Duco is no stranger to the winners’ circle in WatersTechnology’s various awards. By winning the reconciliation category in this year’s Sell-Side Technology Awards, the London-based data engineering specialist has pulled off a “double-double”: back-to-back wins in the Sell-Side Technology Awards and Buy-Side Technology Awards, underlining its cross-industry reach and versatility.
When it comes to reconciliations, one of the key obstacles facing capital markets firms’ automation efforts is weaning off of Microsoft Excel. According to Christian Nentwich, CEO of Duco, the firm’s platform is not only easier to operate than Excel, but it is also more auditable. “That is why we have seen the switch,” he says. “We have good stats—our clients tell us it is 85% quicker to reconcile on Duco than to try to reconcile on Excel, and that is great from a time-savings perspective, but additionally, the risk rating around these controls is just as important, as well as decreasing the risk rating in the order reports.”
Nentwich explains that most of the industry thinks reconciliations are all about handling cash and trades, adding that Duco sees it as a data integrity and quality issue that can be solved on the same platform.
Among Duco’s clients are 14 of the world’s top 30 banks, one of which is Societe Generale, which entered a partnership with Duco last year. “They have really adopted our transformational model of empowering the end-user,” Nentwich says. “Within the first few months, they set up hundreds of reconciliations, which was very nice to see. We still have a lot of work to do with them to cover the entire enterprise, which is going to take a while, but it has been a very encouraging start.”
Duco’s platform is cloud-based, so there is no installation or hardware, meaning that clients can be live in 24 hours. When it comes to cloud technology, Nentwich says he has seen a marked shift in attitudes in the US and the UK, but change has been more modest in Europe. “In some European countries, it is still a complete no-go,” he says, attributing Europe’s inertia to cultural attitudes toward data privacy, where there are long-held concerns about sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. “One step we are taking is we are moving to container technologies,” he says. “We are moving to Docker and Kubernetes, and what these technologies do is make us cloud-independent. That means we will be able to offer many more hosting options to people, including on their internal or hybrid cloud. So this is a big topic for us this year.”
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