At the end of 2020, I wrote that in uncertain times we need to stick to fundamentals.
We need to stay the course, keep investing and keep solving our customers’ huge challenge of managing risk in a high frequency electronic trading world.
At that time, we were thinking we had just seen off the year of the Pandemic and things were looking up. It didn’t take long to work out that 2021 was not going to be a bed of roses.
Looking back at 2021 though, I am proud to say that “keep investing and keep doing what we do best,” was exactly what we did and that strategy served us well. We’ve been investing in our people; and we’ve been investing in solving new problems by listening to our customers to learn what new challenges they’ve been facing.
Are you prepared for volatility in 2022?
Aside from sticking to fundamentals, we need to be aware of the circumstances which are rapidly emerging now, which will affect financial markets activity and thus our businesses. Volatility in the markets of course translates to opportunity because it stimulates trading activity. But, as a broker, it is becoming more important than ever to always know exactly where you stand with respect to your risk exposure. This is particularly challenging in times of increased trading activity brought on by increased volatility.
You don’t need to be an economist to understand that inflation and interest rates have started behaving in ways we have not seen for a very long time. Furthermore, there are of course geopolitical events shaping up in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. These and many factors will likely fuel volatility in 2022. So, now is probably the right time to take a look at your current risk solution and consider if it’s time to address any shortcomings.
Responding to new threats
Aside from presenting your risk in real time, one of our most valuable features is rapidly detecting bad actors on trading platforms – aka surveillance. Over the years, based on our experience and input from our customers, we have developed a series of highly valuable Alerts. These Alerts provide notification of threats or opportunities.
The threats and methods used in the market are constantly changing. For many years, our suite of Risk Alerts has been considered the best in the market. These alerts are smart and fast. But, because we believe we cannot rest on being the best, we are constantly asking, “how can we make it better?” and “what else can we do?”
Because of this we source a lot of our threat intelligence from the marketplace and our customers. Nearly 50% of our research and development investment is spent on new Risk Alerts or adaptations to existing ones.
Investing in people and communications
The intelligence above gives us guidance on where to invest in our platform. But, this year in particular, we have been investing in our people. This meant recruiting and training; spending time together; and checking in to see everyone was still ok. This year we invested in lifting our team’s skill in the Kdb programming language from Kx to assure our analysts are at the top of their game and equipped to address our customers’ needs.
Solving the right problems with technology and empathy
As software engineers, we love to solve problems. At Tapaas, solving the toughest technical problems; sharing that knowledge; and celebrating are at the core of our culture.
I’ve spent my entire career amongst software engineers and it gives me the greatest joy to listen when one of our team excitedly explains how they cracked that puzzling problem. Whether it is speeding up a calculation by a few precious milliseconds or finding a new way to identify an arbitrageur, there’s nothing like the feeling once you’ve finally got it and you’re sharing the solution with your mates.
Solving tough technical problems is great. But it’s even better when you are solving the right problem. “So, what is the right problem?” you may ask. We think it’s the problem that has the greatest benefit for the largest number of customers. The people who know that answer best are our customers.
Tapaas Town Hall
As we have grown, we have a lot more customers to keep informed about our new developments and to get their input on what are the most important problems. So, this past year, we decided to try something new and started holding Town Hall Live Stream events.
So much happens in a year that it is hard to choose what to share. We hope this has provided you with some insights and inspirations for the coming year.