AFTAs 2017: Best Cross-Asset Trading Initiative—State Street Global Markets

“We started in enhanced custody, we’ve moved to the broader securities finance business, and we’re starting to move into areas like FX and even more operational areas, like onboarding,” Delikaris says.

2017 AFTAs

One of the greatest challenges when it comes to embracing new technologies is integrating them with rigid legacy systems. With the advent of tools like machine learning and distributed ledgers, firms are having to re-examine their trading systems.

About 18 months ago, State Street Global Markets undertook such a review for its securities finance trading and operational processes, finding both synergies and deficiencies in its existing trade lifecycle. This examination led to the creation of a new trading platform called Iris. And at just-over a year old, Iris has won its first AFTA for the best cross-asset trading initiative.

“We had a challenge a couple of years ago where we really needed to scale our infrastructure because volumes were increasing greatly,” says Craig Tucci, COO for State Street Global Markets’ Securities Finance unit. “We wanted to take a step back and understand what we needed over the next five to six years to handle those volumes and make sure we could embrace emerging technologies that were coming down the road.”

Late last year, Iris went into production for securities finance. It delivers real-time information to help improve the decision-making process. State Street also focused on the platform’s user experience (UX) interface. “This year, we’ve further enhanced its capabilities to be able to handle all of our trading volume and basically cover the full lifecycle of a trade, from booking to fully settling a trade,” Tucci says. “It’s really streamlined our process and has allowed us to handle a lot more volume with fewer bodies, and allowed us to prepare for a lot more demand across the rest of Global Markets.”

Nickolas Delikaris, global head of trading and algorithmic strategies at State Street Global Markets, says the bank will continue to roll the platform out to other areas. “We started in enhanced custody, we’ve moved to the broader securities finance business, and we’re starting to move into areas like FX and even more operational areas, like onboarding,” Delikaris says. Beyond that, Iris will be scaleable so that it can incorporate new technologies, such as machine learning, natural-language processing and blockchain. “This will be a platform that will easily extend to use these technologies,” he says. 

Last year’s winner in this category was UBS Neo, while State Street previously won this award back in 2009. 

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