Mischler Financial Group Uses Quantrix Qloud to Stand Apart
Competition is strong in the institutional brokerage market, and niche firms must find a way to stand out. Mischler Financial recognized that its institutional clients needed more in a partner than a strong reputation and competitive pricing – they needed access to information. A series of models developed on the Quantrix Qloud platform has created a “slam dunk” edge for the firm.
Mischler Financial is the financial industry’s oldest broker/dealer firm owned and operated by service-disabled veterans. It serves institutional clients including public entities such as cities, counties, and municipalities, and provides direct access to global equities and fixed income markets, new issue underwriting and syndication within the US Equity and Debt capital markets, and asset management for liquid and alternative investment strategies.
“These large institutions operate very large funds – often in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Jason Klinghoffer, CFA, Director, Mischler Financial. “But many times the fund managers are public servants without access to the tools and resources a Wall Street money manager has.” Recognizing their budgetary limitations, Mischler sought a way to level the playing field for its customers that buy and sell without access to Bloomberg terminals or costly analytics programs.
Klinghoffer joined the firm in 2014 with a mission to create a new set of analytical models to replace the cumbersome investment strategies and offerings spreadsheets that Mischler provided to clients. One requirement: an online platform for direct client access. “No matter how cool your spreadsheet is, at the end of the day, email is a huge bottleneck,” says Klinghoffer. “It’s inefficient, clients can’t easily access the models on demand, and we can’t track whether or not they are using them.”
Originally he planned on developing an internally housed solution from the ground up, but chose Quantrix after discovering the robustness of the cloud-based Quantrix Qloud. “It has its own admin panel, we can assign logins to clients, and we didn’t have to develop a system to host the analytics,” says Klinghoffer, who uses Qloud tracking functionality to track user logins and usage. “We can see who is logging in and who is accessing and using models, all from within Quantrix. This creates great efficiency in managing our clients’ information and analytical needs.”
The modeling capabilities and calculation engine far exceed what Mischler was able to do with Excel: the firm can separate data from the logic of the presentation, which means it can house data in various places without dragging down performance. “I have data stores that are two gigabytes in size – imagine trying to put them into a spreadsheet and get some intelligence out of them,” says Klinghoffer. “The memory requirements alone would shut them down.”
In addition to improved delivery and calculation, Mischler says plain language formulas and efficient structure makes it much easier to manage models. “Even with such large data sets and complex models, I can come back in after months and understand what’s going on,” says Klinghoffer. “I can step through a formula to see what is being manipulated, and understand the impact of any change I will make. Thanks to category relationships between matrices and dimensional linking through formulas, even my most complicated models only need a few hundred formulas to calculate tens of millions of cells!”
In the spring of 2016, Mischler rolled out its package of models to customers via the Quantrix Qloud, available 24/7, including portfolio and security analytics, investment strategy development, and inventory offerings. It offers these tools for free to clients who execute some of their bond transactions with Mischler, providing intelligence and data that were formerly out of reach to them and leveling the playing field for Mischler with the largest investment firms.
“Clients can buy their bonds from anyone – this is our value-add,” says Klinghoffer. “We give them the tools they need to make decisions, all within a seamless online cloud environment. This is a slam-dunk for us – and we’re just getting started.”