By Ganesh Iyer, IPC Systems
Today's trading environment is a challenging and competitive one. Financial markets constantly evolve, putting pressure on institutions to have a trading infrastructure that supports the achievement of today's business goals and can adapt as institutions face new challenges. There is constant pressure to improve productivity, and central to that is raising the bar on connectivity and collaboration. Traders and trading support teams rely on their network services and communications solutions to be effective.
So, it is imperative that trading communications solutions come with the three Rs covered – reliability, resiliency and risk.
- Reliability – successful trading depends on the quality of connections – within and between enterprises. These connections get added to over time, the network grows and communications infrastructure needs to adapt and change as regulation and technology evolves.
Maintaining existing and enabling new connections can be complex and challenging; a situation compounded by growing data volumes and the push of enterprises to expand into new geographies and markets. Trading communications infrastructure needs to be reliable and robust to support growing capacity and to update in line with continuous change.
- Resiliency –It is imperative to ensure that, if and when issues happen, downtime and the impact on operations is minimised. Undoubtedly resiliency should be designed and engineered into every aspect of a trading communications product. If trading operations go down, enterprises need to recover fast. In the short term, every minute of downtime is lost income; in the longer term it can add up to reputational damage. If a power outage, natural disaster or other unforeseen event takes out physical infrastructure – such as the 'major technical issue' that halted the New York stock exchange for three hours in July – fast decisions have to be made and customers have to be kept informed of the impact. This would avoid circumstances such as those that happened at Bloomberg in April when its terminals went down and customers were openly complaining within hours that they hadn't been given an explanation for the outage.
Any trusted provider of communications services will ensure resiliency requirements are met and will configure and maintain the business continuity solution to help protect from multiple failures and events outside the organisation's control. Business continuity plans must consider traders and trading partners, allowing for seamless communications with full security, policy control and adherence to risk and compliance procedures regardless of where operations are being run from.
- Risk–understanding and managing risk is at the heart of finance services' operations.With ever-increasing compliance requirements, mounting pressure to reduce costs and the ever-present need to protect the business, firms can't leave themselves open to risks that are simple to avoid.
Though the Basel accords turned the industry on its head in terms of risk and go a long way to safeguard businesses' solvency and economic stability, they are still incumbent on the technology solution to deliver on the risk safeguards the organisation has set in place. Of course, the three Rs are interdependent and if reliability and resiliency have been done well, big steps will have already been taken to reduce risk.
Technology innovation supports trading firms with advanced solutions that can monitor hundreds of elements of their trading communications and voice recording systems, on a 24/7 basis.
Meanwhile, managed services tools can help enterprises better develop, monitor and maintain trading communications infrastructure while supplementing the IT team's capabilities – without adding employee headcount – and increasing expertise in areas that are not its core strengths.
Solutions to reduce operational trading risk and help firms maintain compliance include voice recording management, that monitors that trading interactions are being recorded in line with policy and confirms the integrity and archiving of the data, and services that proactively monitor telephony and unified communications infrastructure.
A premium monitoring offering can provide:
- Alerts when critical faults occur in a unified communications platform or voice recording system that notify the service provider to engage with technical resources that can resolve the issue
- A direct indication of the type of fault and where the fault exists to enable quicker action to remedy the issue
- An always-there response as to what problem has occurred and what actions are being taken to fix the issue and minimise disruption to mission-critical operations.
Monitoring and response solutions, together with solutions support provide expert guidance on managed risk and resiliency can give enterprises peace of mind that enable them to focus on core business needs. Service assurance is paramount, and reliability, resilience and risk management are critical to ensure continuous, uninterrupted trader communications. Mastering the three Rs of trading communications can go a long way toward achieving operational consistency and ongoing profitability.
Ganesh Iyer is Global Head of Product Marketing at IPC Systems, Inc.
IPC provides trading communications solutions to the global ﬁnancial services community. IPC's offerings include the ﬁrst uniﬁed communications/application platform, award-winning hard and soft turrets, electronic connectivity services, enhanced voice services, business continuity solutions and day-to-day system management and monitoring services.