Focus on UX: FX sales traders have all the fun!

Following on from work to expose the metrics available in the Xaqua platform by Scott we have started to consider the design opportunities to enhance sales trader user experience (UX).

Here we give sales traders visibility of the quoting activity of a client vs the sector, combined with other client specific information into an FX sales trader dashboard UI.

This design provides sales traders with:

  • easy access to valuable client information
  • additional channels for sales/client interaction via social media
  • a ‘smart watchlist’ view of clients regularly quoted FX pairs.

Feedback from sales indicates this design increases both trade flow and client/trader satisfaction.

The risks for Buyside in moving to Central Clearing model

A great article by Bill Hodgson, looking at the complexity for buyside firms in moving from bilateral to centrally cleared (CCP) and margined model.

StreetWise Professor has his jaded view on this topic here Read It and Scream, including this great quote:

The bitter irony here is that many derivatives end users (real money investment funds, industrial hedgers) did not pose any real systemic risk under bilateral structures.  But forcing them to clear drives them to utilize funding mechanisms that are systemically risky.  As one big corporate end-user told me: clearing mandates have transformed credit risks into liquidity risks: I can manage the first, but the second scares me.

Just remind me, Dodd Frank was all about reducing systematic risk wasn’t it?

Top banks hiring UX designers for Single-Dealer Platform projects

A quick search using LinkedIn, shows that most top-tier banks have over the past year employed a dedicated Head of UX Design, or User Experience recourse, primarily focused on enhancing the ‘user centric design experience’ of their Single Dealer Platforms.

These banks understand that building a world-class SDP requires far more than ‘just’ a robust execution capability.

Great UX design is about truly understanding your client, and for each client segment you serve, designing a naturally intuitive user experience that seamlessly integrates compelling workflows throughout the pre-trade, trade and post trade life-cycle.

Whilst not all e-commerce teams can justify a dedicated UX resource,

no SDP e-trading project should start without UX design input.

It’s therefore really encouraging to see the value our clients place on the UX design service we provide as part of all our SDP projects. Ensuring that the ‘voice of the user’ is not only heard, but that the end user’s workflow requirements are actually at the heart of all our e-commerce engagements.

In future posts, Duncan Brown, Head of Caplin UX Design Practice, will take us through some recent example work, and explain the UX design criteria behind the design.

Here is the first of them: FX sales traders have all the fun!

Competitor pushes Caplin Trader

I attended the TMX Atrium drinks last week and ran into a friend who told me an interesting story. He was at the recent TradeTech show in London perusing the stands and noticed something very odd at one stand. A streaming vendor had an impressive screenshot on their stand….but the screenshot said “Powered by Caplin”. I assume they had downloaded the screenshot from our website.

Cue much embarrassment when this was pointed out to the vendor’s staff!

Still, it’s nice to know that they think as much of our GUIs as we do. All I can say is you should see what our UX team is creating now!

MiFID II Unveiled: Now Who Will Regulate the Regulators?

Will Rhode’s recent post on the TABB Forum is up to his usual high standards. He’s given us not only a great synopsis of the EU’s unveiling of the new MiFID proposal, but also a few predictions regarding the future of the directive.

Beyond the overall “who will regulate the regulators theme”, I think one of the most significant points Will makes is on the cost of compliance:

In addition, new compliance costs are indicated at between €512 and €732 million, with ongoing costs of between €312 and €586 million per year for the European banking sector, supposedly representing a minimal impact of 0.10 percent to 0.15 percent and 0.06 percent to 0.12 percent of total operating spend in the EU banking sector

His post is probably the best overview of derivatives reform I’ve found yet – join the TABB Forum and take a look.

Creative Destruction on the Steps of St. Paul’s

Protesters calling themselves Occupy LSX (?) have set up shop outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London after failing to disrupt the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It wouldn’t have mattered if they did – the trading floor vanished years ago when the exchange embraced technology and went screen-based, and the LSE Group is far too savvy an organization to have a single point of failure.

Still, even if they did somehow disrupt the operation of the server-racks contained deep within Paternoster Square – and the service didn’t fail over to other datacentres including Milan – then alternative venues such as BATS, Chi-X and Turquoise would take up the slack. Between them, these slim outfits see more volume than the LSE – yet BATS itself probably employs less people than the LSE’s canteen.

It’s an odd day when pseudo-Marxist protesters and the free market align to hurry the demise of an old business model and replace it with a leaner, nimbler and more efficient alternative – but however curious the alliance, it’s Joseph Schumpeter’s creative destruction at work: the same force for rapid progress that has seen Apple’s stock increase by 400% since the fall of Lehman, whereas RIM has lost 85% of its value.

I wonder whether the protesters appreciate their contribution to industry’s advancement?

Know Your Customer: The Tesco Example

I’m working on some new tools for Caplin Trader that will help banks better understand their customers.



Detailed knowledge of client behaviour is vital for any bank operating in a competitive environment. From a client’s perspective, the bank should understand what the client does, why they do it, and most important how to help them stay in business. Reports I have seen indicate that banks have some work to do to address client expectations in this area.

As part of the research, I thought I would investigate the market leader in understanding client behaviour, i.e., Tesco. I would recommend anyone interested in this topic read the interview with Clive Humby here.

Themes to be drawn from Tesco’s experience Continue reading

UBS to enable clients to route swaps orders to SEFs

UBS has joined a growing list of banks (including RBS, Deutsche) that are working on solutions to enable clients to route swaps orders to SEFs via their single dealer platform.

As regular readers will know, we have been consistently stating the case that single dealer platforms are the logical conduit by which clients access swaps liquidity. Whether based on a risk pricing from a single bank (for non-cleared swaps, or for swaps of non-standard terms), or agency pricing (for cleared swaps), which will be (smart order) routed by the SDP to the SEF/dealer with the best price and terms (and link to clients preferred clearing house), and leverage the bank’s existing investment in clearing infrastructure.

Extract from a WSJ story from Thursday Continue reading

Volcker Ruling on proprietary trading could prompt Goldman & Morgan Stanley to drop bank status

On 21st September 2008, at the height of the credit crisis, both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley announced that after discussions with the US Fed, that they were to become regulated as bank holding companies.

The move effectively returned Wall Street to the way it was structured before Congress passed a law during the Great Depression separating investment banking from commercial banking, known as the Glass-Steagall Act.

As bank holding companies, they become subject to far greater regulatory scrutiny. In effect they become more like commercial banks, with more disclosure, higher capital reserves and less risk-taking.

The upside for this increased regulation, was that as bank holding companies, they were able to take deposits from the general public, plus they could also access the Fed lending facilities – and having seen Lehman and Bear Stearns go under, was a lifeline that all banks wanted to grab. Continue reading

#4 in the Problem Solved Series: Building an Equity Deal Entry Ticket

Last week a client asked for a quick demonstration of building deal entry tickets in web trading applications – they have just started building equities DMA into their Single Dealer Platform and had some specific requirements that warranted a bespoke trading workflow and a custom deal entry ticket.

As the client had a requirement to use only native web technology (no Flash, Silverlight or Java) I used Caplin Trader Presenter to build a prototype deal entry ticket. Presenter is a UI framework for rapidly developing web applications; it is particularly well-suited for building trading components as it binds to, and contains adaptors for, complex trading workflows. Doing the same in HTML/JavaScript can be slow and tough to achieve in a performant and low latency manner.

Continue reading


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