A Buy-Side Christmas Wish List

John shares his Christmas wish list for the buy side.


As the world prepares for another round of gift-giving, over-eating and squabbling with relatives, John runs through his Christmas wish list for buy-side technology going forward.

Although I seem to have cultivated an anti-Christmas attitude among my London-based colleagues at Waters, the truth is that I am a big fan of this time of year. It's not often that I get to, or even want to, stop being quite so cynical and bask in the festive mood of good cheer, so I tend to take the opportunity when it's in front of me.

While Christmas is a time to think of others and extend charity to those less fortunate, there can also still be a childish element of self-interest at work. I believe this is the result of the constant letters to Santa we're encouraged to write as children, almost bargaining for whatever baubles have fired our tiny imaginations that year.

In that spirit, I've put together a short list of what I'd like to see both for and from the buy side and its technologies going forward. (Spoiler: Some of these may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I'll let you decide which.)

Embrace Blockchain

The time for the buy side to get involved in blockchain is now. Why should the sell-side shoulder the initial investment costs and ultimate rewards the technology may one day bring to the industry? Asset managers could do worse than getting on board with distributed-ledger technology and finally throwing off the cautious approach to new technologies that they have become synonymous with. The person who dares wins, after all.

Cloud Friendly

Similarly, I want to see more buy-side firms moving to the cloud. Of course there are issues still be dealt with in terms of security and data privacy, but it's clear that cloud is the future. Over the course of the year, Buy-Side Technology has spoken to a number of C-level and portfolio managers that have completed cloud-based migration projects and the consensus is that virtualization throughout the infrastructure brings a number of benefits. Operating cost reductions, enhanced trading mobility, and smoother data processes are not to be sniffed at.

Harsher Regulators

This one won't win me any friends among the asset management community, but I think the time for the softly, softly approach from regulators needs to come to an end. With so much regulation due to take effect over the next two years, authorities need to take a tougher line on firms that are more willing to take a hit on a fine than spend the time and money on implementing sufficient technologies required to remain compliant. And delaying Mifid II any further would only serve to undermine those regulators further.

Editor's Note: This is my last editor's letter of 2016, returning January 4. Over the course of next week, look at for our annual round-up for the best articles from across Buy-Side Technology and Waters in 2016.


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