Interview: How SteelEye & FlexTrade Deliver Industry Interoperability
Interoperability continues to be one of the most widely discussed topics in the FinTech space. So much so, Greenwich Coalition recently listed APIs and the need for seamless integration between “best-of-breed” solutions as one of the top ten market structure trends to watch for 2022.
FlexTrade and SteelEye are two organizations that have long understood the need for industry-wide interoperability and have championed the benefits it can bring to clients, including process automation, efficiency, and improved investment control with granular compliance information.
Of course, solid and mutually beneficial partnerships are crucial for FinTech interoperability and usually occur in two ways. Either when a firm proactively seeks new, innovative FinTech solutions to integrate with, or a client or third party suggests that two firms should work together. Unusually, in the case of SteelEye and FlexTrade, it happened in both these ways.
Consequently, SteelEye and FlexTrade formed an alliance – integrating the two platforms so that data can flow seamlessly from one to the other and working together to make sure that joint clients get the best possible user experience.
Building on the partnership, SteelEye’s Brian Lynch and FlexTrade’s Andy Mahoney sat down to discuss the alliance, the challenges firms face in the market today, and the benefits collaboration will bring to clients.
HOW DID THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN STEELEYE AND FLEXTRADE COME ABOUT?
AM: A mutual client reached out to both organizations to combine FlexTrade’s multi-asset Order and Execution Management solution with SteelEye’s comprehensive compliance and trade surveillance platform to create a seamless Transaction Cost Analysis solution (TCA). As a result, a new, scalable integration was developed, and a collaborative partnership was formed.
HOW DOES THE STEELEYE AND FLEXTRADE PARTNERSHIP DELIVER VALUE?
BL: Order and Execution Management systems create data. SteelEye is a platform that consumes, analyses and visualizes data – be that trades, orders, communications, news, or market data. We specialize in holistic surveillance using a broad set of data sources. Building a robust integration between SteelEye and FlexTrade means clients can immediately access the services we offer without a heavyweight integration process.
AM: SteelEye’s holistic capabilities were one of the compelling reasons we entered this partnership. Unlike traditional compliance providers, who primarily look at trade and execution details, SteelEye also captures communications – voice, text, WhatsApp, or email. A trade doesn’t just happen electronically. There are other factors around it and in reality, the transaction most often takes place ‘human-to-human.’ SteelEye’s ability to recreate that in a trade reconstruction format is precisely where the future of compliance is heading and is of enormous value to financial firms.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO CLIENTS?
AM: FlexTrade is an open platform, and we recognize we are one part of the trading ecosystem. We don’t believe there should be any artificial technology barriers preventing clients from using the systems they want. Our clients want access to best-of-breed systems, which we are keen to facilitate through partnerships with firms like SteelEye. The main benefit of this partnership is the seamless integration between the two platforms.
“Technology barriers don’t serve anyone and should be reduced. Pre-emptive integrations like SteelEye and FlexTrade help achieve this.”
AM: Interoperability is critical. Clients don’t want to be tied into one application anymore. They want to make sure their workflow is accurately represented seamlessly across applications. They want to define their workflow first, then applications second.
BL: We are firm believers in creating an open ecosystem and enabling access far and wide. If we all work together, the client benefits, and so does the market as a whole.
Our clients who use FlexTrade benefit from their data automatically feeding into SteelEye without manual intervention. It is a seamless integration that makes regulatory compliance more effective and efficient.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES STEELEYE AND FLEXTRADE SEE IN THE MARKET?
BL: Whenever we talk about challenges, it always comes down to data – accessibility and quality. We see this in two buckets. First, growing regulation and second, increasing volumes of data and fragmentation of that data. We are addressing both within SteelEye by aggregating structured and unstructured data and making it accessible on a single platform that helps clients meet requirements spanning different regulations and jurisdictions. SteelEye’s powerful user experience simplifies data management. The ability to rationalize multiple disparate data sources into one platform and simplify that view is the power of SteelEye.
AS FIRMS MOVE TO MULTI-ASSET STRATEGIES, HOW CAN THE DATA STEELEYE DELIVERS HELP TRADING TEAMS?
AM: FlexTrade’s solutions are cross-asset by design, and most recently, we have broached the Fixed Income space, which is one of the areas this integration that will benefit clients. Fixed Income is vastly different and is more than an order going out and execution coming back. There is a lot more contextual detail. SteelEye’s ability to look further than the transactional information, of just orders and executions, and pull in communications, market data, and news can add huge value here.
Additionally, we have a lot of clients trading FX, where we have seen a lot of growth. Clients want to get their contextual data into the market – rather than just presenting liquidity and mid-market rates. They want to demonstrate how the trader was acting at the time of the trade. Having the contextual information that SteelEye can capture, visualize, and analyze gives a crucial dynamic to the overall view of the trading taking place in FX.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD IN THIS SPACE?
AM: With this powerful combination of two platforms like FlexTrade and SteelEye, it is exciting to think about the evolution in this space, which we believe will lie in being able to pull the holistic view of the data into the pre-trade space to augment the trader’s contextual information further.
For example, there is massive value in a trader being able to say, “what kind of trades have we previously done in this space?” not only just being able to pull the transactional details but also the context that underpinned the transactions.
BL: The ability to bring together a holistic view of trading spanning transaction details, communications, news, market data and more will only become more important as the trading landscape continues to evolve and the regulatory landscape grows in complexity. Firms need to have the ability to evaluate multi-dimensional holistically in order to improve compliance and trading decision making. Interoperability to support the holistic analysis of data is the future in this space, and we are delighted to be working with FlexTrade to help facilitate this.
Establishing an ecosystem of interoperable platforms will become more important than ever as the financial and regulatory landscape continues to evolve. SteelEye and FlexTrade are proud to help drive this interoperability by integrating their platforms and partnering to reduce barriers to technology adoption.
This interview was conducted with Brian Lynch, who is the Global Head of Sales and President for SteelEye Americas, Andy Mahoney, who is the Managing Director for FlexTrade EMEA.
About Brian Lynch, SteelEye:
Brian has been innovating, building and implementing technology solutions in the financial services industry for 25 years. In 2011, Brian joined Risk Focus from UBS, after a successful 15-year career culminating in his role as Chief Operating Officer for various businesses in Prime Services. As CEO of Risk Focus, Brian expanded the scale and profitability of the consulting business and drove the development of a regulatory focused software solution that he then ‘spun out’ to create RegTek Solutions, one of the market leading Regulatory Reporting start ups, funded by Illuminate Financial and the Deutsche Boerse. In 2019, Bloomberg bought RegTek Solutions and Brian spent two years integrating his product into Bloomberg’s regulatory platform and growing the business before leaving to join SteelEye as President of the U.S. Business.
About Andy Mahoney, FlexTrade:
Andy Mahoney has been working in the financial services industry for more than 17 years, with time spent at Goldman Sachs and trading systems provider, FlexTrade.
Initially a strategy specialist, Andy helped grow the FlexTrade business in the EMEA region from a four-person outpost to a major enterprise with a team of more than 100, leading to his appointment as Head of Implementation.
In 2010 he joined Goldman Sachs, where he led the REDIPlus product in Europe and managed liquidity strategy and smart order routing across Goldman’s wider electronic business. Mahoney’s enthusiasm for trading technology saw him return to FlexTrade in 2012. Andy is now EMEA Managing Director and Head of Sales, and is responsible for driving the company’s EMEA business strategy.