IPC has proved its dominance once again by winning Best Trading Floor Communication System Provider in this year’s Rankings, the fifth consecutive year for the company, and the eighth time overall.
It’s fair to say that communication hasn’t traditionally been the most high-profile area of focus within the front office. However, with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid) in the EU mandating particular recording requirements, the Dodd–Frank Act in the US doing the same, and efforts by various home regulators such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK to provide better oversight of what goes on, person-to-person, it’s a crucial area for any firm now. IPC, which has held court in this category since its addition to the Waters Rankings nearly a decade ago, is at the forefront of development in the area. It has its software on more than 112,000 desktops and over 2,400 trading floors across the world, giving it a pre-eminent position in a very global sense.
“Many of IPC’s products and solutions are designed to help financial clients address the growing number of regulatory challenges they face,” says Jonathan Morton, vice president at IPC. “Much of the new regulation is focused on increased transparency, accountability, and reporting, and IPC’s new Instant Trading Collaboration products enable firms to better communicate across the entire trade life cycle.”
Regulated and Recorded
It’s not just record-keeping for the sake of it, though. Incoming requirements on communications-monitoring drill down into the heart of compliance and oversight, from forensics through to enforcement of divisions between desks and other areas.
“Recording, archiving, and analytics solutions can address the latest archiving mandates in both the US and Europe,” Morton explains. “Unigy management system functionality helps to enforce compliance policies and Chinese walls, and provide real-time system oversight, as well as minimize system downtime. IPC is also a key provider of connectivity to the new swap exchange facilities (SEFs) that are coming online as a result of the swaps trading and clearing reforms that are part of Dodd–Frank.”
As a part of this, the increased links between typically separate areas of the business—that of the traders and the IT specialists—are becoming increasingly important. Here, IPC believes it has differentiated itself, through its acknowledgment of the fact and development in assisting it.
“From the user’s standpoint, they’re looking for an intuitive user interface, small desktop footprint, clear, crisp voice quality, and a system that never goes down,” says Morton. “IT wants flexible disaster recovery solutions, fast and easy deployment to address rapidly changing business requirements, small backroom footprint, low power consumption, easy integration with other systems and applications, and industry-standard application programming interfaces for fast and simple application development. More and more, IT also has a mandate to facilitate communication between the traders and the middle and back offices, to better address regulatory requirements and the need for enhanced collaboration across all users.”
As IPC looks toward the closing months of 2012 and then 2013, its focus is on a continuing build-out of existing infrastructure. The company recently released its Instant Trading Collaboration suite, focusing on the previously mentioned links between traders and the middle and back offices, and its Unigy platform continues to grain traction. More than that, IPC’s position gives it the chance to collaborate with other firms for its own development, particularly on the platform itself.
“Our focus will be on application development for our Unigy platform, both by IPC and with third parties, to enhance trader productivity and provide new business intelligence to the heads of desks,” says Morton. “We will also continue our focus on collaboration for all users involved in the trade lifecycle, and on building out Connexus, the IPC Extranet.”
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