Sell-Side Technology Awards 2024: Best use of the agile methodology—Nasdaq

Product: Nasdaq Risk Platform


As broker-dealers navigate extreme market conditions and regulatory change, it is crucial they have:

  • A broad view of and deep analytics into complex proprietary/client trading portfolios across multiple markets in real time
  • A reliably current software platform to support their business objectives
We prioritize effective risk management across our operations. We are happy to extend our partnership with Nasdaq and continue enhancing the platform, which helps manage our market and liquidity risks across multiple asset classes in real-time 

Mike Coomber, chief risk officer, Sucden Financial

The strategy  

By executing a three-week development/delivery cadence, Nasdaq provides new functionality into its Nasdaq Risk Platform (NRP) that augments client value—e.g., updated margin models, expanded market coverage—based on continuously assessing:

  • Client conversations
  • Usage patterns
  • Industry developments
  • Market events

To deliver incremental value/service enhancements, Nasdaq utilizes agile methodology best practices. Sprint cycles comprise initial planning, daily scrums, demonstrations, and a retrospective, which ensures continuous improvement. Such discipline enables rapid planning, developing, testing, and deployment of enhancements.

Agile secret sauce  

NRP is built utilizing a microservice architecture and is deployed in the cloud as a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based offering. Because each microservice encapsulates specific functionality, this technology foundation is an ideal basis for rapid, agile development and deployment. Utilizing communication via API(s), the agile development team can isolate changes to specific microservice(s) without impacting other NRP functionality. Automated test pipelines assure quality and SaaS facilitates the releases/updates that occur every three weeks. Thus, clients are current and freed of having to test or deploy software.

Recent milestones

  • Support for industry margin models introduced in 2023 including SPAN 2 and ICE Risk Model 2 in 2024
  • Enhancements to the Kafka streaming service, complementing NRP’s GUI and Rest API, and supporting real-time decision-making through the streaming of risk and pricing data
  • Enhancements to the multi-factor stress-testing service, enabling definition and calculation of stress scenarios across multiple dimensions for large and complex scenario sets
Nasdaq’s strategic direction embraces agile methodology’s best practices to shorten time to value for our customers as part of our vision to promote the liquidity, transparency, and integrity of the financial ecosystem. Winning this award proves how Nasdaq’s disciplined agile development/deployment regime’s frequent enhancements enable clients to benefit fully from NRP―a complex sell-side risk management platform―and meet constantly evolving needs in this highly dynamic market

Malcolm Warne, head of product, Nasdaq Risk Platform

Future objectives

Enhancements are driven and continuously prioritized by customer input, market events, and regulatory developments. Nasdaq plans on a quarterly basis using a Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) methodology.

Candidates for the 2024 roadmap include:

  • Expanding market coverage, including support for the Nodal Exchange
  • Launching a margin optimization service, leveraging the cloud and AI to enable reduction of clients’ margin requirements
  • Leveraging Nasdaq Calypso OTC risk-management capabilities in NRP

Why they won

Agile methodology-focused categories have been part of WatersTechnology’s various awards programs for the best part of a decade, and in all that time no entry has better articulated the value and effectiveness of the development framework than this one from Nasdaq. All that focus is to the ultimate benefit of the client through Nasdaq’s outstanding NRP offering. The beauty of agile is that new functionality is drip-fed into the product regularly (and largely seamlessly from users’ perspectives), ensuring that it is always current and that its evolution is driven in collaboration with its end-users. Nasdaq, take a bow.

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