Janusz Lorenc (Metrosoft) : An Agent for Change
Change and adaptability is a key; those that do not evolve fast enough are becoming irrelevant. Conditions that allow to foresee early the need for change need to be created and nurtured.
Can you present Metrosoft in a few words ?
Metrosoft is a relatively small software company that is private and has a flat structure. Because everyone knows everything (with not too many exceptions), everyone can take the best possible action anytime. Over 20 years ago we helped a US manager, Alger, to creatively address the needs of German market. Distribution of Alger’s Luxembourg funds was supported by our simple voice recognition system and web access to provide pricing and holdings, it was revolutionary at the time. And after Alger achieved meaningful market penetration in a short time, other asset managers found us, an unknown company and asked for similar systems. Since then several major global asset servicers have come on board. Fundsphere is now used globally.
"The key is to look beyond the perceived need, at the bigger picture"
How are your clients’ needed evolving ?
Our clients’ needs evolve as the market needs evolve. I think that the key is not to look at the surface, at the perceived need, but to look at the bigger picture and connect the dots. This often results in discovering future needs in addition the needs that are currently visible. This leads to design of better solutions bringing desired change. Of course to achieve this change we need to engage with client’s business, operations, technology, change management, and compliance teams which not always seems possible initially. Because of our licensing model and that we are private we can take a very long term view on building meaningful relations with clients. So instead of addressing local needs like, say AML/CTF, onboarding and KYC, distribution oversight, regulatory reporting, client portal, risk management, etc we are continually developing an evolving platform that covers all aspects on one coherent system. This gives clients true understanding of their business, clients, distribution, risks, and most importantly an up-to-date visualization of state of the affairs providing the most effective form of oversight. It is not about automation, efficiency, and cost-cutting, it is about change, predicting, invoking and accepting change. And this is difficult. I like to think that because we take the long term view on the people on our team, on their development and growth, the resulting openness to change is infectious. And this really makes client teams willing to take risks and work with us.
Which risk and opportunities do you identify for the funds industry ?
Each day brings an opportunity. Everyone can make an effort to think critically, to do things better each time. I believe that people are essentially good, and they mean well. I am a big fan of Daniel Kahneman and Richard Feynman. They are very different but the essence is the same: the world we see is an illusion created by our cognitive biases. When we realize that and when we start questioning what we see the desired change will become simple.
Also, each day, the risks of generative AI to society and humans in general are higher however I am afraid that we cannot stop that. That is progress.