Five things for securities services to be thankful for

On Thanksgiving, Virginie O’Shea, founder of Firebrand Research gives us five things that we should all be thankful for in securities services.

And lo we come to the part of the year where our American friends disappear out of the office to meet with friends and family, consume large quantities of pie and celebrate something most of us in the rest of the world don’t quite understand…but holidays are fun, so carry on! One of my previous colleagues used to send around a lovely message every year around this time about the things he was thankful for and in that tradition, but in my own style, here are five things that we should all be thankful for in securities services.

Number one: We’ve weathered a pandemic and adapted our ways of working

The lockdown hokey cokey might have been a bit of a grind, but we got through it as an industry relatively unscathed. We’re now fully immersed in the tools that were so alien to us two years ago. We can glide from Zoom calls to Teams calls to in-person catch-ups with the ease and grace of a back-office ballerina. Improved communications have also been a positive development by levelling the playing field for global teams to some extent. Whether you’re based in Bali or Ballymore, it’s all the same on a Zoom call, provided your kids aren’t off school and streaming Netflix in the background that is.

Number two: Some of our relatives might now have more of a clue what we do for a living

For maybe the first time ever, the international news was filled with discussions about post-trade earlier this year. Friends and family members finally asked us questions about how all this plumbing stuff works. Yes, some of them may have forgotten it already, but we got our 15 minutes of fame and that has granted us benefits that I’ll get to in a second…

Number three: There’s light at the end of the socialising tunnel

Different communities across the globe are at different stages, but with the vaccination rollouts at full steam ahead, most of us have managed to get out and about over recent months. Client meetings, conferences and social gatherings have recommenced in many of the major cities. We’re slowly getting used to being in person and seeing people below the shoulders, but it’s great to reconnect with the real world!

Number four: Regulatory and market structure projects will likely grant us more budget

On a more serious note, and coming back to what I mentioned earlier, the industry attention granted to post-trade practices has meant regulators are considering the modernisation of our settlement practices. Now, some regulators in Europe have been slowly contemplating this for a while, but if everyone gets on the same page (or near enough), we could see some real progress over the next few years. And more change usually means more budget to modernise our own legacy architectures before our 1970s mainframe systems fall over due to capacity issues. Wouldn’t it be nice to update those systems so you don’t have to log into a screen that was designed in 1992 every day?

Number five: The industry continues to innovate

Now, everyone might immediately think of crypto custody here and yes, that is an interesting development to study, but it’s far from the only one. The explosion in environmental, social and governance investment and the real innovation in related investment products is also something that is breathing fresh life into the industry. Perhaps, if we play our cards right, it will even attract more talent into the sector and ensure we remain a thriving and resilient segment of the wider capital markets in the future.

See, there’s a lot to be thankful for, you just need to know where to look!