Digital transformation requires cooperation and collaboration. EquiLend is betting on our ability to make it happen.
Often business leaders are perceived as being either safe pairs of hands or visionaries. To me, it is about trying to do both: future-proofing the business in a way that can lead to industry transformation. It may not sound as exciting as sending a rocket to the moon or creating the iPhone, but making sure we have skilled staff, happy clients and a reliable platform is as important to keeping revenue up as it is to helping us try and reshape the industry in the coming decades. In that sense, I don’t see a distinction between the safe pair of hands and the visionary. To me, future-proofing the business and transforming the industry are one and the same.
I have been part of the securities lending industry for many years now, and it is fair to say that the industry as a whole, technologically speaking, has always been challenged. There have always been inefficiencies. There has been a level of acceptance of trade fails and reconciliation issues and a lack of synchronicity and interconnectivity between systems which EquiLend has always pushed to change.
The mood has changed now, though. Everyone in our corner of the world is laser-focused on digital transformation. A clear indication of this was our invitation to the recent Canadian Securities Lending Association conference, where we were invited to talk about our digital roadmap and look at how the industry will change in 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. The industry has woken up to the fact that digital transformation needs to happen. This is not a grand vision or a nice-to-have.
So, EquiLend is doing something about it. But, if my experience in the industry has taught me anything, it is that industry-wide change cannot be made by one company alone. Data-sharing and collaboration with clients and stakeholders is critical. Our original mission saw us create digital in our sector. The challenge now is greater: to bring about a deliberate evolution which will enable the sector to survive and thrive for years to come. That is why we created the Digital Transformation Working Group (DTWG), which currently includes ten of the world’s largest financial institutions who are tasked with identifying the biggest challenges facing the securities lending industry so that we can build the technology needed to solve them. Think of the strength of the tech in your back pocket, and the brands synonymous with seamless, digital execution. That is our space to occupy within securities finance.
This initiative is called EquiLend 1Source, and it is our answer to the findings of the DTWG: reconciliation and the resulting trade failures are the greatest immediate risks facing this industry right now. We believe that, by harnessing the newest technologies, such as distributed ledger and smart contract technologies, we can create a single source of true data that can change the way trade counterparties interact and transact – effectively eradicating the need for reconciliation. Not making reconciliation easier or more efficient, but totally eradicating it.
And eradicating reconciliation could just be the start. Built in a way that future-proofs our business, that technology can potentially become the platform upon which the next decades of change and innovation occur, and which the industry has needed since I entered it all those years ago. We plan to automate lifecycle events in a DLT environment the way we automated trades on our NGT platform. We want to provide the industry with transformation, stability, and reliability.
One thing I do know is that transformation, though it sounds super dynamic, will not happen overnight. Yet, these are exciting times. I believe that soon we will be able to reimagine how we use and distribute data, how we transact and, ultimately, how we can lean on technology in a way that allows us to better use the skills and talents of people at EquiLend and across the industry. These are without a doubt some of the most exciting times I have experienced. We are not sure exactly what is coming next, but by remaining focused on future-proofing this business, we have opened a world of opportunity for our industry.
Who We Are
EquiLend is a global financial technology, data and analytics firm offering Trading, Post-Trade, Data & Analytics, RegTech and Securities Finance Platform Solutions for the securities finance industry. EquiLend has offices in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Toronto, London, Dublin, India, Hong Kong and Tokyo and is regulated in jurisdictions around the globe.