Sales traders are fiercely competitive and results-focused - that’s why they’re good at their jobs. However, keeping detailed and transparent records of all negotiations, pricing and execution is not high on their list of priorities. Not least because it could negatively affect their earnings. But this is precisely what the European Commission’s revised Markets in Financial Instrument Directive (MiFID) requires them to do when it comes into force in 2018.
Our client, a leading global investment bank, commissioned us to design a trading platform that would capture every trade negotiation and price request passing through the institutional sales desks. Our client wanted the platform to help them comply with MiFID II. And they wanted to benefit from the improved accuracy and transparency of their transaction reporting. But they also knew the platform needed to be as simple as possible for their sales traders to use as part of their day-to-day operational routine.
Listening to users and understanding their needs
The biggest challenge to implementing any executional trading system is the disruption to the processes of the people who will use it. Forcing sales traders to record details for every request could add 10-20 seconds to the existing sales process. Typically clients expect to receive a price in under ten seconds for a simple IRS Outright product. Adding additional time to this would inevitably result in a loss of business.
We used rapid design prototyping techniques to test multiple solutions in short design cycles. Significantly, we worked alongside the salespeople and traders so we could understand their challenges and needs. This helped us find the right balance between regulatory compliance and sales targets.
The technology solutions that we designed for this complex workflow system included:
- Semantic/Predictive data entry
- Voice capture
- Rapid UI selection matrix
- Quick entry (‘button’) product templates
- Client/Trade analytics
A new platform that sales traders enjoy using
We not only overcame the significant barriers of data capture in a high-pressure environment. We also delivered an application that traders actually enjoy using.
The Sales Trader Workflow (STW) platform was deployed across trading desks in multiple regions. Due to the added data analysis features baked into the design, our client has also expanded its use of the platform across more and more product classes.