BAML Readies Consolidated Trading Platform
After years in development, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Banking & Markets business expects to take its consolidated trading and risk management system, known as Quartz, live on an end-of-day basis in the first quarter of 2018.
Its launch will help the investment banking firm start to sunset hundreds of legacy systems, estimated Thomas Montag, COO of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, during a presentation at The Future of Financials conference hosted by the bank.
Of the approximately 1,100 applications within GBAM, which cost the firm $1.3 billion, Montag estimated that the business line could start to retire around 350 applications in the next couple of years.
“That’s a start for us,” he said. “That enables us to take them out and re-invest that money spent on old stuff and invest in the projects that we want to do, which are quite a few.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch winnowed the number of the application it plans to support by listing each application, how often the firm used it, and by how many people.
“We then quizzed people regarding the list,” said Montag. “What did the application’s name mean? Why are only two people in the firm using it? People new a lot of the applications, but they did not know all of them.”
The Quartz project is not the only consolidation and standardization project that the bank is in the midst of developing.
“You can imagine how many platforms Bank of America has had for loans,” Montag added. “Not just because it has real estate- and asset-backed loans, but blending those with all the banks that it has purchased.”
The bank currently is migrating from seven separate loan platforms to a single platform.
“For all of the reporting that the firm has to do globally, it just makes it easier for us to operate and do data analysis when we have everything in one place,” he said. “Also, we have much more consistency in the data that we are keeping.”
Electronification of the municipal bond market also presents a large opportunity.
The success of Northbound trading showed electronic execution is way forward for the bond market.
Algorithms have become more prevalent in the spot FX market.
Increased electronification has created useable and accessible real-time and historic trade data.
Buy-side firms can discover liquidity more efficiently and execute on Turquoise.