Over the last few weeks many Financial Services businesses have moved their workforce from centralised offices to working remotely at home. We have seen the rapid deployment of remote solutions implemented around the world to address the immediate need to enable people to work from home. This hasn’t been possible for all staff, as some have had to remain on the trading floors, either due to a lack of stable infrastructure to their homes (quality and security) or the need to be able to demonstrate compliance, governance and supervision of a trading environment. Some countries have been more flexible in the definition of regulatory requirements than others. Compliance with regulations has always had elements of interpretation and it is therefore unsurprising that no two businesses have the same exact approach in addressing this.
The New Normal for Trading Communications
In a few weeks and months, we will be returning to ‘normal’ life. There is no doubt that the future normality will be different from that of the pre-lockdown period. Already we are seeing many ideas being published about the future state of the work/life balance, the diversity in supply chains and in-country manufacturing capabilities.
Financial Services businesses will need to review their business operating models, and primarily will look to ‘right-size’ their organisations to adapt to post lock down market conditions. We should expect a move from centralised offices, to more regional and home working as part of risk mitigation initiatives, and for regulators to be pushed to give clear guidance so as to avoid having staff kept in offices to trade (to meet their statutory compliance requirements) during a time when remote working should be mandatory.
The Future of Dealerboards [aka Turrets]
Although many Financial Services businesses use dealerboards, there is a lot of speculative discussion about the need for these in the near future. Many of these discussions address the challenges businesses face when enabling these endpoints to work remotely at home, either due to not being up to date, or to complexity in the networking infrastructure required. Some have said that with more communication happening by instant messaging and video services like Teams and Zoom, platforms like these are no longer relevant. This may be true; certainly when the dealerboard is not fully utilised as an effective tool, but is instead a trading floor status symbol that denotes an individual’s importance.
But thinking about this more broadly we must ask: What is a dealerboard? It is one the most powerful collaboration tools that enables you to receive and make many simultaneous communications instantaneously, to which counterparties can respond without the need to call you back! The technology behind the scenes is not just one of telecoms; it can also link into radio and satellite systems. This is the reason why these same products are used in command and control in Emergency Services, Military and Transport (Air and Train).
The ability to communicate by voice is important; to use a well-known expression – ‘people buy from people’. Human contact is vital. During this lockdown period, we have all experienced the positive effect of being able to talk to our family and friends, and to be able to keep in touch with our work colleagues and communities.
It may feel that in recent years communication has become a bit stagnant. When using online messaging you may feel as though you are communicating with a ‘Bot’, not an actual human. Although this helps to a point, nothing replaces the genuine article.
In any future Business Operating Model, the success will be measured on the loyalty of customers, which is dependent upon an interactive relationship, and in this the human voice will be key. We should anticipate that Financial Services businesses will expect a better user-led experience from their dealerboards. This may well include:
- Improvements in remote working capabilities; either via the web or as an App utilising standard hardware in the home environment
- Perfect and seamless integration into desktop applications
- Self-provisioning on-demand direct connectivity to counterparties
- A.I. assistants to identify and enable proactive communication
- Automatic feedback from governance and compliance tools from real-time activity.
There will be more, but the dealerboard of the future will be very different those of today. The move to subscription models will become the norm, in the same way, it has for so many other areas of technology.
But most importantly; businesses will not want to be lumbered with a solution that requires expensive and complicated projects to update or upgrade their platforms, but rather a service that is constantly updated in collaboration with the needs of the ever-evolving business operating model. The race for this change will not be about which technology you choose, but rather which business partner can help you to make the right choices to ensure your operating model meets the needs of ever-changing market conditions.
We should expect to see a lot of change in the months and years ahead…..