Customer requests for increased desktop functionality, as well as the opportunity to increase the footprint for its pre-trade risk and connectivity services, were key drivers for Mantara's acquisition of UNX, says president and CEO Michael Chin.
UNX's installed base for its Catalyst EMS offers Mantara a "valuable desktop presence" says Chin, providing a ready platform for more widely deploying its own Navigator risk control desktop software. In addition, Catalyst provides functionality that Mantara's customers were requesting be built into Navigator, such as the ability to add, amend and cancel trades manually.
Chin says that the open design approach - leveraging Microsoft's .Net platform - adopted for Catalyst will make it straightforward to integrate Navigator with Catalyst. In addition, Chin is open to having functionality from other EMS vendors also integrate with Catalyst - via its Marketplace plug-in design - to provide more complete functionality where customers request it. He views Catalyst as a platform for integration, not necessarily as an EMS offering that is everything to everybody.
While Mantara was looking to build additional functionality into Navigator, it was not actively looking to make any acquisition to achieve it, Chin says. Conveniently, it received an approach from Broadhaven Capital Partners, acting for UNX, which was exploring strategic directions. UNX's broker/dealer business is not part of the acquisition, and Mantara will remain broker neutral.
Chin declines to say how much Mantara paid for UNX, but says the deal was part cash, part equity. He expects cost savings from absorbing UNX's infrastructure. All of UNX's employees - which Chin says are mostly highly qualified engineers and developers - are expected to join Mantara.
The combination of Catalyst with Mantara's Expressway pre-trade risk, market data and connectivity adds a low-latency element to the EMS, Chin Says, suggesting that this is a general market direction of combining speed with value-added functionality.