Vertical Management Systems (VMS) is a technology innovation firm bringing best-in-class solutions to a financial services industry in need of change. We provide easy-to-implement, integrated solutions that solve for today’s key issues like fiduciary risk, fee transparency, and revenue reconciliation. We have worked with top-tier financial services firms for over 20 years, and process over $600 billion in assets.

Why VMS?

  • We work with Tier 1 insurance companies, top global custodians and recordkeepers, Fortune 500 financial technology companies, and the biggest asset managers in the world
  • We offer cost-effective solutions that are easy to implement
  • We have a dedicated product team providing client support
  • We have been serving the financial services industry since 1992
  • We process over $600 billion in assets, 5 million accounts, and 500,000 trades annually
  • We are among the country’s premier retirement technology thought leaders

Our Solutions are:

  • Developed by a specialized team of engineering and operating domain experts in retirement servicing, trust and brokerage
  • Built to help you meet today’s demanding and continually evolving technology requirements
  • Designed with a focus on full transparency, flexible integration, and the ability to adapt to continually changing rules and regulations
  • Cost-effective and easy-to-implement
  • Backed by a responsive, knowledgeable product team to help you through any problems that may arise

Please contact us today to discuss how VMS can help your business. We can also be reached by email at or by phone at 1.800.867.4357.

Brad Kuhlin and Bob Clancy formed Vertical Management Systems (VMS) in Glendale, California in 1992. The pair decided early on that they would focus exclusively on one niche within the financial services industry, and become masters of it. Their niche was automating mutual fund-related back-office processes for trust companies and recordkeepers. At the time, mutual funds were just coming into vogue, and they were very problematic to deal with. VMS’s first client, North American Trust Company in San Diego, needed a custom-built recordkeeping system that was highly dependent on holding mutual funds.

That first job launched VMS as a technology innovator and resulted in additional custom engagements over the next 10 years in the retirement and trust space with firms like Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo and SEI. These engagements provided the knowledge for the creation of the Mutual Fund Desk (MFD) and Specialized Information Services (SIS) products. Both products were built with a focus on full transparency and flexible integration that could be adapted to the various technological infrastructures and continually evolving rules and regulations in the financial services space.

This experience would prove timely when, in 2006, after reviewing the release of the Pension Protection Act in Congress, Bob and Brad foresaw two fundamental market issues that would hinder the Act’s effectiveness, due to the current technology infrastructure in the retirement space:

  • Regardless of the intent of the Act, participants would have limited choices when it came to investment selection and access to proper investment advice. This was due to technology limitations, and the inability of recordkeeping systems to perform securities processing like trust and brokerage systems do.
  • Current recordkeeping systems fundamentally lacked the ability to hold cash as a form of property for individual participants. This prevented them from being able to transparently account for participant expenses. It also interfered with easily adding additional investment types to plans, and prevented the ability to trade real-time during the business day, when securities markets were open.

Based on these insights, Brad and Bob’s shared vision became to solve for the
“6 As:”

  • Any participant, in
  • Any retirement plan, should be able to hire
  • Any investment advisor, and that advisor should be able to buy the participant
  • Any investment, at
  • Any time. And in addition,
  • All participant expenses should be fully transparent

This statement was not as much a definition for a new product as it was a Design Mission Statement for the degree of openness a proper retirement servicing technology should deliver. At this time, VMS began investing heavily into the creation of Retirement Revolution. In 2015, with a stable MFD and SIS client base, and the first release of a market-tested Retirement Revolution product in production, VMS hired financial technology veterans Kevin Rafferty (CEO) and Bob Ward (CRO) to help bring Retirement Revolution to the marketplace.

After experiencing continued success with a solid product set and blue-chip client roster, VMS was ready for the next level of growth. In 2016, a search was conducted for a partner who would provide VMS with the missing pieces to help complete their corporate vision.

While other partners were considered, NewSpring Holdings, LLC, NewSpring Capital’s dedicated buy and build strategy, was the clear best choice for our clients, our employees, and our shareholders. NewSpring Holdings acquired VMS in December of 2016.

As a result of our dedication to continuous improvement, VMS is well-positioned to meet the increasing demands of the financial technology industry. Our solutions address many of today’s regulatory challenges, and we will now be able to accelerate the investment in our business to continue providing our clients with industry-leading, robust, and innovative processing platforms.

      Ron Cash

      Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

      Michael Chen

      Chief Financial Officer

      Greg Harman

      Senior Vice President, Product Management

      Brian Nicholson

      Senior Vice President, Software Development

      Kevin Rafferty

      President and Chief Executive Officer

      Paul Stringer

      Interim Chief Operating Officer

      Tony Sora

      Senior Vice President, Operations

      Rose Thomas

      Senior Vice President & General Counsel

      Bob Ward

      Chief Revenue Officer

      Ron joined VMS in 1999 with over 30 years of experience with financial services firms covering retirement servicing, mutual fund processing, mortgage banking, and title insurance. He is responsible for all aspects of strategic and operational information management and systems architecture. During his tenure with VMS, Ron has built a deeply committed and well-trained technical staff, along with a sophisticated systems infrastructure that hosts production services for some of the country’s largest financial services firms.

      Before joining VMS, Ron was Vice President of Software Development for a large national mortgage lender. He also served as Vice President of Information Systems for two of the largest title insurance agencies in California.

      Michael joined VMS in November 2015 as Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for accounting, finance and human resources. Before joining VMS, Michael served as a senior financial analyst at Google where he covered and analyzed $200M+ of annual global spend. Prior to that, Michael worked as an associate for HCAP Partners, a private equity fund where he evaluated investment opportunities and took an active role in monitoring portfolio companies. Before HCAP, Michael worked as a senior associate for BDO where he audited the financial statements of public and private companies in various industries.

      Greg, who joined VMS in 2004, is currently responsible for managing VMS’s products from strategic planning to tactical activities. In this position, Greg draws upon his experience working in various areas of the company from business development and operations to project management and systems architecture.

      Greg has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining VMS, he worked for BISYS BD Services, a broker/dealer firm, as Vice President in charge of operations and systems, and held management positions in Information Systems at Franklin Templeton and American Funds Service Company.

      Brian joined VMS in February, 2014 as Senior Vice President of Software Development to accelerate the construction and deployment of the company’s core products. Brian has been leading technology teams in the retirement industry for over 18 years. Before joining VMS, Brian served as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Retirement Division of Union Bank. He led the design and implementation of robust applications that were tightly integrated with SunGard’s OmniPlus platform. His accomplishments were regularly showcased by SunGard’s leadership team, as a prime example of how to create and integrate technology around OmniPlus, to drive efficiency and scalability, while promoting the ability for the business to rapidly introduce new products and capabilities.

      Brian began his career as the founder and Chief Software architect of a software company that provided back-office accounting and operational process management for Canada’s largest franchise, Tim Horton Donuts. Brian’s solution was acquired by Tim Horton’s, and he joined the firm to build and integrate applications that streamlined their operation.

      Team Leader

      Kevin joined VMS in April, 2015 as President & CEO with over 30 years of financial technology experience. Before joining VMS, Kevin was President, COO and Board Member for Backstop Solutions Group in Chicago. Prior to Backstop, Kevin spent over 20 years at SunGard, most recently as President of SunGard Wealth Management and CEO of SunGard’s Brokerage Services Group. Kevin had strategic and P&L responsibility for $400 million in revenue across 7 major product areas including three trust and custody systems (AddVantage, Charlotte and Global Plus), two retirement services systems (Omni and Relius), an electronic trading network (SunGard Transaction Network) and a financial planning solution (WealthStation) with over 1,400 associates operating in 15 locations around the world.

      Team Leader

      Paul is acting as Interim Chief Operating Officer for VMS. Paul also serves as Wealthcare Capital’s Chief Operating Officer. Paul is a seasoned senior executive with expertise in developing and mentoring management teams within the financial services industry globally. Paul’s diverse background encompasses leading world class technology and service teams, proactively managing sales and marketing initiatives and overseeing the operations for multiple financial service organizations.

      Prior to joining Wealthcare in 2016, Paul was a senior advisor and consultant for the financial services and technology industries. Paul’s extensive experience includes serving as COO of Global Trading division, as well as COO of the Brokerage and Clearance division at SunGard; Senior VP of Information services at Tucker Anthony Sutro; VP of Information Services at Keycorp McDonald’s Investments and Assistant VP of Systems at FISERV Securities.

      Paul has a passion for disaster and humanitarian relief and has been a member of Foundations for Peace for over 22 years. He has made multiple mission trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Paul is also a member of the “Code Blue” team in Philadelphia which helps shelter the homeless during the winter months.

      Paul is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys golfing, fishing, boating, snowmobiling and spending time with his wife at their camp located in the Adirondack mountains.

      Tony joined VMS in 2014 with over 20 years of experience in multiple leadership roles in the financial industry space. He is responsible for Operations at VMS for all three product lines in addition to the Project Management Office. Before joining VMS, Tony served as a Vice President with Prudential Financial as the Principal and site lead for Prudential’s largest west coast office within the Retirement business division. He also served as the business sponsor lead on a 2 year multi-million program to modernize the operations and technology platforms at Prudential leading a large cross functional team of over 200 resources.

      Prior to Prudential, Tony worked as a Vice President for Union Bank leading the operations and finance units in the Retirement division. Prior to Union Bank he served as the Vice President of retirement operations at CNA Trust with oversight over client service, compliance testing & reporting, and new business implementations.

      Rose joined VMS at the beginning of 2016 as Senior Vice President & General Counsel. Rose has been an attorney in the financial software and services industry for the past 21 years specializing in intellectual property and business transactions in the wealth and retirement, brokerage and trading, mutual fund and asset management space. Rose served as an Assistant General Counsel at SunGard Data Systems, Inc. In her role at SunGard, she acted as the head legal partner for several segments, including Wealth Retirement and Administration, Asset Arena, and the Brokerage Services Group. Rose was lead counsel for SunGard’s trust and custody products, investment systems products and retirement products. In addition, she served as lead legal contact for several key client relationships and was responsible for successfully closing some of the largest financial contracts within the company.

      Team Leader

      Bob joined VMS in July, 2015 as CRO with over 20 years of financial technology experience. Bob’s top priorities are accelerating the Company’s revenue growth and advancing the market penetration of all VMS products. He is a current board member of Envestnet Retirement Solutions and an advisor to Saxon Securities.

      Bob was the former COO of SunGard’s Wealth Management business which includes a range of solutions and services targeted at advisors, banks, retirement providers, broker dealers and corporations. Prior to his Wealth Management role, Bob was the COO of SunGard Transaction Network (STN), now known as SunGard Global Network (SGN), where he played a significant role in SGN’s growth from a start-up to one of the largest global financial services networks in the world.

      James Ashton

      General Partner, NewSpring Holdings

      Lee Garber

      Principal, NewSpring Holdings

      Skip Maner

      General Partner, NewSpring Holdings

      Kevin Rafferty

      President and Chief Executive Officer

      Board Of Directors

      Previously, Jim was a Division CEO for SunGard's Financial Systems division, a $2.5 billion business with 13,000 employees worldwide. During his tenure, the division grew top line 40%, from $2.0 billion to $2.8 billion and EBITDA 43%, from $400 million to $700 million. While at SunGard, Jim also led software and service businesses and in the areas of Wealth Management, Insurance, Corporate Treasury, Trading, Risk Management, Brokerage and Consulting Services. He also sponsored and integrated approximately 40 key acquisitions and played a key role in SunGard's 2005 $11.5 billion leveraged buyout with a consortium of private equity firms including TPG, SilverLake, KKR and Bain.

      Prior to SunGard, Jim held senior management positions at Premier Solutions Inc., a Safeguard Scientifics technology company that was acquired by SunGard in 1997. He began his career at EDS in Dallas where he held various technical, sales, and managerial positions during a span of 10 years. Jim is currently on the Board of Directors of Archer, Wealthcare Capital Management, X5 Solutions, US Pack Logistics and AG Delta of Singapore.

      Board Of Directors

      Lee is an investor with over 10 years of operationally focused audit and principal investment experience. Lee's experience includes the evaluating, managing and assisting of lower middle market businesses and helping to conceptualize, implement and manage value creation initiatives at an operational level. Before joining NewSpring, Lee was a Summer Associate with OMERS Private Equity, the direct private equity group of the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System, a $50+ billion Canadian pension fund, focused on middle market leveraged buyouts.

      Prior, Lee was a Senior Analyst with Versa Capital Management, a distressed and special situations private equity fund, where he worked on acquisitions and portfolio company operations across a variety of industries. Prior to Versa, Lee was with Ernst & Young LLP's Assurance and Advisory Business Services practice working in industries including insurance (life), gaming, government contracting and benefit plans.

      Lee received his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business with specializations in Finance and Entrepreneurship & Innovation and received his BSBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis with majors in Finance and Accounting. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). Lee currently serves on the Board of Directors of X5 Solutions and US Pack Logistics.

      Board Of Directors

      Skip is an executive with over 25 years of successful entrepreneurial, private equity investing and fund leadership experience. He has operated in a wide range of industry segments and many stages of company maturity; and has taken a lead role in the formation and growth of several industry-leading companies such as WebLogic (acquired by BEA Systems/Novell), Procurian (acquired by Accenture), SkyBitz (acquired by Telular Corp.) and ICCNexergy (leading lithium ion battery pack manufacturer in North America). Most recently, he served as COO and Managing Principal of Inverness Graham Investments, a lower middle market buyout fund with $250 million under management.

      Prior to Inverness, Skip was a Managing Director with Internet Capital Group. a Senior Associate at TL Ventures and Safeguard Scientifics where he was responsible for lead investing, active management of portfolio companies and transaction negotiations. Additionally, Skip has deep operating experience, having founded, built and sold two companies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Wealthcare Capital Management, X5 Solutions and Navigate Consulting.

      Board Of Directors

      Kevin joined VMS in April, 2015 as President & CEO with over 30 years of financial technology experience. Before joining VMS, Kevin was President, COO and Board Member for Backstop Solutions Group in Chicago. Prior to Backstop, Kevin spent over 20 years at SunGard, most recently as President of SunGard Wealth Management and CEO of SunGard’s Brokerage Services Group. Kevin had strategic and P&L responsibility for $400 million in revenue across 7 major product areas including three trust and custody systems (AddVantage, Charlotte and Global Plus), two retirement services systems (Omni and Relius), an electronic trading network (SunGard Transaction Network) and a financial planning solution (WealthStation) with over 1,400 associates operating in 15 locations around the world.