Over the past few months, the oil markets around the world have been rather bearish due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a financial struggle for several companies in the industry. The commodity markets, in general, have become more volatile due to the pandemic, which may lead to opportunities for traders who better manage their risk. Moreover, banks are becoming more cautious when financing commodity trades, particularly for smaller trading firms. Consequently, the existence of suitable compliance and risk management measures has turned from a luxury to an all-important necessity today. The interest in Commodity Trading and Risk Management (CTRM) software has thus risen to almost unprecedented levels.
ComFin Software is meeting this increasing demand with its cost-competitive, fully functional trading and risk management software applications to the global energy and commodity industries with particular expertise in traders and shipping companies. It has been providing trading and risk management solutions to customers in the global oil and gas sector since 1997 and last year extended its offering to the soft commodities and metals industry. The company was originally founded as part of the PVM Group, however, it became fully independent in 2005. With over two decades of progress and industry knowledge under its belt, ComFin Software is recognized and trusted as a leading provider of cost-competitive fully functional commodity trading and risk management solutions.
Comprehensive CTRM Software Solutions
ComFin software strives to continuously support commodity traders with its CTRM solutions including,
- Comcore: The Comcore system combines the latest cutting-edge technology with over two decades of trading and risk management application development to provide customers with the most cost-competitive and full-featured solutions in the market. Designed to be highly flexible, the Comcore CTRM system can be used as a standalone solution or can be integrated into existing software infrastructures such as SAP, Oracle, or Navision.
- TheBulldog: It is ComFin Software’s legacy Energy Trading and Risk Management Solution. It offers clients an entry-level CTRM system at a very competitive price. First implemented in 1999, TheBulldog’s functionality has evolved over 20+ years with its clients’ business requirements and the growth of the refining and oil trading industry.
- ComFIX: It is ComFin’s connector to the ICE and the CME Group. It automates trade flow between the front and middle office. Using ComFIX, all trades done on the exchange are automatically imported into TheBulldog, Comcore, or any other third-party E/CTRM system. ComFIX supports and has been certified for all product groups available on the exchange.
These services are primarily provided in the industries such as Oil, Gas & Coal Trading, Refining, Petrochemical, LNG & NGLs, Shipping, and Metals & Soft Commodities. Besides these solutions, ComFin Software also provides support, training, and consulting services to its clients.
A Veteran Driving the Development
Gerald Neher (CEO and Managing Director at ComFin Software) is at the helm of the company’s operations. After studying economics and I.T., Gerald joined ComFin in 2005 as a consultant. He became the CEO of the company in 2010 and pushed the development of its “Comcore” system, being the state-of-the-art successor of the legacy system “TheBulldog”. Gerald, along with his partner Gunther Dauner together bought ComFin Software in 2018. Both of them own 50% of the company through a holding company.
At ComFin Software, Gerald’s primary role is advising and supporting market participants. Being the CEO of a mid-sized vendor, he is closely involved in all the aspects of the company, from pre-sales to customer support, internal and external consulting, product management, etc. “Our clients value its CEO and company owners being close to them and easily reachable in case of any pressing issues,” he added.
Encouraging the Staff
Gerald believes that the most important investment in a company is the staff. It is essential for a company to have a motivated and knowledgeable staff as they will pass their satisfaction and knowledge to the clients. At ComFin Software, Gerald ensures the staff has all the information they need and can work in a pleasant environment, also encouraging them to raise questions and suggestions for improvements. Due to the close personal relationships he has maintained with the staff members, they have remained friends even after their professional paths were parted.
Establishing Strong Partnerships
Establishing strong partnerships is a crucial aspect of any growing business. Being a mid-size company, ComFin Software does not have many of the resources that some big players might have. The challenge for the company was to optimize the available resources. For that, it has established strong partnerships with companies and private individuals. The company works with sales partners globally that help it spread the word about its software solutions. It also works with consultants and technology partners globally to be able to provide a full set of solutions to its clients in various industries.
Flexibility and Faster Implementations
Alongside the challenge of managing resources, the pandemic confronted a significant challenge for companies such as ComFin Software. Like most other businesses, the company has adapted the “work from home” model since March 2020. The transition to remote working was smooth due to its existing IT infrastructure and the independent working style of its staff members.
ComFin Software also offered and delivered remote training for its new clients. As many companies struggled due to the pandemic, it quickly released a new liquidity and cashflow simulator to help its clients understand the impact of late payments and defaults on their liquidity. “As we understand that our customers typically operate in different ways, we have always offered the flexibility to customize any part of the software and quickly add new functionality to it. This flexibility is certainly one of our USPs,” asserts Gerald.
Additionally, as more companies get active in commodity trading, the demand for professional Risk Management systems is also increasing. Companies are thus looking to implement those systems relatively quickly and at a reduced CAPEX cost. Due to the corporate structure of ComFin Software, it has a competitive edge in this regard over its competitors. The company can perform implementations in as little as two to four weeks at prices that no other major vendor can offer.
Upgrading the Portfolio
As the world moves further towards digitization and automation, ComFin Software’s flexibility is expected to play a greater role in many areas. (For example—technical flexibility to add or remove components as needed, contractual flexibility to be able to quickly adjust to new challenges, and flexibility to work from different places).
The company is working with established technology partners to offer add-ons to its current CTRM package. It is currently emphasizing on add-ons in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain Technology, and crisis management. ComFin Software strives to continuously develop and upgrade its software with new features and functions.