Following its decision to partner with Interactive Data and set up UK-based operations last year, compliance and regulatory reporting platform vendor b-next has bagged two new clients in London and is searching for new recruits to bolster its team in the city. The vendor is looking to hire on the ground staff to deal with pre-sales, implementation, training and maintenance in the UK, according to Wolfgang Fabisch, founder and CEO of b-next Group.
“We are looking for IT architecture experience, a focus on investment banking and an understanding of market data and delivery,” explains Fabisch. These new recruits will, no doubt, be tasked with servicing the vendor’s two new clients in the UK: one, which is a US-based investment bank and brokerage, has signed on for testing of market abuse scenarios and crossing rules scenarios; and another big player in Europe has signed on for a global deal. The former is planning for an end of November implementation and Fabisch indicates that b-next already has a good knowledge of the firm’s data structure due to its initial proof of concept (PoC) work.
“The appeal of our solution has been in the ability to compare data directly on the market data and transaction data front for market abuse purposes. Firms are able to make proportionate decisions due to the ability to directly compare this data. We have the ability to run more than 65 different scenarios for customers, although most of them opt to run between 20 and 30,” he elaborates.
The vendor has also recently released its MACOC:DOC solution, which provides business process documentation for compliance with the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) ARROW visits. The regulator requires banks to demonstrate their ability to manage processes and identify potential risks and exceptions and the b-next solution compiles reports that present an overview of all processes in place from top level down.
“Our next focus is to move our solution to the point of trade, therefore enhancing the level of performance,” says Fabisch. “We are also working on an EU project with European banks and universities is to bring unstructured data in from the internet. The banks and universities come from Germany Spain, France and Italy.”
The vendor is looking at algo trading in a theoretical way at the moment: how to keep track of the data for regulatory compliance purposes in light of developments such as the flash crash. Fabisch notes that the market and regulators need to be much faster to be able to cope with the speed of technology and there is some potential for a solution in this space.
“The driver for investment in technology is now business opportunity rather than just keeping out of the regulatory spotlight,” he explains. “This means that the risk and compliance functions are getting budget approval and moving from a pure cost to a potential profit centre.”
As a result of this trend in the market, the vendor has experienced growth of around 35% for the first half of this year and Fabisch expects this to increase further still. “We have signed a few new partnerships with players in the market and have an upcoming partnership with a media company, which will be announced in the next couple of months,” he adds.
The vendor is also looking for another partner for implementation services in the mid to small size consultant firms. B-next is already working with two of these firms, one in Europe and the other in Germany.
“In the future we will look to expand into the Far East rather than the US,” says Fabisch of potential expansion geographically. “The US is a crowded and difficult market for mid-size firms to enter. In Asia we would potentially look at Singapore and Hong Kong, but this is a lot further down the line.”