About a-team Marketing Services

A-Team Insight Blogs

The Rise and Rise of Financial Technology Expert Consulting

Subscribe to our newsletter

By Martin Thompson, Head of Platform at Adaptive Financial Consulting.

Consultants have become integral to how complex modern businesses operate. Whether tapping into specialist legal or management advice, firms need expertise that is not immediately available to them to differentiate and compete. The same is true in financial technology – larger firms will typically have adept in-house development teams servicing their technology stacks to help meet evolving customer demands. However, regardless of how good in-house teams are, there will always be limitations to their expertise – whether in architecture, code, security, fault-tolerance, or performance design – an issue that has fuelled demand for highly specialised expert consultants. Sometimes a combination of architectural qualities are required, such as performance and fault-tolerance, providing a specialised challenge that only a few experts can deliver on.

As we move away from an era when vendors sat at the centre of innovation, deep specialisms have emerged in financial technology – leaving behind a time when a development team could be a jack-of-all-trades. As firms increasingly opt to own their technology – building and managing it themselves – they can no longer lean on third party vendors to guide their innovation. Instead, internal development teams now have near full control of the innovation to gain an edge on competitors in a market where firms are increasingly competing through technology.

At an operational level, this change has raised the profile of development teams within their businesses by giving them greater influence over their firms’ technological trajectory. With greater responsibility, teams so crucial to a firm’s future success sometimes need an outside perspective to break out of their silos and help them to ask “how can we do things better?”. In the same way elite athletes employ coaches to identify areas for improvement and to enhance performance, sophisticated firms should question how they can take their technology to the next level. This change in approach has led to the rise in expert consultancy, with in-house teams using consultants’ expertise and supplementary staffing to either help them build their technology stack or give them the expertise and tools to do it themselves.

Different from legal advice, where laws and practice will evolve slowly but visibly, technology is quietly changing before our eyes. There is no one formula that will solve a technological problem – while market pressures are universal, each client and their objectives are different. A common issue faced by vendors trying to tackle these complex problems is that they will often build a solution around an existing tool or capability. The key for expert consultants is therefore to properly identify the root of a problem and work back – developing a bespoke solution to address a specific need, rather than trying to fix a problem based on a tool developed to address a generic issue.

We are now at a point where all financial services firms are technology firms, as tech becomes more integral to their offering. Institutions, investment managers, and platforms are therefore locked in a technological arms race where it is no longer enough to rely on off-the-shelf solutions. As a result, firms are taking a much longer-term view with regard to their technology stacks, setting solid foundations on which they can build their businesses. Mindsets have shifted from focussing on buying new technologies that can be bolted on to fix short term problems (as you would at an IT store), to seeing a technology stack as an evolving, living thing.

This longer-term view in technology has resulted in an expert consultancy model similar to enlisting legal counsel – having expert consultants on-hand to deliver highly specialised advice and supplementary staffing, either continuing to build proprietary systems, or ensuring in-house teams have the tools they need to build cutting edge systems themselves.

In recent years, the technological map has opened up – far from the previously linear approach to solving problems resulting in solutions looking broadly similar across the market, we are now seeing an incredible diversity of technological solutions. In our industry, knowledge is power – being able to collaborate and tap into broader expertise when needed has proven to be invaluable and has paved the way for the unstoppable rise of expert consultants. Looking to the future, the greater the pool of expertise and resource firms can access, the greater their chances of success.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related content

WEBINAR

Recorded Webinar: Re-architecting the trading platform for interoperability, resilience and profitability

Trading platforms have come a long way since the days of exchanging paper certificates and shouting across trading floors, pits and desks in the early 2000s, but there is progress still to be made as firms strive to reduce risk, increase profitability, and make their mark in digital assets trading. This webinar will review the...

BLOG

Aquis Becomes First Recognised Investment Exchange to Run Cloud-Based Matching Engine

Aquis Exchange PLC has successfully migrated the primary and secondary markets of Aquis Stock Exchange to Amazon Web Services (AWS), marking it as the first recognised investment exchange (RIE) to run a matching engine in production on the cloud. Since 27th November 2023, the group’s Aquis Stock Exchange division has been matching trades on all...

EVENT

TradingTech Summit London

Now in its 13th year the TradingTech Summit London brings together the European trading technology capital markets industry and examines the latest changes and innovations in trading technology and explores how technology is being deployed to create an edge in sell side and buy side capital markets financial institutions.

GUIDE

Regulatory Data Handbook 2021/2022 – Ninth Edition

Welcome to the ninth edition of A-Team Group’s Regulatory Data Handbook, a publication dedicated to helping you gain a full understanding of regulations related to your organisation from the details of requirements to best practice implementation. This edition of the handbook includes a focus on regulations being rolled out to bring order and standardisation to...