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The impact of COVID-19 on voice trading continuity

It’s arrived in Europe and and now proliferating in Britain. As the true impact of the Covid-19 virus on the global economy continues to unfold, the financial markets have already taken a big hit, as evidenced by tumbling stock markets the world over. Whilst most firms can operate effectively for a while by encouraging home working and ‘social distancing’, voice trading presents a very different challenge. Voice traders and brokers use dealer boards known as a turret, which enable traders to simultaneously communicate with trading counterparties, customers and internally to execute trades. These large devices are just not portable and most existing soft turret offerings are complicated to implement as it is difficult to access or share private lines. A mobile and a home phone just won’t cut the mustard for high volume trading.

 Undoubtedly all financial organisations have robust business continuity and contingency plans in place but given the inflexibility of many of the existing infrastructures, I am not sure how these have been applied to the voice trading world. All financial firms have been talking about cutting costs by adopting modern technologies that enable more flexible or remote working opportunities. But talk is cheap and because of inaction as many are now bogged down with outdated, legacy systems and hardware which are stifling their ability to very quickly adapt the business to weather fast changing or unexpected economic conditions.

 The technology which can help organisations to overcome what could be a prolonged period of disruption to working environments and mass travel is readily available. The modern software turret enables traders to replicate their turret profile customer and client lines and trade as normal from a tablet, laptop or pc using touch or mouse. Longer term this would also provide a very viable business case for expanding user numbers due to portability and significantly lower operating costs. There are many small to medium size trading and broking firms that already find the overall cost of ownership of the existing turret offerings far too high.

I would be very interested to hear what contingency plans companies have in place to overcome these challenging issues. 

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