On this year’s FinovateFall stage, over 70 firms gave a seven-minute demo, of which over 15 firms touted data security tools and some 14 firms boasted data science expertise within banking or capital markets settings. After the JPMorgan and Equifax hacks, it seems that no client data is impregnable and that future data breaches are limited by the appetite of hackers. Financial institutions’ hope for fool-proof data security is as dim as that of consumers retaining ownership of their own digital identity. And yet, some Finovate presenters gave an attentive audience a measure of hope.
Blockchain technology (aka chaintech) applied to capital markets has been lauded as the next big thing in database management and ridiculed as vaporware, depending on who one asks. The “in operation” test, meaning real actors and real assets transacting on a blockchain, is a decade away according to the skeptics. But news out yesterday by Northern Trust and IBM suggests that this far, far away operational milestone for blockchain is, in fact, in the here and now.
With the departure of Forex Capital Markets (FXCM) from the U.S., leadership change, etc., financial reporters far and wide are asking for perspective on these events. Some go as far as probing whether this is the end for the U.S. retail foreign exchange (FX) industry—to which I say, no, it isn’t the death of retail FX in the U.S. since there are still three authorized brokers (Gain Capital, Oanda, and TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim). But why are there merely three viable U.S.
For all their troubles going about alpha generation, algorithmic traders get remarkable little respect these days. Last week while I was attending The Trading Show in New York, a select group of quant-oriented, buy-side participants and fintech enablers debated the limits of traditional computers in financial research and, conversely, of quantum computing’s promise. Many of these investors chase new paradigms for investing.