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THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF TRADERS TRADING FROM HOME

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Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare Group

Banks had hoped to keep their London trading floors open amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, insisting traders were “key workers”. But trading floors were quickly cleared and employees sent to work from home in isolation.

Firms needed to quickly adapt to remote working. This meant recreating the carefully monitored environment of the trading floor at thousands of sites.

With major disruption across the entire sector, it seems the Financial Conduct Authority felt no other choice but to relax regulations on recording calls. But does this measure introduce more problems than it solves?

 

Why call recordings are regulated

Whilst regulations differ globally, authorities in the UK, US and Hong Kong have long required trading floor phone calls to be recorded for certain activities.

In the UK, the FCA demands financial institutions keep records of all trades and transactions related to certain types of business for at least six months. Recording calls and reporting trades are essential to the regulators’ ability to monitor the markets for abuse, such as insider trading. Requirements to record calls apply to companies that receive and execute client orders to buy or sell in the financial markets.

Steve Haworth

Each trading floor in a financial firm also has its own set of policies which staff must abide by. For instance, the trading floor manager must ensure that all trade-based calls are recorded and monitored. An often-used policy that still exists is to ban all mobile phones on the trading floor. To enforce this, mobile phones are often stored in lockers and traders are required to use turrets to host calls.

Beyond call recording, most traders and salespeople need to sit together on a monitored trading floor in order to meet regulatory rules. A range of compliance complexities under GDPR, MiFID II and Dodd Frank have meant working from home has simply not been an option for many traders.

 

The rush to relax regulations

Traders are now required to work from home – if they can. The FCA has said it accepts that some scenarios may emerge where recording calls may not be possible. Adding that it expects companies to “consider what steps they could take to mitigate outstanding risks if they are unable to comply with their obligations to record voice recordings.” If financial services companies are unable to record calls they are then expected to “come up with a plan to fix the problem”.

Yet, trading firms have enough problems to solve without having to decipher call recording requirements. Why should traders spend extra time updating the FCA and coming up with an alternative solution when one already exists?

 

A smart alternative

Smart solutions – such as mobile call recording which meet global regulations – have perhaps been overlooked as a way to maintain business continuity.

Mobile voice recording technology (MVR) is not new. It has existed since 2011 and includes secure and reliable voice and SMS recording, easy to use conferencing and robust, accessible voicemail. It has matured over the years and proven itself to be flexible and highly reliable.

Technology can keep traders trading from wherever they are. Ensuring they can operate effectively at home while remaining compliant.

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From compliance to the metaverse: Investment trends to look out for during the year ahead

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By Rami Cassis, Founder and CEO of Parabellum Investments

 

In the investment world, the old saying, knowledge is power, has never been more pertinent. As any investor will testify, it is essential to retain an in-depth, and up to date, understanding of news, predictions and trends that specifically relates to his or her specific area of interest.

This is particularly true for investors in the financial sector.

We all know just how quickly the sector can change beyond recognition. The demands of consumers are forever changing, new technology is always waiting in the wings to re-write the financial status quo and the next big digital company is constantly looking to increase its market share. There is always a new trend to look out for.

As we move into a brand-new year and prepare to face the opportunities – and challenges – that doubtless lie ahead, these are some of the trends that are likely to develop during the next 12 months.

 

Personal banking conversations

In its Tech Trends 2021: A financial services perspective Deloitte states that today’s pioneering companies are using advanced digital technologies, virtualized data, and cobots to transform supply chain cost centres into customer-focused, value-driving networks, based around a personal experience.

The concept of personal banking provides a perfect example of how the financial services sector has evolved to deliver digital personal banking.

Before the digital banking revolution, personal banking involved a visit to a high street branch to sit down with a personal banker in the flesh. This personal banker would be the customer-facing, end point of a complex supply-chain, involving training centres, degree courses, carbon-emitting journeys into work – the list goes on.

Compare this to the current version of personal banking. Digital financial services firms such as Monzo have revolutionised banking thanks to sophisticated analytics and a personalised interface. The big banks are now catching up, offering their own versions of ‘modern’ banking insights for the everyday user, and furnishing them with the latest online, smartphone-powered gadgets to enable them to manage their money 24/7, wherever they might be in the world.

However, even this is now becoming somewhat stale, with many financial services providers still seeing personalization simply in terms of personalized messages. Instead, the next chapter will involve smart banks understanding that good personalization requires personalized conversations, not just messages.

Enterprise software is one of the specific investment interests of Parabellum Investments. One of our portfolio companies is ieDigital, a specialist UK financial technology provider. The team from ieDigital and Parabellum Investments analyses the latest developments in business technology regularly.

We understand the importance of pushing digital boundaries. Indeed, one eye should constantly be scanning the horizon to identify the digital tools that the customers of tomorrow will expect. The interpretation of digital transformation is specific to each organisation and translating technology into practical business outcomes requires the focused specialism the combined IE Digital & Parabellum Investments team is qualified to deliver.

We understand – and see daily – the pressure that banks are coming under to deliver an ever more personal service, and see the ability to deliver these personal conversations is one of the trends to watch during the next 12 months.

 

The metaverse

The word ‘metaverse’, is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as a “virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”.

When Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021 it may have come as a surprise to many of the platform’s users, but it was a major moment in the company’s history. It signalled Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions for his business; to be the leader in the development of the metaverse.

Indeed, the future of the metaverse is looking sophisticated and bright. With giants like Facebook and Microsoft introducing metaverse elements into the fabric of their business models, it’s a concept that cannot be ignored, and one which is likely to expand rapidly throughout the next 12 months.

Returning to the financial services sector as an example, in a blog post titled Metaverse, the end of banking digital transformation?, CoinYuppie speculates that the metaverse will change banking in a number of ways including:

  • Identify verification. In the metaverse, identity verification will be performed via VR glasses and Metaverse sensor devices which contain a security chip.
  • Real-time creation of financial products. In the meta universe, virtual product managers use gestures to drag and drop the entire process of digital product manufacturing.
  • Games and attractions become a source of bank traffic. You can open branches on Mount Everest, in the Tarim Basin, on the Kunlun Mountains, or in Jiuzhaigou. The bank will combine these magnificent landmarks to fully personalize its branches and display its products.

This is just the financial services sector. Just imagine the opportunities for other industries – and the tools that will be needed to deliver them.

People are likely to need virtual-reality headsets, for example, together with related components such as sensors, as virtual-reality technology becomes intrinsically linked with the metaverse world.

 

Compliance

Another key trend to look out for as we move into 2022 and beyond is how companies deal with their compliance issues.

In the wake of the global Covid pandemic, we are seeing a much-increased hybrid working model, with a large proportion of the workforce now based at home. This creates a logistical headache for compliance teams, who must now ensure that sensitive data and company secrets remain just that, despite a workforce now using multiple digital platforms, messaging systems, mobile phones and landlines.

Cloud-based archive systems that can capture multi modal communications are likely to become essential for companies to remain compliant.

 

Alternative currencies

Cryptocurrencies are likely to retain their position as one of the most talked about developments in the world of alternative currencies.

As an example, Bitcoin has risen nearly 70% since the start of 2021, driving the entire crypto market to a combined $2 trillion in value. However, heightened regulatory scrutiny and intense price fluctuations have somewhat dampened bitcoin’s prospects in recent months.

Despite this, we are likely to see banks increasingly looking at offering mainstream crypto services. We have already seen the start of this, with the first major crypto company going public with the debut of Coinbase in April, increased participation from Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs, and the approval of the first U.S. exchange-traded fund linked to bitcoin.

 

Conclusion

We all know how quickly the financial sector changes. If you happen to be reading this just a few months after it was written, several of my points might now be in the mainstream – or they might be completely obsolete.

The fact is that unless an investor possesses superhuman powers, it is impossible to identify, with 100 per cent accuracy, what the next big investment trend is. All we can do is use our experience, insights, and up-to-date sector knowledge to predict what the next big trends are likely to be.

 

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How Crypto Traders Can Avoid Unexpected Expenses

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Have you been dabbling in cryptocurrency in 2021? Are you still relatively new to the world of crypto and feeling your way around? While crypto can prove to be quite lucrative, it can also spark a lot of unexpected expenses if you aren’t careful and don’t use the proper tips. We’ve got four essential ways tips crypto traders can use to avoid unexpected expenses moving forward, making sure your experience with crypto is as positive as possible.

 

Make Sure You’re Working with a Strategy

When you get into cryptocurrency, it’s wise to look at it as you would any other type of investment. This means you have a plan and a goal of what you want to achieve. You also need to ask yourself how much of a risk you are willing to take. The answer will be different for each person, so don’t feel pressured to keep up with others. In general, cryptocurrency trading is seen as a high-risk activity, so you need to accept that going into it.

 

Diversification Can Help Limit Expenses

Any financial investment expert will tell you that diversification is an excellent way to balance your options and hopefully prevent any massive losses – or unexpected expenses. You can use this approach with cryptocurrency and make sure you’re diversifying.

 

Understand the Tax Laws and How They Apply to Crypto Investments

Did you know that you may be subject to paying taxes on your crypto assets? It’s something that isn’t always discussed, nor do all investors realise that this is the case. Cryptocurrency tax UK can be confusing and not something you want to glaze over.

Because you may face some crypto tax issues, it’s worth it to work with a company like Hodge Bakshi, which is a group of chartered tax advisors and chartered accountants. They are well versed in how individuals are taxed, what the code says, asset pools, capital gains tax and more. They can guide you through the process so there is no chance of an unpleasant surprise.

 

Keep An Eye Open for Cryptocurrency Scams

Unfortunately, scams are now popping up all over the place and if you get caught up in one, it can end up costing you money. There are business and investment cryptocurrency scams to be on the watch for. A popular one is where you are told to get others involved, like a rewards programme. So, the more people you manage to recruit into the programme, the more money you will make. This should be a huge red flag; you don’t want to get involved in any of these.

Another popular scam is the promise to convert your bitcoin to cash, which can result in you losing your money. Remember the saying – if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. In other words, be sceptical and don’t get pulled into anything.

While it’s impossible to anticipate every possible scenario, these tips can help you to avoid unexpected expenses or at least limit their negative effects.

 

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