Sep 8, 2023

Thought Leadership Series: An Interview With Aiviq CEO Lee Griggs

Thought Leadership Series: An Interview With Aiviq CEO Lee Griggs

As the year ends, we speak about how Aiviq is helping asset managers to understand data, the journey the company has been on so far and how we make our vision of becoming a leading client data integration and analytics provider for asset managers a reality.

By Marie Weidlich

With a clear vision for growth and a stellar record growing and scaling enterprise/ SaaS/ Fintech businesses in capital markets, Aiviq CEO Lee Griggs and his team are on track to build a leading cloud-native data platform for asset managers.

Aiviq brought together the Alpha FMC – specialist asset and wealth management advisors and domain experts with cutting edge technologists, to create SaaS products for the world’s investment managers and address the chronic messy data problem that affects our sector.

Enabling investment managers to make informed decisions and automate operations based on accurate client and sales data. The Aiviq platform now supports a growing portfolio of international clients enabled with data integration and analytics.

Throughout the year, Aiviq Product Team commissioned ‘Project Bedrock’ an extensive modernisation of our cloud-based tech stack to handle greater customer volumes, reduce cloud hosting costs and underpin our next phase of growth.

The company also retained its ISO27001:2013 accreditation for its information security management system (ISMS) and hired new talent into almost all areas of the team including Customer Services, Product, Engineering, Quality Assurance, Marketing and Sales. The company is set to beat its Revenue, EBIT and Net Sales targets for the year and achieve ambitious growth plans in Q1 implementing new tech stack across multiple an  business areas.

As we close the year round, Lee Griggs speaks about his career, joining Aiviq, the milestones the company has achieved so far and explains his growth plans for next year:

Bio Bits:

Age: 47

Grew Up: Cornwall

Lives in: St Albans, Herts

Family: Wife – Son (10), Daughter (8)

Education: Geology

First Job: Geophysicist, marine seismic exploration

Reading: Alex Zanardi – My Story

Tech Hero: My Technology team.

Hobbies: Motorsport, walking the dog, playing with the kids

Management Mantra: Integrity, empowerment and respect

Stress Reliever: Excel

Time Alarm Goes Off: 6:30am

Worst Advice Ever Received: One more wont hurt..

Marie: Why did you find the Aiviq opportunity exciting and what compelled you to join the company?

Lee: The expertise in the team was extremely compelling together with a very collaborative and inclusive culture, passionate about technology and innovation. Aiviq, or Alpha Data Solutions as it was called when I joined, had identified a problem costing the Investment Management Industry huge sums in avoidable cost and had made goods steps to address. I felt the combination of my experience in financial technology, the expertise and domain knowledge already in place and the support of Alpha FMC would be a fantastic combination, enabling us to take the next steps and aggressively scale up the business.

Marie:  You have an interesting financial advisory background mixed with building international SaaS fintech companies. During the past decade, you’ve seen the financial services industry shift to cloud and adopt a more data driven approaches.  Tell me a little bit about how that process has been?

Lee: I’ve worked in Fintech for over 20 years, predominately in Capital Markets but also Investment Management, and seen huge change over that period. Technology has been a key driver in the evolution of those markets which has led to increased automation and opportunity. A consequence of this has been increased regulation and hence complexity. Data management is critical for all these areas and outsourcing to cloud native specialist vendors such as Aiviq allows firms to realise significant cost savings, increase accessibility and simultaneously derive business insights from that data to protect and grow revenue.

Marie: Client and sales transparency is a recurrent topic for our asset management customers. Yet, a lot of business are grappling with fundamentals. What are the most common challenges you encounter when talking to businesses?

Lee: I don’t believe any business we have spoken to has ever questioned the value of having the datasets we can provide to their business. For examples, creating a client centric view of AUM, flow and revenue across all sales channels, regions and funds has numerous use cases which are well understood. However it is extremely difficult to get this right thanks to the fragmented distribution of investment products and data feeds in our industry. This is where our Data DesignStudio and configurable rules engine enables our data specialists to solve the problem, connecting to 200+ platforms, distributors, record keepers, service providers and distribution data aggregators as well as global and regional financial institutions.

By combining, cleaning and augmenting these data sources, our customers can focus on integrating the data with their BI, analytics and CRM systems to drive value creation.

Marie: You have extensive account management and sales, what’s your number one learning when it comes to building client side relations?

Lee: Its hard to limit that to one area as I believe managing customer relationships, and their satisfaction in our services, are fundamental to any business and is multi-dimensional. That said, I put a huge amount of importance on being seen as a key partner in which our customers can trust to help them reach their strategic ambitions. To do that you need you need to take time to deeply understand their challenges and work tirelessly to help them meet, or ideally exceed, their goals. I want our customers to be our biggest supporters and we all work with that mission in mind.

Marie: What are the problems Aiviq is trying to solve and how do we plan to partner with other industry stakeholders to tackle them?

Lee: Managing and making sense of disorganised and disparate investor, advisor and distributor data across a growing list of vendors. As mentioned, this requires a huge investment to get right and significant ongoing cost to maintain. You have to be able to trust the data to derive actionable insights. We then look to provide innovative and collaborative solutions which provide innovative options for our customers. This could be on technology solutions such as Snowflake, or on combining wider industry data such as Broadridge, both of which we have recently hosted industry roundtables with to help advise and transform the market.

Marie: Tell me about successes Aiviq has enjoyed recently with clients and business partners that you are excited about?

Lee: The latest version of our solution, referred to as the bedrock release, has been a fantastic achievement. This has taken an already advanced cloud native solution and  enhanced further to increase performance, reduce processing and provide a foundation (hence the name) to both build and integrate with other internal or external solutions. This is already live and we will be rolling out across the customer base in the coming months as part of our standard release process. Simultaneously we have managed to add new logos, increase our partnerships (a couple of which I mentioned previously) and increase satisfaction / references across our existing customers which I’m extremely happy about.

Marie: I heard you guys went through a rebranding, what are Aiviq core values? How do you see that resonating with the customer’s needs?

Lee: We felt the time was right to better illustrate the brand and specialist product proposition. The name itself actually aligns well with how we look to meet our customers needs, looking to strike the optimal balance of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence (IQ) and signifies the harmonious combination of the two as the ideal solution. Highly objective, accurate and efficient processing associated with the AI together with the necessary subjective, adaptive and innovative value creation provided by the IQ for our team.  We then combine this with our core values of innovation, openness, respect and collaboration to be that trusted partner our customers can trust and rely on.

Marie: Believe it or not it’s December! Aiviq has been involved with various process throughout the year from accreditations to product development implementations across the business as well as growing the team. What are the main milestones you and the team achieved this year?

Lee: We’ve had a really strong year and hit pretty much all of the objectives we set ourselves through the year. Our new platform was a huge investment that will deliver immediate gains to our customers as well as enabling us to execute future exciting growth plans. We have restructured the team and invested heavily in new resources across our Services, Product, Engineering and QA teams. As part of this we have put in place a completely new and robust operating model that is both fit for purpose and able to scale aggressively with the business. We also incorporated the automation of end-2-end KPIs across all departments providing the necessary visibility to monitor and react accordingly.

At the same time, we have retained our ISO 27001 certification and been able to demonstrate continued improvement in the way we manage information security for our partners.

Marie: As we look ahead to Aiviq growth plans what are the company top two goals for 2023?

Lee: Well, we are 1 year into the 3 year plan I set out after joining at the end of last year. We are well on track to achieve the targets in that plan so for 2023 is all about execution and realisation of those targets. We have a fantastic team who are intelligent and passionate about what they do and I’m really looking forward to see what we can achieve together.

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