Sell-Side Technology Awards 2013: Best Implementation at a Sell-Side Firm ─ Caplin Systems

Of all the categories of this year’s Sell-Side Technology Awards, the award for the best implementation takes more stock of a vendor’s ability to deliver on its promise than any other.

This category, therefore, is unquestionably one of the most prestigious comprising the inaugural Sell-Side Technology Awards, given that it was decided by practical considerations as opposed to purely technical specifications. This year's award goes to London-based Caplin Systems for the implementation of its Caplin Trader platform at Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), based in Zurich.

Historically, ZKB provided its clients with separate e-trading systems for each asset class, which, while functional, were starting to show their age. The bank acknowledged the need for a new, single, multi-asset-class portal, in order to improve the customer experience and reduce its operating costs. It opted to build a single portal that would, over time, support the design and trading of structured products, equities, foreign exchange (FX), bonds, and derivatives, and include complex pre-trade analysis and execution functionality.

At the start of 2012, ZKB formed a project team comprising 12 ZKB and four Caplin consultants. Its first priority was to replace the bank's existing StruktiOnline structured products trading platform, used internally only and accessed through a Java client, with an asset-class-agnostic platform, built entirely in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, that would service internal and external clients. According to Caplin, the biggest single investment was around the design of the user interface and associated workflow to create a new user experience (UX)-a project led by Caplin's head of UX working alongside various ZKB stakeholders. Implementation and testing began in April 2012.

Another critical aspect of the new portal was the need for it to capture the barrier reverse convertible payoff chart. After considering several options, an interactive chart was designed, which dynamically updates as users alter product variables and as coupon rates update in real time. The team used Caplin Trader and Caplin's proprietary blade technology for the front-end development, allowing each module to be built and tested independently. ZKB's new structured product trading system, eTradingPro, went live internally in January this year, while work is currently under way rolling the system out to clients and extending the platform's support for equities trading.

 

It opted to build a single portal that would, over time, support the design and trading of structured products, equities, foreign exchange (FX), bonds, and derivatives, and include complex pre-trade analysis and execution functionality.

CAPLIN SYSTEMS REACTION

"Electronic trading today is fast-moving and highly competitive, with banks investing substantial sums to build new and ever-more innovative portals, interfaces and workflows. Their teams are under pressure to deliver compelling systems quickly and cost effectively, and then continue to maintain, enhance and extend them. In this environment, Caplin is delighted to have won the best implementation at a sell-side firm award for our collaboration with Zuericher Kantonal Bank (ZKB) in Switzerland. The joint project delivered an innovative structured product-trading system that demonstrates both the benefit that can be achieved by the increasingly electronic basis of OTC trading, as well as what can actually be delivered by a web-based trading app. It's clear this resonated with the judging panel in making this award."

Paul Caplin, founder and CEO, Caplin Systems

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