Making Market Data Instantaneous: Beast Apps Shakes Up Trader Workflow

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With its Monoceros Market Data Platform (MDP), financial data, analytics, trading and risk technology company The Beast Apps expects to change the traditional client sales trader workflow from the way that has operated for decades. Intelligent Trading Technology spoke with Vinayek K. Singh, CEO of The Beast Apps, discussing what is novel about Monoceros (rhymes with rhinoceros), what the technology can be used for, and how its capabilities can be leveraged. The platform is particularly well-suited to address MiFID II compliance, Singh says.

Monoceros updates market data instantly as traders make offers and complete trades, all within Excel spreadsheets on desktop screens or an interface similar to Excel on smartphones, as Singh demonstrated. Duration, convexity, analytics results and other attributes of bid and ask prices are updated as parties to a possible trade change their orders or the prices they accept — on all parties’ screens at once. The Monoceros Excel interface functions like a web browser, sending information into the cloud for processing and bringing it down from the cloud into other parties’ Monoceros screens.

“Our Excel tool leverages the cloud quite extensively,” says Singh. “It is excellent for integrating to external systems and content. Excel is a very user-friendly and self-empowering tool to accomplish that in a cost-effective manner. If a user wants to use Monoceros’ Excel capability to integrate live market data and analytics within its order management system (OMS), most OMS providers have the ability to interact with Excel. We complete the full value chain so the client can run analytics, create scenario analysis and mark-to-market on their portfolio in real-time. Monoceros users can also send live executable orders to various ECNs.”

Just as Monoceros can “externalise” to create enhanced market data content, he adds, it can also “internalise” that content, effectively allowing for multi-party collaboration and sharing of content between units or offices of a firm. “We’re very open and receptive to working in that manner,” says Singh. 

The Monoceros interface also enables sell-side firms to analyse pre-trade information and target clients more effectively, as Singh explains. “We capture all the data and make it available for business intelligence — including system performance, market data updates, and the frequency and duration of clients’ app usage, navigation and keystrokes,” he says.

MiFID II compliance support

Reconfiguring how a traditional client-sales trader workflow is conducted will be necessary for MiFID II compliance. This workflow must be complete and can be integrated with sell-side firms current internal systems, according to Singh. “We’re not recommending anyone throw out what they have, nor would they,” he says. “Institutions have ways of looking at risk and compliance, including know-your-customer modules which they have built internally. Sometimes it’s unique and proprietary to their specific business requirements. We can integrate their various components with our solution.”

When clients make inquiries, Monoceros checks those inquiries to ensure the client is eligible and meets KYC standards, and whether the inquiry is actually about an item that is subject to MiFID II rules, explains Singh. “The sales trader workflow process becomes much better if you can provide as much business information as you can on a user-friendly interface or dashboard. Having information about the client, type of trade, risk limit, capital usage, clearing and reporting all in one place can empower the salesperson and the trader to be more responsive to clients and make better pricing decisions,” he says.

Overall, whether the regulation in question is MiFID II, Basel III or something else instituted in the future, firms need “a flexible architecture framework that lets them adapt to future requirements and not necessarily throw away what they have built in the past,” says Singh. “We have that flexible integration layer in our infrastructure that can use existing components and introduce new components as requirements change.”

Geo-tracking limits

The Beast Apps has also married another capability to Monoceros — geoIP tracking of users’ locations and devices, using a granular permission layer. This allows firms to set parameters for traders’ activity. “The tracking layer, for example, lets us permission a trader to only trade on specific apps on a specific device, only during certain hours and in certain locations,” says Singh. “If the trader happens to be out of the country or out of the office, we can restrict access or limit their ability to trade, in accord with company policies restricting access to trading apps or sensitive material to when they are using a business-approved device at their office or an approved location.”

So, along with Monoceros’ ability to keep trade data up to date, including during a transaction, the platform offers more capability for controlling how trade activity is conducted and evaluating parties to a trade, and proposed trades for regulatory compliance. The platform that Singh and The Beast Apps have developed since the company started in 2013 puts multiple necessary and useful functions together.