The California team at FirstRain held a pumpkin carving contest again this year – following up from last year’s very successful competition. The challenge was to create a scary pumpkin. We had a bat and a blood sucking loan agent, but the winner was Sarah Palin – the scariest thing the winning team could think of this year (well this is California…).
This years carvers
The winning pumpkin: Sarah Palin
FirstRain announced two great pieces of momentum this morning: CalSTRS has become a client of FirstRain, and we’ve released new capability in our system to support pension governance.
I am proud to have CalSTRS as a client. Their reputation for rigor and integrity is unmatched – and deserved. They and the South Dakota Investment Council are our first two disclosable pension clients, and we’re seeing intense interest from pension funds globally as the pace of regulatory actions and change increases and shareholders sharpen their attention.
Pension governance is a specific set of requirements for pension funds. It involves automated monitoring and analysis of:
- Traditional corporate governance, which includes by-laws changes, anti-takeover provisions, executive compensation,, and board independence
- Rule-making processes at the government, financial exchange and global regulators
- Opinions, actions and statements of peer institutions, activist investors, and other global market participants
- Environmental & Social Responsibility trends, rules, and risk analysis
This is a timely introduction, as investment officers are under significant pressure to reduce governance risk in a systematic and repeatable way. The automated governance analysis process using FirstRain is a step in the right direction.
Today is an important day for FirstRain – we’re announcing a major partnership with FactSet Research Systems. There is a rapidly growing awareness of the importance of the web in financial research and we are thrilled that FactSet has selected FirstRain to be its partner on providing web data into their process. We are proud to work with such a highly-acclaimed market leader.
To put it in today’s context, as the market swings with unprecedented volatility, our customers on the buyside need complete information more than ever and cannot carry the risk of missing critical information about their investments. As Clint Anderson at Meritage Portfolio Management says:
“Prices react rapidly to new marketplace information, so it’s important to have as much of that information as possible. FirstRain consolidates hard-to-find data from the web on our portfolios, sectors, and industries. Integrating FirstRain with the analysis I do in FactSet provides a more complete picture of the market.”
For users who are customers for both Factset and FirstRain this will mean a more seamless research process. The FirstRain platform in now integrated into Marquee allowing a user to move from a Marquee view of a stock straight into a FirstRain view of the stock – and effectively adding the web as a new dataset into the Factset platform.
For FactSet users who are not yet FirstRain clients, we will offer a sample snapshot of company data and the ability to request up to 5 company tearsheets showing the FirstRain web view of the company.
FactSet is the second top tier financial platform to add web research capabilities into its platform, and the second to select FirstRain to do so – Capital IQ was the first.
As I have been talking with our clients these past few weeks, it’s obvious that the shakeout we’re chronicling in our free report: Eye On The Storm is certainly not over, but I’m hearing their confidence that, while this will be an ugly downturn, it is not the end of the world as we know it. And managing money hasn’t fundamentally changed. Investors still need high quality and complete information to make decisions from and both the web and FirstRain are seen more and more necessary components of the research process.