David Peck, senior vice president for advisor business solutions at Charles Schwab’s Services for Investment Managers division, is responsible for Schwab’s Performance Technology Inc. unit, the maker of Centerpiece. Peck is overseeing the revamping of Centerpiece into a system that will be a lot like TechFi–featuring a SQL database, a service bureau, and a suite of PMS-related products that includes contact management and trading. Here is what he thinks of TechFi’s purchase:
We were surprised by the acquisition. We think very highly of TechFi. Schwab did not consider buying TechFi because we already have a technology company we’re very proud of and excited about, and there is no reason to have another one.
The announcement showed that the technology demanded in this market to help advisors compete and succeed comes with a big price tag. And we’ve been very focused on that as we invest heavily in Centerpiece to enhance that technology. We are on target to deliver an outstanding set of upgrades to the product between now and the end of the year.
We don’t know if TechFi had technology that Advent could not produce. TechFi did have Web-based database technology that Advent did not have. Could Advent have built that into their system? Absolutely.
We are committed to supporting clients who use Axys and TechFi and we’ll keep our eyes open and see how it plays out. From our perspective, we serve advisors and support both systems and plan to continue to do so. I’m not looking at this as some nefarious plot. It’s a matter of client choices, and no matter which they choose, we’re there to support our clients.
We are in the final quarters of building that integrated database as part of the new Centerpiece and I expect others who want to be serious about the market will be doing that, too.
I’m a little puzzled by Advent’s moves to lower prices and buy TechFi. All I can say is we wish it well. We wish them well on behalf of our clients who choose to use them and we will support them.