Recognizing that compliance requirements have been stricter for financial services than most other industries, the fullservice brokerage firm Morgan Keegan, based in Memphis, has been actively using compliance management systems since 1998. Owned by Regions Bank at the time, Morgan Keegan first purchased a program from a vendor that had one of the only available early compliance management systems. But the product was inflexible, and the investment firm’s compliance reviewers could not manually change things to fit their workflow.
“Basically, that vendor didn’t put enough time into its product to keep up with what clients need,” said Parker Mabry, senior vice president of IT for Morgan Keegan. In 2000, Mabry’s IT department found a second company with a more flexible technology that offered more control and the ability to customize the features.
However, after an initial honeymoon period, Morgan Keegan experienced some troublesome stability and speed issues with the second compliance system. “The servers and software would prevent mail from flowing in and out of our world,” said Mabry, who acknowledged that that was a risk faced by organizations requiring pre-review, the ability to catch outbound email before it leaves the company.
Why Legacy Systems Fail
Today’s leading archival solutions were not designed to support today’s mail volumes, according to Arvind Srinivasan, CTO for ZL Technologies. “They were designed 10-15 years ago, when email was still in relative infancy. To support currentday email volumes, these solutions require complete architectural re-writes and a minimum of 18 months or more of uninterrupted development.”
“ZL’s scalable and flexible architecture is its greatest strength.””
The Key Issues
Morgan Keegan came to ZL with several key issues that they wanted to solve:
- Replace legacy archival solutions with one that could support current email loads, prove scalability and flexibility as well as high availability and clustering.
- Support pre-review and compliance review at the gateway.
- Support Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes simultaneously from a single deployment for multiple group companies under the overall parent company.
- Migrate multiple legacy archival data types into the new system so that data could be searched with a single interface.
- Support multiple data types including IM, Bloomberg, Lotus and Exchange simultaneously.
Morgan Keegan’s efforts were further hindered because most of its systems leveraged multiple OEM components and were in the midst of development team shifts or schisms due to reorganization, according to Srinivasan. “ZL’s scalable and flexible architecture is its greatest strength,” he said.
“Pre-review is our biggest requirement and that had filtered out a lot of potential suppliers when we were looking for our second vendor. But when support from this second vendor started to fall off, we were facing emergency situations.
“One of the biggest reasons that Mabry rejected other vendors was because the ZL team could competently migrate the firm’s data. “Our data never had to leave our premises."”
When your email has been cut off, you need someone fast,” said Mabry. But Morgan Keegan finally found what it needed, and not from a customary software purchase. “[ZL] had a very talented pool of developers that had been successful with secure messaging,” recalled Mabry. “They knew they could get into compliance because they already had some pieces of the technology with what they had been doing.”
“We have 150 compliance reviewers in our company -- anyone from a branch manager to someone in the legal department, to a department head who is responsible for the reports and what they might say,” Mabry explained. “So 150 people needed to be trained. The product was pretty intuitive and required only a one-hour training session. These compliance reviewers have had experience with other vendors so it was just a new interface. We didn’t have to change any work practices.”
Why ZL Technologies?
One of the biggest reasons that Mabry rejected other vendors was because the ZL team could competently migrate the firm’s data. “This was a very expensive proposition with some of the vendors, but the ZL people write the code, so our data never had to leave our premises,” he said. “The data archives into their database, preserving all information like time and header details. It has really worked out for the both of us.”