From job market perspective, the prospect of a true ‘holy grail’ multi-asset trading platform has always seemed more like a threat than an opportunity. After all, with fewer unique electronic platforms, there’s likely to be less demand for IT staff. However, there could be jobs created down the line.
Rather than the traditional separation of asset classes into distinct business activities trading on separate incompatible platforms, there’s an increasing demand from banks, brokers and trading firms to offer a single multi-asset platform to execute trades.
Simon Holden, MD of cross-asset risk programmes at Morgan Stanley, told us previously that technology platforms in banks would be “much more integrated than they were historically” in the future and that technologists able to work across multiple asset classes “will certainly find opportunities”.
From a business perspective this move makes sense – more asset classes are being traded electronically, and producing a new cutting-edge platform is expensive. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and J.P Morgan have both stated their intentions to reduce the number of trading systems they run. In both cases, this could mean fewer IT staff.
What’s more, a multi-asset trading platform reduces transaction costs and allows access to greater liquidity.
But for technologists, the prospect of increasing their domain knowledge to include FX, equities, derivatives, fixed income and commodities seems a little intimidating. Luckily, the banks recruiting for these roles are being reasonable with their expectations, says Andrew Keene, director of IT in finance recruiters Thomson Keene.
“Banks aren’t recruiting technologists with knowledge of various different asset classes, but are considering the complications further down the trade cycle,” he says. “The more complex the cross-asset trading system, the more complex the risk management and pricing aspects become. It’s in these areas where most banks are looking to recruit.”
For the time being, there are still only a handful of roles related to multi-asset class trading systems in the banks, however. It may be worth looking at some of the tech vendors for new opportunities – Fidessa, for example, invested in its multi-asset programme last year, and has previously indicated its intention to hire as it extends into derivatives this year. Calypso is also hiring software developers for its cross-asset software tools.