Article Published: September 24, 2015
Article Published: September 24, 2015
By Jonathan Kersting, Pittsburgh Technology Council
With offices around the world, the sun never sets on Pittsburgh-based Confluence. As a recognized leader and innovator in data-driven solutions for the asset management industry, Confluence boasts offices in such locales as San Francisco, London, Luxembourg, Ho Chi Minh City and Brussels.
When President and CEO Mark Evans set out to found Confluence way back in 1991, he had no idea that the company would grow to have such a global presence and employ more than 200 people.
“Well, the idea behind Confluence is really that we service the asset world, people who manage money, and we’re really involved in getting what people do with their money out to the world. So we speak to investors, we speak to the market, we speak to regulators, we speak to our clients themselves,” said Evans. “It’s really taking all of the data that has to do with managed investments, portfolios, and turning it into knowledge and then getting that knowledge to the right people and getting it there as fast as possible.
“So the idea, Confluence, the name was actually an homage to both where we sit in the city with the rivers coming together, but also taking data from all sorts of different places and turning it into knowledge, and that’s what Confluence is all about.”
Confluence’s unified platform solves the industry’s toughest data management, automation and regulatory challenges for managed investment funds. The platform is scalable and enables asset managers to consolidate and leverage data across business operations. It supports UCITS, U.S. ’40 ACT mutual funds and contemporary fund structures such as ETFs, while also solving data integration and data reporting problems of hedge funds and institutional fund managers.
With such close ties to the financial industry and huge clients like Russell Investments, Bank of Montreal and US Bancorp, riding out the 2008 recession proved to be one of Confluence and Evans’ most trying moments.
“In 2008, our clients were very frank about what they could do and what they needed from us. We were frank about what we needed from them, and we got through it because we had built a lot of trust, we had built a lot of great relationships, and so we got through it, and we came out of it I’d say stronger,” said Evans. “Because there’s nothing like a crisis to sharpen your focus on what you do for a living and what’s necessary and what’s not necessary and what’s important and what’s not important. So we came out of it, I think, a stronger company and it actually allowed us to imagine what we wanted to be next in a more clear way because we knew what our clients really cared about.”
Since 2008, Confluence has been on a serious growth track. It has fueled a good part of that growth with company acquisitions—expanding its global footprint.
And the company has been hiring to maintain its growth trajectory. As an employer, Confluence prides itself with a forward-thinking and collaborative work culture that fosters professional growth.
Software Developer Nicole Maloney started at Confluence 10 years ago and has never looked back.
“It appeared that there was a lot of growth potential here,” she said. “And it was true. There is always change in a positive way. People are always open to new ways of doing things.”
One of her biggest professional challenges at Confluence was adapting to an Agile development environment and working virtually with its Ho Chi Minh City office.
Janis Shaw, Vice President of People at Confluence, adds more detail on how Confluence attracts and retains top talent like Maloney across its offices and in Pittsburgh.
“We do not apply one development solution that fits all,” she said. “Our motto is expect to grow, and each team member has the opportunity to do so by collaborating with our talented team members, by working with leading technologies and pursuing dynamic growth opportunities.”
According to Evans, part of Confluence’s secret sauce to success has been its Pittsburgh headquarters and the local talent pool.
“Well, Pittsburgh is a wonderful place for us to build our development organization, and we’ve really found our footing in the last few years with the influx of such great technical talent,” said Evans. “Pittsburgh’s always been a great place to hire. It’s been a great place to build a company. But I’d say the last five or six years have really seen a tremendous surge in technical talent and yet a key difference—and I think it’s by comparison to San Francisco or in comparison to Boston or to New York—is there’s a work ethic that is second to none. Not only do we have more and more employees coming in and working at Confluence, but they are also staying and building their career here.”
As the sun’s rays continually touch a Confluence office somewhere in the world, Pittsburgh remains its home base and source for innovation. After all, Confluence was founded here nearly 25 years ago, and the city has been an integral part of its success, according to Evans.