One of our most hotly contested awards, FinTech of the Year recognises the pioneers shaking up the way the industry operates, creating new pathways and developing best-in-class, cutting edge technology solutions. This year we’ve got a diverse and eclectic crowd competing for the crown: including an algorithmic book-building platform, a cloud-based OEMS, a low-code app development platform, and more. Read on to discover the candidates for 2022’s FinTech of the Year.
FinTech pioneer Appital, in partnership with the London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) pan-European trading venue, Turquoise, this year launched crucial new bookbuilding technology for the buy-side.
Mutual buy-side users are now able to gain access to liquidity sourced on Appital’s platform and a single point of access for deal execution via the Turquoise venue, with straight-through processing to its network of settlement venues. The Appital platform allows institutional investors to execute large volumes with minimal market impact or risk of price erosion, and to filter the types and sizes of opportunities they are looking for using specific requirements.
It aims to give buy-side firms better exposure to deal flow opportunities by providing heads of trading and portfolio managers a more holistic picture of liquidity and illiquid small and mid-cap stocks.
The platform went live in August, with Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) completing the first trade, and it has proven to be highly popular with the buy-side, with over 30 asset managers signing up prior to launch.
The initiative has also been heavily supported by the industry, recently receiving an additional £1.7 million from Frontline Ventures and several other angel investors earlier this month, taking its total investment to date to £4.85 million.
“[It] gives asset managers the opportunity to be proactive, gain access to deal flow opportunities and encourage liquidity in the market,” explained Paul Squires, head of trading for EMEA equities and Henley fixed interest at Invesco, a buy-side user of Appital, speaking to The TRADE.
Capital Markets Gateway (CMG)
CMG’s platform streamlines workflows and delivers information and analytics in real-time providing users with speed to market and analysis vital to decision making. CMG’s platform offers a simpler way to monitor the capital raising landscape, perform due diligence, make investment decisions and collaborate.
Earlier this year, the FinTech launched its end-to-end equity capital markets (ECM) platform, CMG XC, which digitally connects the buy-side and the sell-side.
The XC platform transforms ECM, CMG said, by providing connected infrastructure across industry participants and streamlining the entire new issue lifecycle – essentially improving the way ECM deals are managed.
Speaking to The TRADE, Greg Ingram, co-founder and CEO of CMG said: “The value of streamlined communication and workflows from a broad range of participants underscores the efficiencies of leveraging a common platform to serve the mutual benefit of both underwriters and institutional investors.
“Underwriters will use XC to publish an offering to potential investors simultaneously, thereby eliminating the inherent inefficiencies of analogue communications, namely redundant emails and a wave of telephone calls.”
Following several trial offerings, the launch enabled connectivity across syndicate banks including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley interacting with asset managers such as Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton and T. Rowe Price Investment Management, amongst others, via the CMG XC network.
Cloud-native software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Enfusion this year launched a pioneering new order and execution management system (OEMS) named Enfusion Express, backed by Cowen.
The new solution is tailored specifically to the needs of smaller fund managers with AUM typically less than $100 million. Enfusion describes the new system as a means for smaller managers with limited recourses, but comprehensive requirements, to access sophisticated pre-trade, execution, and post-trade solutions. In addition, Enfusion Express will help reduce manual processes, improve real-time, portfolio-level visibility, and streamline connectivity to managers’ execution, fund administration, prime brokerage and other partners.
As the size and complexity of these small funds grow, they can easily upgrade to Enfusion’s platform for enhanced OEMS capabilities, full portfolio management and accounting functions, analytics, and outsourced managed services.
“Enfusion Express addresses the operational needs of smaller funds, both newly launched and existing, that remain an underserved but growing segment of the market. Sell-side firms are recognizing and responding to their unique needs, as evidenced by an uptick in solutions like outsourced trading desks. We see an opportunity to provide best-in-class solutions to these managers as they look to scale their firms while deepening our relationships with our ecosystem partners,” said CEO Thomas Kim.
The Genesis low-code application development platform accelerates the software development process for clients across financial services.
Following a $200 million Series C funding round earlier this year, the firm received a further $20 million from investors including Bank of America, BNY Mellon and Citi, which will allow the app developer to expand its operations as interest in its platform continues to grow.
Genesis has been utilised by financial markets companies to accelerate the application development process, allowing for an increase in the pace of technology innovation alongside operating and upgrading complex legacy systems.
“Our clients and environment demand more innovation and productivity in terms of IT output,” said David Trepanier, head of structured products, global credit and special situations at Bank of America. “The low-code solution provided by Genesis accelerates the development process and allow us to more quickly build out and launch new trading protocols and processes.”
Financial services firms have made digital transformation a priority as they seek to differentiate themselves, reduce the cost and complexity of existing systems, innovate and to adapt better to changing regulation, and Genesis is being used by firms across the software value chain to automate spreadsheet processes, enhance existing systems, replace legacy technology and to develop new, more robust, first-time applications.
“Our investment in and collaboration with Genesis allows us to create applications and solutions faster to meet the increasing demands of our clients,” said Avi Shua, CIO, head of investment management, wealth management and pershing technology at BNY Mellon. “The ability to develop, customise and integrate applications with speed is critical, and provides our developers a toolset to make robust and flexible platforms that can scale.
London-based margin optimisation FinTech OpenGamma helps asset managers to increase the efficiency of portfolios through collateral management.
In February this year Allianz X, the digital investments unit of the investment manager, and its subsidiary PIMCO, led a $21 million funding round for the firm, the proceeds of which were used to expand its existing offering, including the launch of automated workflow solutions for the treasury management of asset managers.
“OpenGamma’s solutions are a small revolution for many investors and asset managers,” said Kevin Harder, manager at Allianz X. “Thanks to OpenGamma, collateral management is no longer a back-office issue but instead becomes an active performance driver.”
The additional funding follows several partnerships with OpenGamma in the last few years with the buy-side and other analytics providers. Most recent was its partnership with hedge fund Aspect Capital in March 2021, which saw the systematic investment manager increase its use of OpenGamma’s margin analytics across the markets it trades, building on an existing relationship since 2018.
Saphyre has been making waves this year with its interoperable AI technology that helps firms to digitise, structure and maintain memory of shared data and documents in pre-trade. This allows firms to assess risk faster, as well as speeding up the onboarding process by eliminating inefficiencies in the booking, confirmation, and settlement process.
Saphyre claims it allows firms not only to assess risk faster and more clearly, but also speed up their onboarding processes and eliminate 70-75% of redundant or inefficient post-trade activities.
Since its launch in 2017, the firm has received 104 issued patents and has been integrated with seven different platforms as part of its interoperability design.
In March 2022, JP Morgan and BNP Paribas backed the firm in a Series A round of $18.7 million, which the FinTech is using to accelerate its product development initiatives in both its pre- and post-trade offerings, as well as to support its ongoing expansion of interoperability initiatives with a number of other FinTech/vendor solutions in the industry.
The winner of Best Challenger Exchange will be announced at the Leaders in Trading 2022 gala awards dinner at The Savoy Hotel on 2 November.