Highlights from Asia Pacific Trading Summit

The Asia Pacific Trading Summit, the largest one-day electronic trading event in the region, was held on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Delegates attended in person and via live streaming.

This one-day, electronic event convened more than 700 key personnel of the institutional trading industry to provide thought-provoking, forward focused insights through an interactive programme.

One featured panel was “Is COVID-19 Leading to a Paradigm Shift on the Trading Desk and Trading Operation?”

Panelists were Tristan Baldwin, Head of APAC Equities, Liquidnet; Stephane Loiseau, Managing Director, Head of Prime Sales & Execution – Asia Pacific, Equities, Derivatives & Prime Services, Societe Generale – Global Markets; Raj Mathur, Co-Head, Advanced Execution Services (AES), APAC, Credit Suisse; and Francis So, Co-Chair, Asia Pacific Steering Committee, FIX Trading Community, and Head of Trading Asia Pacific, BNP Paribas Asset Management. The moderator was Benny Yip, Co-Chair, Asia Pacific Exchanges and Regulatory Subcommittee, FIX Trading Community, and Vice President, Global Client Development, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.

Panelists discussed aspects of the new normal under COVID:

  • Despite the increase in electronic trading, the importance of both high touch and low touch became more apparent.
  • Changes brought by the new technology and flexible working conditions which speakers believe are here to stay.
  • Talent retention: flexible work environment is expected to result in both talent retention as well as increased diversity in the trading space.
  • Time savings brought by reduction on travel open up opportunities to address other trading issues such as analyzing trades, TCA, tackling issues that were not a primary focus prior.
  • Challenges that still to be addressed: Compliance and supervisory framework post pandemic; adjustments made in policies and procedures as well as technology in split teams; adjustments to new regulatory requirements.

How to keep team cohesive in BCP mode?

  • Focus on processes
  • It’s easier for established teams; new teams were more difficult to manage.
  • Rotation of groups to achieve the necessary coverage and flexibility at the same time.
  • Fine line between work and family life.

Silver linings of COVID:

  • Improved technology
  • Time saving, less travel is an eye opener. More attention focus as a result. Seeing clients is just as personal as seeing people in person. Potentially better than travel.
  • Lot more time spent on TCA, analyzing trades, things tackled that were never addressed before due to lack of time. Easier to get people in the “room”.
  • Talent retention: flexible work-life should be helpful. Specifically, in Asia where it is not typical to work from home.

What do you foresee as the new normal?

  • More flexible hours, working from home, do not foresee this going away; increasing the use of technology
  • New skillsets needed going forward, opening to new talent, diversity of available talent opening up new possibilities

What challenges have yet to be sorted out?

  • Supervisory framework post pandemic. Adjustments made in policies and procedures as well as technology in split teams.
  • Compliance side is huge
  • Adjustments to regulatory requirements

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