AFTAs 2016: Best Global Deployment—Northern Trust

The partnership with BEx allowed Northern Trust to offer better services

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Chicago-based Northern Trust has enjoyed considerable success over the years at the American Financial Technology Awards, winning four awards in four different categories. In 2012, it won the best reporting initiative and in 2014, it emerged top in the best infrastructure initiative category, while in 2015 it bagged two wins: best cloud initiative and best analytics initiative.

This year, a partnership with BEx, announced in August last year, landed Northern Trust the best global deployment award, a highly competitive category that has traditionally changes hands every year, with the exception of Nomura’s two wins in 2013 and 2015.

BEx is a provider of execution services to the foreign-exchange (FX) industry, also based in the Windy City. Its collaboration with Northern Trust has yielded significant results, allowing the $950 billion asset manager to build a number of FX solutions for its clients using BEx’s tools. 

To begin with, the BEx platform was built in a modular fashion employing a bespoke and flexible framework, allowing it to quickly add and deploy new functionality and features. The hook-up allows Northern Trust to synthesize market quotes from multiple and disparate pricing sources across the globe, utilizing request-for-stream (RFS) functionality in all industry-standard platforms, such as FXall, 360T, and Bloomberg.

The collaboration also allows it to offer its clients complex execution algorithms, resulting in improved execution speeds and transparency, and reducing market impact. On an internal level, the BEx deployment frees Northern Trust from other external dependencies, reducing vendor terminals on its trading desks, which in turn means reduced annual licensing expenses. Also, by leveraging BEx technology and proximity hosting, Northern Trust has seen significant savings on executions.

Fiona Horsewill, head of global product management, corporate and institutional services at Northern Trust, tells Waters that locality has become redundant, emphasizing the global nature of the platform. She says that BEx allows dealers to log in to remote instances if their local instance becomes unavailable. Adding to this, Horsewill says that both firms have co-located their servers within datacenters in New York and London to further reduce transmission latency. “These datacenters house the matching engines of all the major banks and exchanges,” she says.

On an internal level, the BEx deployment frees Northern Trust from other external dependencies, reducing vendor terminals on its trading desks, which in turn meant reduced annual licensing expenses. Also, by leveraging BEx technology and proximity hosting, Northern Trust has seen significant savings on executions.

Looking forward, Horsewill says that Northen Truist has got a number of plans in the pipeline as it tests and prepares for several enhancements to its platform. Without revealing any details, she says that all of these improvements will allow the asset manager’s clients to minimize expenses, increase transparency, and remain ahead of the curve when it comes to execution.

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