Team GFT at the AWS EMEA Capital Markets Day in London – key thoughts

Neetu Mair, Robert Williams and I recently attended the inaugural ‘AWS EMEA Capital Markets’ event at the Amazon offices in London 

The purpose of the event was to bring together AWS Capital Markets customers and partners to discuss industry challenges in both trading and wealth management, with a focus on how these challenges can be overcome by the adoption of AWS cloud capabilities. 

It also proved to be a fantastic opportunity to connect with our AWS account team and discuss future market strategies and target clients. 

The event was opened by Jackie Crandell, Head of Capital Markets in the UK for AWS, inspiring all attendees for a dynamic day of sharing, learning and collaboration. This was followed by panel discussions around specific industry challenges, with Finimize providing an overview, which included showing how they engage with ‘lockdown investors’ and how this impacts traditional investor reports.  

Following a short break, Santander described how they successfully built a cloud-native fixed income e-trading solution. We then heard from Parameta solutions (part of TP ICAP), speaking about how they are establishing new revenue streams in the cloud. Finally, the morning session concluded with a discussion around the challenges of ESG data in capital markets, which is a huge challenge for all market participants, with what has now become a board-level priority for most organisations. 

Key takeaways from this event included: 

  • The challenges for ESG reporting, specifically around deriving accurate data which is expected to generate significant compute consumption, the level of data available and the regularity and level of reporting required for different sized organisations. Also discussed were national differences in how this is all considered i.e. how nuclear power is viewed in France vs Germany. 
  • The move of decision-making into the front office, and a ‘shift left’ of governance into business process, and what level of automation is required to enable this to happen. 
  • How to drive and embed cloud into an organisation was a crucial topic of discussion. Whilst only individual workloads are being migrated, the benefits of cloud are not being fully realised. Cloud adoption is still seen as an IT-driven decision and programme rather, than as a strategic opportunity to drive business growth. For firms that understand and adopt this approach, it would ultimately reduce the time-to-market and provide access to a greater range of technology products and capabilities. 

A technology focus 

The afternoon session was focused on technology and included a presentation on ‘Scaling and modernising High Performance Computing (HPC) in the cloud, whilst optimising the balance of price and performance’ by Mark Norton, AWS Principal Flexible Compute Specialist, Richard Nicholson, AWS EMEA Financial Services Principal SA and John Henriksson, Global Head of Rates & Credit IT at Santander CIB.   

The drivers of transformation from a customer, market and regulator perspective were discussed along with customer behaviours in terms of choosing HPC vs HTC (High Performance Computing, vs High Throughput Computing). Leveraging efficiency to meet business agility needs was a strong message in this section of the session.  

We then saw a very interesting session on the ‘Evolution of Data Architecture in Capital Markets’ presented by Maximillian Mayrhofer, AWS Financial Services Principal SA and Joel Farvault, AWS Principal SA Analytics. Data diversity, market volatility, regulation and licensing were discussed amongst opportunities and challenges. Operational challenges such as the failure to scale, lack of expertise, schema paralysis and low agility were highlighted as hampering adoption and progress. 

Jon Fautley, Chief of Cloud Strategy at Qube Research and Technology then talked the audience through ‘Scaling High Performance Storage Solutions in Capital Markets’. The key take away from this session was the importance of investing in development teams and also leaning on the AWS account teams for support. 

The event concluded with a very interesting interactive panel discussion hosted by Adrian Robert, Head of Enterprise FS SA UK at AWS on the ‘Technical Challenges in Capital Markets’ with Hagop Talatinian, Head of EMEA Technical Pre-Sales at Murex, John Henriksoon, Santander, Richard Nicholson and Emily Shea from AWS.  

The entire day proved to be an excellent opportunity to network and learn whilst building further on our great GFT partnership with AWS. 

Find out more about our collaboration with AWS via our website 

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