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June 20, 2005

FirmView Looks for Marketing Partner

By Michael Scotti and Peter Chapman

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  • FirmView Looks for Marketing Partner

Wanted: Soft dollar technology firm in search of deep-pocketed partner who can provide instant credibility and marketing muscle for this fledgling company. That's where FirmView finds itself some four years after launching its online administrative and communication tool for the soft dollar industry. As many would attest, soft dollars can often be a record-keeping nightmare. With that in mind, FirmView designed a system to aggregate account activity such

as storing contracts and invoices, as well as tracking payments. FirmView is targeting brokers with its technology.

The system gives broker dealers, money managers and vendors the ability to go online in one spot and see their accounts in real-time, according to Zoe Boza, one of the firm's co-founders.

"It's very simple and focused, and you don't need a manual to navigate the system," Boza said. "It was a long time in coming." Merrill Lynch-Citation and Prudential Equity Group are using the technology. The firm would obviously like to increase that number. FirmView charges a flat fee to brokers and is free to the buyside.

In a typical soft dollar arrangement, an independent research provider or vendor will deliver its product to a money manager and an invoice to the money manager's broker. The broker and the investment house will then approve the bill and archive the information. The back and forth process involves faxes, telephones and e-mails.

At its most basic, FirmView offers communication technology that integrates with the systems of the broker. The software makes it possible for the broker and his investment management customer to view and approve invoices online. Vendors too can access the system to track the payment approval process.

With a higher level of service, the invoice would be delivered to FirmView. The company would scan the document, but the broker would still retain data entry duties. With a higher level of service, FirmView will perform the data entry tasks and scanning.

'You don't need a manual to navigate this system.'

Zoe Boza, FirmView