How My Company Became Successful Using Beacon’s Platform
Long-time client Vahagn Minasian, Co-Founder & CTO of independent advisory and software firm Matthews South, has been using the Beacon platform to advise clients across many sectors, including Technology, Healthcare, Industrial, Airline, Clean Energy, and Financial. To date, Matthews South has advised dozens of high profile clients on their financing transactions and helped structure and execute nearly $50bn in share buyback programs. Below, Vahagn explains the benefits of the Beacon Platform from his perspective.
Even in Beacon’s early days, the platform packed a lot of functionality, ranging from purely technological solutions to offering an extensive quantitative framework. The Platform enabled Matthews South to benefit from a flexible, end-to-end, cloud-based platform that acted as a business force multiplier at the crucial early stages of the company. Both companies have gone from strength-to-strength since. Over the years, the team at Beacon has expanded functionality and implemented a host of new tools both for developers and end-users.
Matthews South: From Idea to Planning
In 2014, our future CEO, Vijay Culas, had an idea for a start-up: an independent software and advisory firm in capital markets - traditionally a ‘high touch’ business dominated by large investment banks. To successfully compete in the space, the core technology of Matthews South needed to be built upon the most innovative and flexible online platform in the market. We needed to provide pricing and analytics for complex instruments that trade in the capital markets. We knew that success would come by making quantitative tools and access to independent, unconflicted advice available to our clients.
The idea was innovative because it would help our future clients while making the markets more transparent and efficient. At Matthews South, we had decades of experience on Wall Street, had detailed knowledge of these products, and felt well-positioned to execute on the idea. We knew that having strong quantitative capabilities was the key to our success and growth, and that’s when we turned to Beacon Platform.
Matthews South needed at least five critical features for the technology platform we were going to choose:
A cloud-based platform, including an Integrated Development Environment
An integrated database to hold objects representing financial instruments, containing market data, risk and profit & loss information, amongst other instruments
The flexibility and ease of a scripting programming language for much of our codebase, as well as the speed and efficiency of high-performance languages when needed
Distributed computing because we calculate and store market and risk information for thousands of financial instruments
A flexible process scheduler for both real-time and overnight calculations and reports
Signing on with Beacon
Developing everything on our own would have taken a lot of time and resources. As with any young company, we were anxious to get off the ground and open to using third-party solutions. However, we needed to retain control over much of our stack, including our quantitative algorithms. These needed to be developed in-house, designed, and implemented in a way that was consistent with our vision.
Beacon proved to be the perfect fit. It checked every box in our wish list, and much more. Within six months, we had a working version of our analytical web platform. Within nine months, we signed our first client. Our client-facing web application seamlessly connects to a Beacon back-end process, which distributes the calculation requests to a pool of waiting CPUs that, in turn, execute our specialized quantitative routines. These quantitative algorithms are built by our team, to our specifications, within the framework and foundations of Beacon’s platform. It is our choice to use as much or as little of Beacon’s vast libraries of core and quantitative functionality as we want. This flexibility was instrumental in releasing the first version of our product in a timely and cost-efficient way.
With Beacon, Calculations Run Faster
Calculation speed and optimizations are of great importance for any organization operating in the financial derivatives space because the algorithms are complicated, and the amount of data processed is vast. Beacon addresses these challenges by providing tools that include the ability to program in both scripting and high-performance programming languages with a fast link between the two. Beacon also provides distributed computing that allows us to employ multiple engines when necessary, with a cost-efficient “pay as you go” elastic compute service to keep our infrastructure bills low. Beacon also has a powerful dependency graph, which, among other things, detects which portions of your past calculations have gone stale and which are still up to date, thus avoiding unnecessary calculations.
Safeguarding sensitive financial transaction information was of critical importance to our clients and us. Beacon’s diligently designed security architecture helps with that, too. The platform provides several security tools, including:
Securely hosted solution deployed within Amazon Web Services, which has one of the highest levels of security certification and allows for client-specific configurations
Modern encryption techniques for all data (both at rest and in transit)
Secure database and point in time backups
Software-defined networking and firewalling for isolation
5 Years with Beacon
As our company has grown, we have more clients, cover more products, and analyze data on thousands of financial instruments. We’ve used many of Beacon’s features from day one. Some we extended to fit our needs better. Other features we started using at a later point as our product offering expanded. And in still other areas, we implemented our functionality where full customization was needed. This flexibility is precisely one of the features that attracted us to the platform back in 2014.
Of course, Beacon owes its success to a talented team of developers and quants. They are knowledgeable and always available to help. But here’s perhaps the biggest compliment to the platform and the team: there are months at a time when our engineering team does not interact with Beacon’s at all. Things just work.