being deployed in many jurisdictions and has already demonstrated how its licensees are able to generate significant cost savings from their current business model.

It should be noted that the first 4 years of Riva’s foundation were spent strictly in design and development mode without the influence of a particular client. This period allowed the Riva team to design a best practices solution rich in integrated functionality and efficiencies opportunities.

 

How did you improve on the existing market offering?

The key attribute was that the system was designed from day 1 to fully accommodate both managers running their own book of business and Third Party Administrators supporting many clients. We had experience of working on systems that were being used within TPAs but were never designed to support that business. The system database structure affords very strong and flexible data segregation and functional access rights delivering specific data access and processing authority to users and potentially TPA clients direct through menu of service.

Further, all four of us had hands-on experience gained in the business and especially the importance of cash management and controls within the transfer agency ensured that the system was extremely strong in these areas.

The key concept of having a global solution replaces multiple legacy systems – the Riva solution uses core building blocks to construct specific business rules and controls in support of the multi-jurisdictional products and structures on a single database. As a result of this aspiration, the system has been designed to be scalable and all subsequent design decisions have ensured that the high-volume scalability has not been compromised.

 

Can you tell us about the software solutions that Riva offers to the asset management and investor servicing industry?

Riva offers a fully integrated TA solution that can be tailored to fit the requirements of a small boutique organization or that of a multi-jurisdictional manager or TPA. The system is highly configurable with users able to define the structures, static data tables and processing rules. As I mentioned earlier, the system user authority structure, again controlled by a client system support user, determines the functional authorities and also the access rights to the shareholder data on which that processing should occur.

 

What is the Riva Transfer Agent solution?

Riva TA provides the transaction and record keeping system for a Transfer Agency delivering:-

  • Strong dealing and pricing and registration controls involving KYC, investor stops, and investor watches, four eyes verification , rekey and checking.
  • Rigorous processing controls – together with extensive operational processing warnings to the users.
  • Robust automated distribution processing for both equity and interest accrual funds offering automatic cash and reinvest options.
  • Strong commission processing initial, pre-paid and trail with the structures delivering a very flexible but controlled solution.
  • The system has an integrated FX module removing operational risks associated with settlement of any client receipt or payment in currency other than fund currency.
  • The system has a real-time client and broker “Cash Account” which tracks all TA cash movements and entries to and from these enabling client service queries to see at a glance what is outstanding.
  • The system has integrated Case Management again enabling client service teams to take, track and follow up interactions with clients on the same system as the core processing functions.
  • Riva also offers an integrated image and workflow solution – the key benefit of which is the auto-indexing of the images when processing occurs using the images.
  • Riva TA a full settlements module, for receipt matching of  bank files and a payment manager which controls all external payments which are generated in a swift format to link to fund administrator preferred banking system.
  • Underpinning the system is an integrated general ledger which again enables users to interrogate the ledger balances and drill through the underlying trades that have given rise the balances.
  • The client document management process generates XML output that can be sent to print vendor to disseminate or can be run through client specific stylesheets to customize the client facing documents.
  • The system is a browser-based solution and also offers portal access for clients and brokers.

 

Can you briefly describe your business model?  

Our business model is to offer asset managers and third party service providers a completely integrated and global transfer agency solution, with the aim to lower their existing total cost of ownership while introducing operational efficiencies. We target our business development efforts towards both large global organizations as well single jurisdiction fund houses. Our focus in the first few years has been the United Kingdom and Europe but we are now expanding our offering into North America – starting with a deployment in Canada to be followed by the United States of America.

We recently released a Riva Cloud offering aiming to serve small to mid-range firms that do not wish to own or manage the infrastructure around the application. This is also an opportunity for Riva to discuss this offering to alternative, hedge and private equity firms that wish to support that part of their business while having the option to launch regulated UCITS funds.

 

What have been your company’s major achievements in the past 15 years?

Over the past few years, we saw Riva TA being deployed in over 14 global locations for a single asset manager, replacing legacy systems in Europe, the UK and Canada. Riva has seen complex implementations with high volumes. All of our implementations were achieved in a timely manner, without any data conversion reconciliation issues. All of Riva’s existing on-going production installations are running without any significant production disruptions.

 

Where do you see Riva in 3 years?

In the next 3 years, Riva will be a true alternative solution in the Canadian transfer agency space where the majority of the firms are still utilizing TA solutions build in the 1980s. In addition, initial efforts for a USA deployment will be under way.

We also expect to be at the forefront of any blockchain initiative as our proof of concept efforts in this particular space is demonstrating that Riva TA is uniquely positioned to belong in any of the asset management industry private blockchain infrastructures, offering full transfer agency processing.

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