By Craig Campestre, Chief Revenue Officer, IPC
The world has never experienced anything quite like the current global pandemic, and uncertainty continues to grow with each passing day around the new disease. No one can guarantee when there will be an end in sight so until then, the enforced work from home policy that many businesses have had to follow will become the new normal.
Although already a popular policy in many sectors, remote working has rarely been an option for traders. Now, it is the only option. Forbes reported that the New York Stock Exchange’s iconic trading floor is temporarily closed, and traders have moved to electronic trading which shows the severe impact that the coronavirus is having on global financial hubs and the industry overall.
Everyone has been affected by the rapid restrictions imposed on our personal and business lives in these unprecedented times, but how can traders and the financial markets maintain a ‘business as usual’ stance during the COVID-19 crisis?
Why the subscription economy is the future
Behind the shock and threat of the coronavirus is also the underlying fear that world’s economy is about to plunge into another recession. During this frightful financial backdrop, organisations will understandably be cautious of increasing their spending on additional technology.
However, as many companies have had to suddenly shift to remote working for the long-term, firms either need to invest or risk closure. This quandary has been great news for fintechs that help companies work remotely as they have thrived so far with the sudden boom in adoption of cloud-based and digital applications and technologies in the wake of the global outbreak.
Traders and financial firms must make remote working as sustainable as possible and will be seeking flexibility and scalability for their infrastructure. This is where the subscription economy comes in as businesses can offer their products and service as subscriptions to customers, allowing for less commitment and lower upfront costs.
In the past few years, organisations and individuals have gone through a fundamental change in relation to the concept of ownership and possessions. Traditionally, businesses needed to buy multi-year leases for software and hardware. These were often big, costly decisions that needed to be thoroughly weighed in boardrooms.
Thanks to the rise of the subscription economy though, new technologies and applications are more affordable for businesses and much more easily installed, managed and updated. Subscriptions are transforming the way in which businesses consume services for the foreseeable future. This is particularly true for firms that need to invest in new technologies to continue ‘business as usual’ but also keep costs as low as possible.
Maintaining business continuity during uncertainty
There are a great range of subscriptions available for the financial community, including SaaS (Software as a Service), DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) and the cloud, that make it easier for businesses to cope with the pandemic or other unexpected shocks with its flexible model.
However, many financial firms may have still found themselves unprepared for the widespread enablement of remote working following the outbreak. Without an effective business continuity plan in place that allowed all employees to work remotely in times of crisis, some firms were left scrambling to quickly install key equipment and communications software for their trading teams.
It is easy to see why this was the case for so many companies as planning for unforeseen disasters is a time consuming and challenging task. Prior to the coronavirus, no one knew the severity and nature of unpredictable events and there was an argument that spending money on redundant infrastructure is impractical and unlikely to achieve the desired business results.
However, it will have become evident to everyone now how important investing in an appropriate infrastructure is for a business to continue to function as usual and avoid any unnecessary upheaval or lapse in regulatory standards.
Technological solutions for regularity
The businesses that were able to smoothly transition to working remotely was most likely due to them having had an effective business continuity plan (BCP) which also leverages technological solutions, such as IPC and Cloud9’s Disaster Recovery as a Service solution (DRaaS).
DRaaS allows traders to have ubiquitous access to a custom-designed virtual trading desk from any global location during an emergency, such as the current coronavirus pandemic but also earthquakes, political unrests, and any other event that would otherwise disrupt operations. With many employees now unable to access their offices, a cloud-based service that provides a comprehensive turnkey solution for recovery is a crucial way that traders can continue working as usual.
A thorough BCP for traders needs to also consider whether the technology in place is meeting compliance and regulatory obligations, as well as being able to scale up home-based operations to maintain uninterrupted trading activities.
For traders and the financial markets, this can be solved with DRaaS as the technology can utilise global financial ecosystems and trader platforms to extend voice trading capabilities to alternative locations without needing to notify counterparties or even compromising on functionality, compliance and regulations.
Buy-side firms and sell-side firms will also have had to extend their trader connectivity beyond financial dealing rooms and front-line offices to remote locations in a way that continues to meet the highest security and compliance standards regulating the capital markets. In this way, traders will be able to maintain a business as usual stance during the coronavirus outbreak.
As the pandemic continues to play out, there will be many more questions and issues that need to be ironed out, but one thing that we know for certain is that wide-scale remote working will be how most of the world operates for the next few months at least.
The importance of financial market participants maintaining firm operations and profitability to promote global financial market stability has never been more profound than during this time of heightened volatility. It is vital during these uncertain times that financial firms and traders are equipped with a scalable and resilient trading communications and networking environment that is integrated with the global trading ecosystem to maintain a business as usual stance and securely interact with clients and counterparties until this pandemic eases and offices reopen.