DST and Powerlan engage in war of the words

DST and Powerlan engage in war of the words

A slanging match has erupted between DST International and ASX-listed Powerlan over which financial assets management software the end user Perpetual Trustees is actually using.

The claims and counter-claims have come after ARN published a story [ARNnet, 6/09/01] wherein Powerlan appeared to have usurped long time financial software vendor DST with Powerlan's own Portfolio Manager software. DST in turn hit back, claiming in a press statement that Powerlan's announcement to the ASX regarding the Perpetual contract was "misleading" because Perpetual is still using DST's software in a "significant portion" of the business.

Although both companies maintain they are not interested in getting involved in a sledging competition, each has managed to ruffle a few feathers in its opposition camp.

The battle over Perpetual Trustees began when Powerlan announced it had secured a contract to implement its Portfolio Manager software into Perpetual's Corporate Trust (PCT) division. ARN understands PCT had previously rented its management software from Perpetual's Fund Services (PFS) division.

PFS, which uses DST's HiPortfolio software, was then sold by Perpetual to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in May this year. Reportedly, RBC Global Services (formerly Perpetual Fund Services) still outsources securitised asset management for Perpetual in some capacity.

Perpetual officials were unavailable for comment but a Perpetual insider in contact with ARN said PCT's decision to stop using DST had less to do with the vendors than it had with PCT not wanting to rely on a third party (now RBC Global Services) for its software.

What's at stake for Powerlan and DST is the all-important market share to be garnered in a tough arena. Powerlan has only recently moved into owning its own intellectual property and appears eager to get some runs on the board. DST on the other hand is a long established player in the financial services market and is determined to preserve its dominance over the sector.

"We welcome competition," DST International's managing director, Ian Mathieson the press statement. "However, the products must rival the capabilities of HiPortfolio and our other 'Hi' solutions to be truly considered a threat.

"We don't see that happening at the moment."

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