IPC Systems Stays at Forefront of Trading Innovation 

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As it celebrates its first 50 years as a financial technology pioneer in communications and connectivity technologies, IPC is very much focused on the application of new cloud, data and digital technologies to enhance trading communications and connectivity.

IPC Systems started its journey innovating financial markets communications technology when it rolled out its first trading turret back in 1973; the equivalent of a brick mobile phone, it seems archaic today but was ahead of its time.

“Turret series 1 was a seismic shift and a vast improvement over other voice communication tools in the marketplace,” IPC CEO Bob Santella told Markets Media. “It was a more sophisticated voice tool, with multi-channel intercom capabilities, and better connectivity and audio, and it gained traction very quickly in the marketplace.”

Bob Santella, IPC Systems

With a half-century track record of innovation in connectivity, security and flexible trading solutions, IPC has stayed at the forefront of change and for the benefit of a customer base that represents the full spectrum of financial markets trading participants, sell- and buy-side firms, banks and exchanges.

Santella highlighted two early technology innovations in which IPC was an early mover: session initiation protocol (SIP), a late-1990s innovation for communication over the internet rather than telecom networks, and voice communication via API integrations that facilitated better client connectivity.

“Fast forward to the past decade or so, and Connexus Unigy, our primary communications platform for the trading industry, has moved from an on-premise to a cloud-based configuration,” Santella said. “This is another shift that anticipates market trends; the migration from old analog to digital network technologies is also something IPC has pioneered and championed.”

Trading and investing firms, along with their technology partners, were jarred by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 which suddenly and unexpectedly ‘decentralized’ working environments from trading floors to home offices, an arrangement that lasted for the better part of two years. Today’s ‘new normal’ appears to be a hybrid arrangement – as of May 2023, just 20% of financial services firms demand a full-time in-office work schedule, according to an industry survey.

The global pandemic forced this acceleration of innovation to address challenges of remote work, particularly with respect to enabling institutional-grade trading capabilities from spare bedrooms, while ensuring that business remains compliant with all regulations, notably those covering communications monitoring and trade surveillance.

“It’s not about hardware anymore. Customers want software-first solutions that enable any communications device like phones, tablets, and PCs to support secure and compliant access to trading environments,” Santella said. “IPC enables this today, supporting remote, regulatory compliant trading from any location. Our continuing development of next-generation cloud-based solutions will continue to enhance this proposition.

Another ongoing challenge for market participants – from the largest financial institutions to small wealth advisors – is effective capture and management of torrents of data, in real time and with low latency. Technology providers need to be able to enable such data delivery for a widening range of markets, including digital assets.

“All tradable assets require some sort of market data capability,” Santella said. “Emerging asset classes may require different delivery channels than we see in more mature asset classes. In either case, making sure we respond quickly to evolving market requirements addresses a key pain point for all of our customers.”

Going forward, IPC will continue to prioritize the development of connectivity and communications tools and technologies for more efficient trading and more streamlined compliance workflows for the benefit of its ever-expanding customer base.

“Historically we’ve focused on the sell-side institutional trading market, and we’re now enjoying considerable success expanding our addressable market into adjacent verticals such as buy-side firms, including wealth advisory firms and public and private pension funds,” Santella said. “We will continue to invest in digital technologies and solutions and will be looking closely at other emergent technologies like artificial intelligence and natural language processing. We’re very excited about what the next 50 years will bring in terms of technological evolution.”

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