12.04.2018
By Shanny Basar

Citi Cutting Legacy Tech

Stuart Riley, global head of technology and operations, Markets and Securities Services at Citi, said new features are added twice a day to products on the bank’s institutional capital markets platform as the firm has dramatically reduced its legacy technology.

Riley spoke on a panel at the Citi EMEA media summit in London today.

He said: “We can introduce new products much more rapidly on Citi Velocity. On average we have two software upgrades per day on the platform which has more than 200 products.”

Citi Velocity is the banks’s institutional platform for trading foreign exchange, rates and credit which clients can also use to access proprietary research and post-trade services. Riley explained that one of the reasons that product upgrades are much faster is because the bank has introduced a new technology infrastructure.

“In the last five years we have dramatically reduced our legacy technology and put new infrastructure in place in Markets and Securities Services,” he added.

However he continued that some legacy technology remains important to the business and some systems do not warrant an upgrade due to the low return on investment.

Stuart Riley, Citi

“Firms need to upgrade to modern technology or they will definitely find it hard to innovate at pace,” said Riley. “Our journey started five  years ago.”

For example, in May this year the bank announced the rollout of key enhancements to Citi Velocity Clarity, which consolidates and analyzes data across multiple Citi custody and fund services capabilities. Clarity is fully integrated with the Citi Velocity platform.

Dan Hadden, ‎fund accounting oversight manager at Old Mutual Global Investors, said in a statement: “As a pilot user of Clarity, we’ve been very pleased with the interactive nature of the platform and the additional flexibility that it has given us to swiftly interrogate and interpret data.”

Microservices

Riley added that some fintechs are focussing on enabling financial services to move from legacy platforms to modern interfaces.

For example, last month genesis, a start-up launched three years ago to build a framework for faster and cheaper software development in capital markets completed a financing round which includes Illuminate Financial Management, a venture capital firm specialising in institutional financial services.

Stephen Murphy. genesis

Stephen Murphy, chief executive of genesis, told Markets Media at the time:  “We launched genesis three years ago as we realised firms need a microservices framework for developing software, rather than the traditional monolithic way of changing whole platforms.”

Murphy explained that microservices breaks the problem into small components of functionality, while ensuring that the data they use is consistent in real-time. He sad the genesis framework allows software to be developed up to 80% faster and cheaper.

Mark Beeston,  managing partner and founder of Illuminate Financial, said in a statement: “Market structure has been evolving to a series of best in class business solutions for some time which increasingly depends on the fast delivery of technology based on a microservices framework. We believe that genesis has created the only fit for purpose foundational layer of microservices.”

Gulru Atak, Citi

Gulru Atak, head of Citi’s innovation lab in Dublin, said on the panel that financial firms need to carefully balance the move from a monolithic platform to microservices.

“Citi processes more than $4 trillion in payments every day and some clients bank with us in 40 to 50 countries so any move from legacy technology needs to be carefully managed,” she said.

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