Survey Finds IT Departments Admit Not Understanding Technology Needs Of Traders

IT departments in financial firms say they are failing to understand the needs of today’s trader, according to a survey examining the relationship between the IT department and the trader, conducted by IPC Systems.  More than half of IT professionals surveyed said their departments did not completely understand traders’ needs.  Furthermore, just 38% of them said they felt they meet the needs of traders or the trading group very well.  Traders surveyed agree with that assessment with 55% saying that IT did not understand their needs completely.

IPC surveyed more than 120 IT professionals and traders during TradeTech in London in March.  Nearly 60% of IT respondents were management-level executives. Traders surveyed represented a wide-range of financial services including asset management, broker/dealers, proprietary trading, exchanges and hedge funds.  Slightly more than half focused primarily on equities trading, but all major asset classes were represented including bonds, commodities, derivatives and foreign exchange.

The admitted lack of understanding exists despite the survey finding that 93% of IT respondents said their groups hold regular meetings with traders to inform them of potential and emerging new technologies. In addition, the issue has not affected traders’ view on the impact of technology: 100% of traders surveyed said technological changes have had a positive impact on trading.

“While traders say they are certainly seeing the benefits of technology, it is worrying that there is a recognised lack of understanding between these two groups,” Simon Jones, Director of Product Marketing at IPC, said. “Such a disconnect can put firms at a disadvantage, something the survey respondents recognize. According to the survey, both groups believe technology is increasingly important to help deliver competitive advantage and minimise risk for trading firms. The call to action for companies in this industry is to create working environments that enable real-time collaboration on solving business problems.”

Other key findings from the IPC survey include:

  • Technology has been a boon to traders…
  • 85% of traders say that technology has increased trading efficiency
  • 87% reporting increased earnings potential as a result of technological changes
  • 88% said technology has increased system reliability
  • But it comes with a price
  • 86% of traders say  they have experienced increased performance expectations
  • 77% report increased job stress levels
  • 82% reporting increases in pace or volume of trades
  • 84% reporting increased dependence on IT support as a result of technological changes

“It’s not surprising that technological improvements are seen by traders as a double-edged sword, and we are increasingly seeing firms looking for ways to address the issues of increased pace and stress bear watching because of the potential to negatively impact  traders’ performance,” IPC’s Simon Jones said.

According to Jones, there has been a growing emphasis on applying technology to help make traders more efficient rather than simply focusing on the trading work flow. “The human element is still a critical part of trading and technology is now being applied to help traders deal more effectively and efficiently with the faster pace and increased volume in today’s trading environment,” Jones said.  “There is tremendous growth in the development of productivity tools and customized applications that streamline the trading workflow and simplify compliance for traders.”

About IPC

IPC offers high- and low-touch trading communications solutions to the global financial trading community including the top investment banks, hedge funds and investment managers in established and emerging markets. With a 100-percent focus on this sector and nearly 40 years of expertise and an unrivalled record of innovation, IPC provides customers with unified solutions that support collaborative voice trading and real-time electronic trading and market data connectivity.  IPC’s offerings include the first unified communications/application platform, award-winning hard and soft turrets, electronic connectivity services including enhanced voice services, business continuity solutions, and follow-the-sun service and support. IPC’s global reach extends to nearly 60 countries – including a financial extranet of 5,000 on-net locations in over 700 cities and more than 115,000 turrets deployed worldwide. Headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, IPC has approximately 1,000 employees located throughout the Americas and the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions.