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Return to work: What will Trading Floors look like?

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By Ganesh Iyer, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, IPC

There has been a tremendous amount of change in the way in which we work in the last 18 months.  The financial services industry is no different. However, thanks to the strong vaccination efforts which are currently taking place around the world, there is now a sense of hope that life could soon return to ‘normal’.

As the world begins to consider the ways in which we live and work in the aftermath of the pandemic, we have a wonderful opportunity to take the best elements of remote working and create a new normal which incorporates a healthy work-life balance. Financial services organizations could achieve this through the creation of distributed hub-and-spoke offices, in addition to installing the appropriate infrastructure for employees to work remotely on a long-term basis. In order for this to come to fruition, the financial services community must overcome the obstacles of guaranteeing resilience, reliability and security, while at the same time complying with strict regulatory requirements.

Flexibility is key

Despite restrictions lifting in several countries, and companies, the outlook is not necessarily supported by the entire industry, with the financial services industry not observing a mass return to the workplace since the restrictions on working in the office were lifted.

Nevertheless, finding a balance between flexibility, reliability, scalability and security is far from easy – even for larger financial firms. Many institutions are still under a significant amount of pressure in terms of their costs and resources, with uncertainty around what the future holds. It is important for firms to consider if there should be a split between working from the office and working remotely – a form of hybrid working. A number of banks are planning to transition to a hybrid work model, with a focus on reducing real estate costs. Further to this, financial institutions should think about individual employee preferences when it comes to working remotely on a permanent basis, as well as prepare for any potential future situations where large scale remote working may be necessary. The questions that need asking are difficult to answer, yet they are vital to the decisions financial services companies must make concerning the vendors they wish to work with and the technologies they’d like to implement.

There is good news though – many of the ingredients necessary to address these concerns already exist. For many trading companies, it is just a matter of finding and combining them in a way that fits their specific requirements. Over the course of the past decade, the industry has observed paradigm shifts in how technology services are provided, as well as in technology itself. For example, the transition towards a subscription-based economy in addition to firms utilizing the cloud has presented technology vendors with the opportunity to create solutions that merge certainty with scalability, and flexibility with reliability. The benefits of this are felt by companies of all sizes, ensuring all firms, whether they be large or small, incumbents or newcomers, have access to the same modern, state-of-the-art technology.

Further to this, there are many benefits to consuming technology services via a subscription, or software-as-a-service (SaaS). For those firms that have adopted a cloud-native environment will be aware, subscriptions mean businesses only need to pay for the solutions they require. They have the choice to expand and consume a greater amount as the company continues to grow. Adding to this, a subscription model means businesses won’t be using aging technologies. This is due to SaaS being evergreen, meaning that it can be easily upgraded and updated, with new access mechanisms, delivery channels and markets being available as and when required.

Trading environment: for the present and future

For trading firms, being able to trade anytime, anywhere, from any device in a compliant manner is a tremendous competitive advantage in an environment which is uncertain and constantly evolving.

Taking the example of firms that trade across multiple locations and time zones, these companies need access to a diverse set of counterparties. As such, they must find a solution provider that offer them with global flexibility. Moreover, they also require a software trading system which is capable of switching seamlessly between a trading floor turret and a soft client located on a desktop or mobile device. As well as this, for regulated users utilizing their existing internal communications channels, firms have a duty to record these individuals. This enables superior communication between the trading floor and support staff to take place.

It is also worth considering that companies know of the importance of resilience, based on recent events. This concerns both resilience at this present moment and in the face of future unknown challenges. They want a system that provides them with a feature of futureproofing, allowing them to adapt and maintain their advantage over competitors, regardless of what the future holds. Therefore, trading firms anticipate their infrastructure provider to offer them a higher standard, with technology that is continuously evolving, being updated and upgraded regularly behind the scenes.

How to support the trading world post-pandemic

In a post-pandemic world, there is only one thing that is certain – there will be change. Irrespective of whether companies decide to go back to pre-pandemic ways of working or not, the reality is that nearly every industry has learned a lot of important lessons based on the events of the past 18 months. This is especially true when considering the need to be adaptive and flexible, allowing your firm to pivot in whatever direction it needs to take in order to maintain resilience and thrive. By utilizing the right technologies, adopting a cloud-native environment, and leveraging the subscription model, financial services companies can ensure they are prepared to embrace the new working world that emerges in the wake of the pandemic – in whatever form it takes.

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Ganesh Iyer, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, IPC

Global Banking & Finance Review


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