Theo Nout, founder of AIRS, has been the COO of Blanco since January 2020. He tells how AIRS was born, how it grew into a market leader in the field of portfolio management and why he believes that the acquisition of AIRS is so good for his customers.
How did AIRS originate?
Seventeen years ago, there were two options in the market for managing securities administration. On the one hand there was Davilex: this was a product for individuals to keep track of their own shares. On the other hand, there were professional systems for large banks, which were unaffordable for wealth- and asset managers. There was nothing in between. In the accountancy firm where I worked at the time, a wealth- and asset manager asked if we could also do his securities administration. After I had a good idea of his wishes, I had a software solution built. Then a second and third party was added. At the end of 2002 I quit my job and I took AIRS with me.
How has AIRS developed over the years?
After I went independently with AIRS in 2003, I expanded the company bit by bit. I started with a few clients. With that turnover I was able to build new functionality. This made AIRS interesting for new customers. This resulted in extra turnover and so the process repeated itself. In this way the company grew step by step. For a long time, I was running AIRS completely independently, but about 6 years ago I found two partners. The company had become too dependent on 1 person: myself.
What do you think the merging with Blanco means for AIRS?
First of all, customers will be less dependent on my business partner Frank and me. Customers and the regulator are making more and more demands on continuity. By joining forces with Blanco, the team naturally becomes much larger at once and continuity is much better guaranteed.
Secondly, AIRS had a relatively small group of 3 developers, who actually didn’t work full-time for us. By merging with Blanco we can draw on an international team of top developers. You create much more possibilities with that.
And last but not least, there is the fact that the market is extremely volatile: over the past five years, AIRS has become the market leader in the field of portfolio management, but with the current speed of developments, it is always the question whether you will not simply be overtaken by a competitor. By joining forces with Blanco, we of course reduce the chance that this will happen. By merging with Blanco in one fell swoop we are THE service provider for asset management technology in the Netherlands. I am convinced that cooperation with Blanco is the best step for us, for Blanco and for our clients. The combination of our portfolio management technology, our flexibility and the cost level for which we can provide our services is unique. We look forward to a bright future.