SecOps 2017: Time to Hire a Post-Trade Robot?

The Financial Technologies Forum recently hosted its annual SecOps North America conference in Boston. The conference brought together leaders in financial services securities operations and financial technology innovators to discuss the challenges facing operations teams, including data management and evolving technology.

Clearwater participated in Time to Hire a Post-Trade Robot?, a panel discussion centered on how robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies are changing the financial services industry and the benefits and challenges associated with adopting this technology. The session was moderated by Garvin Young, SVP and Head of Foreign Exchange Systems at BBH. Panelists included Moiz Kohari, SVP and Chief Technology Architect at State Street; Elliot Noma, Ph.D, Managing Director at Garrett Asset Management; and Alex Strekel, Investment Solutions Specialist at Clearwater Analytics.

The following are three questions discussed during the panel and some insights shared by the panelists:

What does it mean when we talk about robots in the financial services industry?

In the financial services industry, the term “robot is generally interchangeable with “automation.” During the discussion, panelists predicted that although there is plenty of talk in the industry about the prospect of robotic systems automating the entire post-trade process, that is not likely to happen for a long time. For now, the focus is on automating certain key processes. Using technology to automate time-intensive manual tasks is a current trend that will absolutely grow as time goes on.

What will this technology replace?

The goal of innovative technology isn’t to replace people, but rather mundane and inefficient manual data management. Automation should provide professionals with tools that enable them to do their jobs better. For instance, consider how the computer spreadsheet revolutionized how teams organized, managed, analyzed, and documented their data. New technology is revolutionizing the industry in a similar way, enabling teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. Instead of putting out fires and correcting bad data, ops teams utilizing automated technology can spend their time deriving more meaning from their data.

Is it time to embrace this technology?

The technology used for post-trade tasks has evolved from data entry systems that were built to serve a multitude of markets to fully integrated and consolidated systems built specifically for the financial services industry. The panelists agreed that the robotic technology currently serving the industry has reached a point of truly solving certain pervasive challenges. Firms are wise to embrace and implement systems that help them automate, integrate, and consolidate data-driven processes. Early adopters will benefit by establishing industry best practices and exploring the many ways automation can revolutionize their data management infrastructure.

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The Clearwater team is made up of a wide range of investment accounting experts, who attend industry events, work closely with industry leaders, monitor regulatory guidance, and gather feedback from Clearwater clients.