There were a lot of decisions to make when we decided to take Horizons independent – what asset custodians to work with, which portfolio accounting systems to use, that sort of thing. One question we hadn’t thought to ask was how to make sure that our emails, blog posts, and social media were appropriately backed up and stored. All the regulatory agencies that have authority over Registered Investment Advisory firms like ours want to know that our communications are stored as securely as possible, and are retrievable on demand in case of a problem.
We ended up spending quite a bit of time poring over a variety of alternative providers, trying to find the right mix of high-level services and low costs. There are a handful of giant companies that have divisions specializing in this sort of work, who offer good service at a good price, and it can be a little difficult to see the differences between them. But once we dug a little deeper, one company leapt out as a clear favorite: Global Relay.
Founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1999, Global Relay has developed into a world-wide leader in compliance-related tech services. They count among their clients “small to large broker-dealers, hedge funds, investment advisors and public companies, as well as 22 of the world’s top 25 banks and two public exchanges” – and, for the last three years, us.
They offered us a great package of services, at a competitive price. But the thing that made them our clear favorite was their commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability. They are committed to strong support for the communities in which they have facilities. They have developed an internationally-recognized program to support “Women in Technology” – and they have earned a lot of recognition because of the leadership of their President and General Counsel, Shannon Rogers.
But it’s their green data centers that particularly caught our attention. There has been a lot of press in the last few years about the power usage of data centers – it’s estimated that by 2020, securely hosting all the data we are generating will require the equivalent of the total output of more than 50 coal-fired power plants. But Global Relay has built a zero-carbon-footprint data center, and has a second under construction. Using innovative evaporative cooling and flywheel UPS technologies, they have reduced energy usage by more than 50% compared to similar facilities; what electricity they do consume comes from local hydroelectric power plants.
We’re happy to work with such excellent strategic partners, and look forward to a long and productive business relationship.