The momentum behind cloud in financial services is building, and quickly. With big names such as IBM moving into the space, it signals that this is the future of financial markets infrastructure. Looking specifically at FX, there are many reasons to believe that firms are shifting towards this technology as a central component of their technology stack.
I think I can say with confidence that 2020 has been the strangest year in my career to date. The FX markets have faced their share of global crises and geopolitical disruptions over the decades, yet nothing comes close to the impact of COVID.
Digital transformation is happening across every sector, and banks in particular are beginning to recognize a digital framework that allows their services to be accessed from anywhere will be key going forward.
The importance of relationships in FX has proved central to institutional trading in recent months. Not that relationship trading ever went away in the FX markets. However, in a clear ‘Back to the Future’ development, the role of the single dealer platform (SDP) is once again having a resurgence.
As pubs and restaurants begin to open their doors in England, so too are the world’s global banking giants. After a prolonged period of working from home, many of the top banks such as HSBC and Goldman Sachs have announced plans to urgently bring workers across the world back into the office.
The question is: Why the rush?
As novel COVID-19 has swept the globe, financial institutions can still remain focussed on trying to operate business as usual and serve their clients. No doubt this continuity can be achieved largely in part with access to the right technology.
It is true that banks are having to do more, with less budget. Recent headlines have demonstrated we’re currently operating in an increasing cost pressured environment. The solution for some banks has been cost cuts through staff reductions – but is this always the right answer?
With increasing popularity to outsource FX technology at banks, Vikas Srivastava, Chief Revenue Officer at Integral, gets to the core of the matter and explores how to outsource the notoriously complex risk management technology stack.
Integral recently spoke on a Greenwich Associates Webinar discussing the key technology criteria an FX desk at a bank needs to compete. It came as no surprise that during an interactive polling session with the audience, senior representatives from regional banks cited risk management was the hardest component of the FX technology stack to outsource.
On the surface, the news that BCBS and IOSCO have granted an extension to the final phase of the Uncleared Margin Rules (UMR) is likely to be welcomed by asset managers currently trading uncleared derivatives with a notional between $8 billion and $50 billion.
The extension pushes the initial margin compliance date out by exactly one year to September 2021 for an estimated 8000 firms. However, this additional year does not apply to the 1000+ firms that have a notional threshold between $50 billion and $750 billion. And to be honest, the truth is that much elbow grease is still needed in the coming months to prepare for what is essentially a major structural change, regardless of whether an asset manager falls under Phase 5 or Phase 6.
In an era where pundits like to predict doom and gloom for banks FX businesses, Integral’s Chief Revenue Officer Vikas Srivastava offers a different perspective that shows how a change in the approach towards technology can allow heads of FX desks to significantly increase their profits – even during the periods of low volatility.
We’re all aware that the size of the FX pie hasn’t been growing. The latest triennial survey by the BIS supports this sentiment, having flagged a decline in FX volumes for the first time in 15 years. After the slow-down in market activity amidst the spate of regulations that the FX market had to contend with it is quite likely that the worst may be behind us. Continue reading Why now is the time for a fresh approach towards FX technology at banks