For this week’s profile we are talking to Bill Gourlay, CEO of Idea Group. Our questions are in bold. – – – – –
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
I am CEO of Idea Group and, aside from setting our corporate strategy, my focus tends to be primarily on the commercial and product aspects which have been my traditional skillset. I am fortunate enough to work with a group of frankly brilliant technology people, so am always aware that they are the ones who are actually creating the products and solutions that we offer. When I took the job a friend reminded me that, as a CEO, the difference is that however big your roles were in the past, being a CEO means you have responsibility for ensuring that your team can put food on their family’s tables. No pressure then!
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Idea Group was founded in 1995 by Ian Lyall, our current COO, and quickly built a well earned reputation for designing, creating and managing bespoke investment management systems for Legal and General Investment Management. Later on they branched out into financial messaging market practice leadership, proving themselves across high profile initiatives such as ViaNova for UK pensions, SHarP for hedge funds and in the Australian domestic mutual fund space. Over the past couple of years, we have leveraged this heritage to bring improvements to our client’s business processes through the effective use of technology, supported by a real understanding of the business which allows us to clearly see things from our clients’ points of view. We have worked with some of the leading alternative investment administrators to launch the new GAIA market practice, which will allow operational messaging flows to be automated in this sector. We have also launched a full range of messaging gateways which allow financial services firms across the investment, alternative or pension fund spaces to easily obtain the benefits of automation, without having to worry about understanding all the complexities of ISO or SMPG messaging standards. Probably our most “FinTech” product is “Prodigy”, which completely revolutionises the way in which product management is carried out in a business, whether they are a financial services firm or from a different industry.