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 25 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 and over 250 financial institutions benefit from our services
  • 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.

      Mark Czepiel

      Chief Financial Officer

      Erin Nichols

      Director of Human Resources

      Brian Nicholson

      Chief Technology Officer

      Marguerite Peters

      Chief Operating Officer

      Kevin Rafferty

      President and Chief Executive Officer

      Rose Thomas

      Senior Vice President & General Counsel

      Bob Ward

      Chief Revenue Officer

      Cort Williams

      Senior Vice President, Global Product & Strategy

      Mark brings over 20 years of experience managing and leading the accounting, finance and administrative functions of public and early-stage venture-backed technology companies across the enterprise software and hardware sectors. In addition to these operating roles Mark spent the early parts of his career in private equity and investment banking.


      Erin joined VMS in 2017 and brings extensive experience in operating as a HR Department of One for rapidly growing and cutting-edge companies. As Director of HR, Erin is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent across all functional departments within VMS by driving the vision that the Executive Team has for the culture of the company.

      Prior to joining VMS, Erin worked for several innovative companies overseeing all aspects of HR. Her accomplishments include successfully implementing benefits programs, establishing standard hiring practices, and planning regular employee appreciation events.

      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.

      Marguerite Peters joined VMS in February 2018. As Chief Operating Officer, Marguerite is responsible for overseeing operations and technology across all products. Marguerite has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, specifically in brokerage, retirement and trust operations, as well as client delivery of services and software. Prior to joining VMS, Marguerite held executive leadership positions at Backstop Solutions Group and SunGard. Marguerite graduated from Ohio State University.

      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.

      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.

      Cort joined VMS in July 2017 as head of product and strategy. His background includes over 30 years of financial information and technology sector experience leading commercial and strategy teams.

      Cort spent over 20 years at Interactive Data, the leading provider of securities data and evaluations globally. He built the firm's $200 million distribution channel business, established their major accounts group, and was President, Institutional Sales when he left Interactive in 2011 after a successful sale to private equity firms.

      He joined SIX Financial Information USA as EVP Sales and Marketing where he led all commercial efforts for the firm in North America and opened the South American market for SIX as well.

      Most recently, he was Commercial Head, Americas for Informa Business Intelligence where he led commercial strategy and several successful acquisitions.

      James Ashton

      General Partner, NewSpring Holdings

      Anna Ewing

      Board Member

      Lee Garber

      Principal, NewSpring Holdings

      Bob Greifeld

      Board Member

      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

      Anna is a board member of NEX Group plc, a financial technology company based in London. Most recently, Anna worked for Nasdaq which she joined in 2000 and spent 15 years with the company. Anna held several senior executive roles including Chief Information Officer where she was responsible for the strategic planning, delivery and operational support for all Nasdaq technology systems and infrastructure. She also established the Global Technology Solutions division, a dedicated technology and software business unit providing market technology and corporate intelligence solutions to the capital markets.

      Prior to Nasdaq, Anna worked for CIBC World Markets and also spent 15 years at Merrill Lynch in a variety of technology and operations leadership roles.

      Anna studied Economics at Toronto’s York University and gained an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University.

      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

      Bob is a Board Member of Runway Growth Capital LLC and will become Chairman of the Board at trading firm Virtu Financial Inc. after the company completes its acquisition of KCG Holdings. Bob is the former Chairman and CEO of NASDAQ, Inc., a leading provider of trading, clearing, exchange technology, regulatory, securities listing, information and other public company services.

      Prior to joining NASDAQ, he was Executive Vice President at SunGard Data Systems, Inc., a global provider of integrated software and processing solutions for financial services and a provider of information availability services. Bob joined SunGard in 1999 through SunGard’s acquisition of Automated Securities Clearance, Inc., where from 1991–1999, he was the President and Chief Operating Officer.

      Bob holds an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in English from Iona College.

      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.