ETF and equity derivatives desks demand actionable market insights, quickly. But many research teams are still using slow, error-prone manual processes that simply can’t meet that need. Drawing on our skills in automation and process re-engineering, we helped the Global Markets Research team of a leading European investment bank dramatically improve efficiency, freeing them up to explore new ways to add value.
Over the last few years, the bank’s Global Markets Research team had been coming under ever-increasing cost pressure. That prompted them to take a fresh look at their business processes. Their onshore team, already short-staffed, were wasting valuable time on repetitive, lowvalue tasks. Producing research pieces took hours of manual work – capturing data, getting it into Excel, adding charts, tables and text and finally preparing the content to be sent to end clients. Clearly, this was a process that needed re-engineering. The question was: how?
For this project, we deployed a team with strong knowledge of capital markets, plus proven skills in programming and data analytics. Developing with a mix of Python and R, they could build highly efficient platforms for data manipulation. Beyond that, however, they were also able to propose new ideas for models and visualizations, alongside general advice and support for the client. Our proposed solution had two aspects. First, we provided cutting-edge technology solutions that were tailored to the systems that the team already used. Second, we identified repetitive tasks that did not require human judgment or intervention, and could potentially be automated. We were then able to re-engineer several of the team’s research processes. This achieved a major reduction in processing time – from 12 human hours to 15 machine minutes. At the same time, we were able to make the processes more robust and stable, while ensuring accuracy with multiple validation checks.
With processing times reduced, the team has far more service flexibility. Processes that could only be done quarterly are now run at clients’ request – sometimes several times a week. However, the team’s processes are not just faster, but better too. Their newly automated tools can carry out complex analyses that were out of reach with the previous approach. Conducting superior analyses more quickly means ETF and derivatives desks get key insights sooner. These time savings have also freed up analysts to search out new insights. Now, they can spend more than 70% of their time on creating new analytical tools, conducting ad-hoc investigations and building financial models. Our optimized framework can calculate a range of metrics and analytics on futures and options trade data. This allows the team to publish a weekly research piece that is an essential aid for its sellside teams. We have also helped them develop a state-of-the-art periodic report analyzing volatility; it’s quickly become a ‘must read’ for investors. Looking to the future, the team can achieve new market insights by using our financial models to track financial products such as equity futures, ETFs, custom baskets and equity options, and to monitor overall market volatility.