Financial services need to adopt flexible working models to maintain a competitive advantage

To remain competitive, investment firms are letting their employees work from anywhere. But the industry needs to overcome some unique barriers first.

The pandemic has fundamentally accelerated the pace of digital transformation across all walks of life. The same applies to financial services, an industry that is uniquely dependent on talent. Demand for greater work-life balance and well-being is driving increased demand for flexibility in the form of work-from-home or hybrid options. This is seeing many investment firms, from large quant and hedge funds to growing family offices, let employees work from anywhere.

Such an arrangement is also critical if they are to retain an edge over their competition. Work-from-home and hybrid structures may be better placed to deal with the incoming data explosion that is becoming the basis of all investment decision-making. From photographing supermarket car parks to judge shopping numbers to analysing crop fields in Asia to assess likely crop yields, alternative data sets are becoming the basis for outperformance for fund managers – information that cannot easily be sourced by sitting behind a desk. Similar data needs are also becoming the basis of managing  Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) instruments and products, especially as regulators require the financial community to monitor and report on the ESG performance of digital assets.

But compared with other industries, financial services face unique barriers: resiliency, redundancy and security are critical considerations. Further, trading strategies for different asset classes including equities, currencies and commodities require connections to multiple trading platforms and stock exchanges where latencies can vary considerably.

Speed matters. While technology is increasingly nullifying the impact of geography and distance, a lack of non-dedicated end-to-end control could be the difference between underperformance and competitiveness. Having the right partner makes all the difference in being able to offer the best talent the freedom and flexibility they crave.

Colt has long operated a private and secured wired network trusted by many capital market participants and central banks. It has long navigated complex market structures, changing regulatory structures and market fragmentation to connect customers to an increasing number of interdependent exchanges and liquidity pools with superior time-to-market and network performance.

The Colt IQ Network for financial markets provides fast and secure connectivity to more than 80 financial exchanges on four continents. Its network of over 50 unique low-latency routes, including ultra-low-latency routes connecting Europe and Asia, ensures financial firms can reach anywhere they want to do business. As an end-to-end solution provider, Colt offers all components for a smooth and fast deployment of vital trading infrastructure, even as far as last-mile FTTX connectivity, vital for work-from-home arrangements.

In Asia, Colt invested heavily in expanding its ultra-low latency routes, recently realising the fastest connectivity in the market between the Singapore and Australian exchanges of less than 87ms. In November, Lumen Technologies and Colt announced they have entered into an exclusive arrangement for the proposed sale of Lumen’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business to Colt for $1.8 billion.

It is critical that investment managers plan for managing a massive increase in data, ensuring that their infrastructure can cope for at least the next five years and making sure that no matter the size of their organisation, it is on a level playing field when it comes to time-to-market and the latency of data sets. Colt’s Market Data Monitoring System –  the latest addition to its industry-leading Capital Markets portfolio – sits in data centres next to the exchange and provides real-time content-aware monitoring and alerting. It flags up market data issues based on predefined conditions and provides end-to-end visibility from source to destination.  

Whether with modular stand-alone services or with fully integrated end-to-end solutions, Colt is ready to make every form of digital transformation and working model a reality.

For more information about Colt’s capital market solutions, please visit