Join FTF as we celebrate and recognize the professionals, financial technology vendors, service providers, industry bodies and regulators that have made significant strides and noteworthy achievements in operational excellence during 2020.
Optimizing collateral management has come into sharp focus for many buy-side firms especially as global deadlines have hit home. This award honors the provider, consultant, or internal IT organization that has been the most effective in helping buy-side operations staff achieve higher levels of internal efficiency in the oversight of collateral.
This award recognizes the provider that offers buy-side firms a comprehensive set of solutions for securities operations that helps firms achieve operational excellence. The solution set can be deployed onsite, use cloud computing technology, be completely outsourced, or use a combination of these deployment methods. The award is meant to reward the provider whose ambitious, enterprise-wide offerings have exceeded expectations.
The voters will be rewarding the solution provider that has achieved a new level of excellence via innovation for transaction clearing and settlement operations. The competition is opened to established providers and the newcomers that are breaking ground for cutting-edge financial instruments, especially via disruptive and emerging technologies, workflows, and collaborative efforts.
This award honors the provider that has advanced the complex process of client reporting. The winner will demonstrate that it has improved the customization, look and feel, and delivery of reports for many kinds of clients and portfolios. The award also recognizes progress in automating reports, managing source data, monitoring the status of productions, and clarity in performance reporting.
The pandemic and its many challenges made clear that cloud computing has become part of the landscape for securities trading operations. Systems that were once restricted to a particular location are now accessible via the cloud from anywhere. For 2021, this award category focuses on the next chapter in cloud computing – cloud-native advances that are paving the way for digital transformations and other evolutionary strategies. This category is open to managed service and cloud-native solutions providers, and to companies that offer infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS); platform-as-as-service (PaaS); and software-as-a-service (SaaS) implementations.
This award is for the supplier that delivers distinguished offerings to help clients meet their critical compliance and regulatory responsibilities for equities, fixed income, derivative instruments and more. The award targets the offering that does the best job of improving operational efficiency while meeting the demands of regulators, anti-money laundering laws, and the latest domestic and international economic sanctions of governmental authorities. Suppliers that help participants with compliance in the over-the-counter (OTC) and non-cleared derivatives markets are also eligible for this honor.
Corporate actions processing needs reliable data from publicly-traded companies that is distributed in a variety of efficient channels that meet customers’ particular requirements. The winner in this category offers clients the most comprehensive global coverage in a timely manner and via a user-friendly, consolidated view. The top provider in this category has a complete offering that lowers operational risks for clients.
Corporate actions processing continues to advance and this award spotlights the provider that has incorporated industry standards, advanced automation, data management, ESG data, and emerging technologies. The winner in this category will have helped its clients move closer to automation and streamlined processing.
This award recognizes the industry participant that has successfully developed innovative financial technology solutions for middle- and back-office post-trade operations. Eligible areas of consideration include artificial intelligence/machine learning systems, cloud-native services, hybrids of legacy and cutting-edge IT, a groundbreaking offering that eliminates manual processes, and new products that break the mold.
Cyber-security providers were busy in 2020. Ops staffs at financial services firms worked from home for much of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and endured an increase in cyber-attacks upon home PCs, servers, and networks. In addition, there was a huge reliance upon cloud-based systems that eased the move to remote staffing. For achievement in this category, the cyber-security winner will have had to demonstrate effective protection against malware, ransomware, data hacks, and new security challenges such as those via mobile devices and cryptocurrency-based financial products.
While firms adjusted their Ops and IT agendas to accommodate a pandemic-induced lockdown, they have continued to look toward the goal of a digital transformation for securities operations. Firms are exploring for their digital journeys artificial intelligence (A.I.) solutions, machine learning (ML) technologies, and disruptive influences such as blockchain/distributed ledger technologies (DLT) used for cryptocurrency-based transactions. The common factor is that these systems are beginning to challenge incumbent middle- and back-office systems. This award focuses attention on the breakthrough systems are advancing securities operations the most.
Secure messaging and videoconferencing systems are playing new and important roles at financial services firms. These roles were enhanced by the pandemic-induced lockdown and market volatility challenges of 2020. The award in this category would spotlight the third-party provider or the internally developed system that offered the most secure, cost-effective capabilities to facilitate important trade support functions overseen by securities operations. The winning system would also offer new channels between sell-side and buy-side firms, and between securities firms and their clients.
Internal and external financial crimes against financial institutions are on the rise and firms are fighting this battle on many fronts. Providers have been advancing solutions to combat internal and external acts of fraud, insider trading, money laundering, terrorist financing, and multiple forms of corruption. This award will shine the light upon software, services, systems, and advances in surveillance that help firms protect themselves from danger and reputational damage.
The middle office plays an important role in optimizing operations across the enterprise. The winner in this category will be chosen from among the ranks of middle-office operations providers that offer IT resource management services, risk management, risk data analytics, client and security master database support, and services for the coding, configuration and verification of trades.
The middle and back-offices are no longer autonomous groups existing independently of each other. They are linked by multiple operations serving multiple assets. This award will spotlight the Ops offering that helps firm facilitate more efficient integration between middle- and back-office applications, particularly IT innovations that eliminate manual systems, legacy solutions and pave the way for operational efficiency.
This distinction focuses attention on the solution from a startup or an established provider that launched an exceptional offering during the past year. The new product should bring new efficiencies and new benefits to middle- or back-office systems. The new offerings to be considered should help the buy side meet crucial operational efficiency demands. New offerings for consideration can come from established providers or newcomers to the industry.
Operational risk permeates everything that a financial services firm does, including securities trading. This award will go to the provider that has shown the most creativity in mitigating operational risk whether it is related to cyber-attacks, margining, collateral management, data management, anti-money laundering, disaster recovery/business continuity, corporate governance and other issues that may hamper operations.
Managing data to get the most out of it for securities operations is an ongoing challenge for all financial services firms. Data that is optimized will yield multiple benefits for current efforts and beyond. This honor is for the provider that has demonstrated that it can help firms derive the most value from their clean data, and pave the way for greater advancements to come.
Many firms participating in over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets have had to meet the challenging requirements of the uncleared margin rules (UMR) for non-centrally cleared derivatives. A fundamental requirement of UMR compliance is the initial margining process. The winning solution in this category has helped firms in scope for the UMR regime leverage the capital, margin and segregation rules that constitute compliance. The winning provider has also helped clients stay ahead of the curve for regulatory deadlines and helped them stay ahead of the competition.
Outsourcing plays a key role for many facets of securities operations. This category honors the provider that offers valuable, reliable, cost-effective and efficient outsourced services to the buy side. The winner in this category will be honored for offering the highest levels of reliability, security and adaptability, and for demonstrating capabilities for rapid implementations and flexible consumer models.
This category spotlights the performance measurement solution provider that offers systems for exemplary calculation of returns for portfolios (benchmarks and composites); calculation of attribution effects for equity and fixed-income portfolios; and calculation of ex-post risk, absolute and relative. This award also acknowledges the efforts that industry participants are making to advance performance measurement via the embrace of ESG concerns among investors and emerging disruptive technologies.
During 2020, key aspects of securities operations were tested on many fronts and firms turned to professional services teams for help. This award honors the provider that offered cost-effective, customized support amid crisis conditions. Nominees in this category should have supplied exemplary business management plans that facilitated seamless, efficient transitions to remote or onsite professional services support. The category is open to IT systems, services, and software providers, and to third-party companies that specialize in offering professional services.
Reconciliation for securities operations has been the focus of a lot of energy over the past five years. The result is a wider range of opportunities available for firms looking for effective solutions. This category is an opportunity for the industry to reward the solution provider offering an innovative approach that yields great results and support, and helps firms reallocate resources to their advantage.
Keeping up with regulatory reporting requirements has become a major burden for financial services firms. Automating major processes across an enterprise is a daunting challenge for firms, and the industry is exploring a variety of models to support regulatory technology (RegTech). This award honors the solutions provider that has advanced data integrity and governance issues, eliminated repetitive processes, and paved the way for more streamlined reporting across the enterprise and to regulators.
The collateral management complex involves many participants including sell-side firms that must work closely in conjunction with counterparties. This award recognizes the accomplishments of a provider, consultancy, industry organization, or internal IT group that has made great strides in helping sell-side operations maximize their collateral management operations via advances to the workflow, IT systems, and counterparty interactions.
The onset of the global pandemic caused Ops teams to quickly transform themselves so that they could work remotely and have greater mobility in response to lockdown challenges. Many firms turned to third-party systems integrators and consultancies to set up and maintain what became lifelines for operations. Some of the top areas of concern were support for remote trading and operations, business continuity, secure conferencing systems, reliable virtual private networks (VPNs), and efficient cloud computing.
This award will recognize a behind-the-scenes individual that has been highly effective in advancing a financial technology issue that has had a major impact upon the industry. The person to be honored has devoted much time and effort toward proliferating a new standard, a key technology initiative, a regulatory-related project or a technology breakthrough that benefits the industry. The winner in this category must show that he or she can work across the aisle with business executives and staff.
This award honors an executive-level individual who has advanced the cause of financial technology innovation from the business side of the aisle. The winner of this award can be from a solution provider, an end-user firm or related consultancy committed to improving operations for financial services firms. The winner must demonstrate that he or she has effectively worked with IT managers and staff.
The Service Provider of the Year will be celebrated for advancing the delivery of service, extraordinary client support, new synergies with key market participants and extraordinary leadership in the industry. The winner in this category must be able to show that it boosted the fortunes of its clients.
This award will recognize the software application or software system that over the past year has broken new ground in a major area of securities operations. This category is open to technology providers, industry organizations and financial services firms that are fully engaged in the advancement of operations software. The winning solution must have clear business benefits.
The Editor’s Choice Award for 2021 will focus upon an individual or an organization that spurred positive changes via a socially responsible initiative. The chief content officer for FTF, the FTF staff, and eligible FTF awards participants can nominate a provider, industry group, end-user financial services firm, user group, or industry participant that has successfully raised awareness about a humanitarian concern. The FTF staff will review the nominees and select the recipient of this honor. The group or individual to be honored can be from any post-trade operations areas.