Seal Software Ltd., a company dedicated to helping businesses find contracts buried in their databases, is moving into the financial sector with a new tool.
Based in the U.S., the company specializes in contract discovery and analytics technology and raised another $4 million in venture capital funding this past June. One of its first forays into a different vertical was with the legal industry, but now it’s expanding into the financial market with Seal Contract Analytics for Financial Services.
This latest announcement is an add-on to its platform, says Lloyd Alexander, vice-president of contract strategy for Seal Software. However, it focuses more specifically on helping banks and other financial institutions find their derivative contracts.
“This is basically the Google for derivatives,” Alexander says, adding the system can essentially help filter search terms until users find very specific contracts. “For example, show me X, for party A, for whatever term, and so on.”
Essentially, the Seal Software tool can comb machines and databases for contracts, sifting through a slew of file types, including Word, .tif, .gif, and PDFs. Then, after a user identifies these as contracts, it will extract these files, create searchable PDFs, and then allow the user to refine searches, line up contracts side-by-side to compare them, and add new search terms for the tool to look for. The last feature, allowing users to add new terms, can be especially helpful here in Canada, where users may need to abide by different banking regulations than in the U.S.
On top of its current platform, Seal Software has added about 50 new terms to its search tool, all of which apply specifically to derivative contracts. For example, some of these include cross-default, Party A, Party B, specified treaty, termination currency, valuation agent – all terms that are used within derivatives contracts and that can help users identify contracts more quickly.
Mary Kopczynski, CEO of 8of9 Consulting, says Seal Software’s tool is going to be a huge boon to the financial industry. She’s already taken it to a few of her clients, which include banks and other financial services companies, and suggested they use it to streamline the process of looking for contracts and showing them to regulators.
Right now, it’s her company’s job to help clients with that, but the discovery process can be very tedious, she says.
“For example, you have agreements that were around since 1985, so you go into the database, and you see a list of 200 pieces of documents. Some are Word, some are literally ‘notitle.PDF.’ So you double-click them and open them and find reams of paper, or it’s a PDF that’s upside down, and you have to figure out, is this a derivative, or is it someone’s fantasy football league pick?” she says.
“The majority of the mess is that a lot of these contracts were negotiated in the past,” she adds. “Seal cleans that mess from the past.”
Kopczynski says she found this tool much easier to use, compared to the “two dozen” others she’s seen. For some of those tools, they require a couple of weeks of training, but Seal Software’s product seems to be very intuitive, she adds.
Pricing for the new tool starts at about $100,000, based on the number of contracts that the tool will be searching, though it can go into the millions, Alexander says.
Correction: An earlier version of this post said Seal Software was based in the U.K. The post has been corrected to read that Seal Software is based in the U.S. We regret the error.