financial markets

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Ensuring seamless tech adoption for financial markets around the world

As more banks and financial institutions leverage cloud services and other technologies to improve their products and services to meet customer demands, having a robust tech ecosystem is key for them.

Over the years, fintech has revolutionized the banking and financial institutions. Today, if a bank or financial institution does not leverage the cloud or any fintech solution, they will simply not be able to compete and remain relevant in the industry, no matter how big a name they represent.

The same can be applied to financial markets as well. As the stock and bond market continues to evolve and expand, the reliance on technology is becoming ever so more important. In fact, in a report by the World Economic Forum, fintech has seized the initiative by defining the direction, shape, and pace of innovation across almost every subsector of financial services and has succeeded as both stand‐alone businesses and crucial parts of financial value chains.

In the Asia Pacific, EY Global Fintech Adoption Index showed the region is leading in fintech adoption globally, with China, India, and other financial hubs seeing skyrocketing adoption. Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea have 67% fintech adoption, while Australia now stands at 58%.

For IPC, a fintech company focused on connectivity, security, and flexible solutions for financial markets, the increased adoption of technology in the financial services industry is exactly what they are prepared to cater to.

With over 7000 customers around the globe, IPC also has a strong presence in Southeast Asia with offices in Singapore and Malaysia. Tech Wire Asia recently caught up with David Brown, IPC’s Chief Commercial Officer to get his views on the industry as well as IPC’s plans for the region.

How has IPC been dealing with the challenges of the pandemic since operating in Malaysia in 2019?

financial markets

David Brown, IPC’s Chief Commercial Officer

It’s been alright actually. We’ve close to triple our staff, so we see Kuala Lumpur very much as a center of excellence for us. Malaysia has got very strong technical skills and it made perfect sense to be a key global location for a shared service center and center of excellence. We’ve grown significantly, in terms of the staff that we have here over those three years and Asia as a region.

Despite the challenges with lockdown Asia is still growing at the fastest rate right now compared to our European and American regions. We see a continued maturation of the financial markets of technology needs as well as the requirements of new geographies, in places like Vietnam, for example. So, there is definitely lots of opportunity in this region.

How is IPC dealing with the competition in the industry, especially with more fintech players in the market?

We’re very specialized in terms of what we do. We have two primary areas of our business. Firstly, the communications platform has evolved from being very much traditional on-premise maintenance to now being fully cloud-based with full SAS capability. And I think that, combined with the sort of tenure, the history and customer relationships we have in this market, as well as the technology differentiation continues to be a key differentiator for us.

On the network side, we have got our large global network infrastructure, which actually originated in the Asia Pacific, many years ago. So, we’ve long had a presence here. For many of the markets here, we continue to be able to get into new and emerging markets and build new opportunities. And again, that kind of regional presence and capability gives us a lot of differentiation.

How are businesses in the region dealing with the changes in the network? Is it very challenging?

It’s a very dynamic market opportunity here. We see the growth of not only the global banks that want to expand their presence to this part of the world but also the domestic banks. For example, with Maybank in Malaysia, and UOB and DBS in Singapore, we see lots of growth coming from them and we’re really helping to facilitate that and enable them to build their businesses over time. We’re constantly looking for new market opportunities and for their growth and their differentiation. Our job is to facilitate that for them.

With the rise of digital banks in Southeast Asia, where does IPC fit in all this?

IPC is very capital markets focused. We tend to be more on the wholesale side of the large global banks. But obviously, any innovation in banking is good. And even the kind of investment in financial technology is good, it shows up as a continued area of investment, excitement, and opportunity.

We want to continue to be part of that as well as we continue to invest in our own products. Digitalization of that infrastructure modernization is a key kind of tenet of our business.

As cloud adoption in the financial industry increases, how does IPC ensure to manage the complexity of the regulatory requirements?

No doubt it’s complex. It not only leads to lots of challenges but also a lot of opportunities. We’ve operated in the financial markets now for close to 50 years. As a company, we’ve been a premier provider of capital markets. It is necessary for us to stay on top of regulations, compliance needs, and requirements for our customers so we can stay ahead of that curve.

There are very different tracks within Europe, the US, and Asia. But it’s very important for us to work in tandem with our customers to make sure we’re ahead of compliance regulations to make sure they adhere to that, so they can continue to operate in a safe environment.

It’s become more challenging because of changes in how people operate now as well, particularly post COVID-19. From a situation three years ago, where everybody was offering their primary training facility, there may have been some BCP, setups and requirements. Now everything’s completely changed. It’s probably the biggest transformation this industry has ever been through. People now are able to work in a hybrid environment or remote environment.

You have to adhere to the same regulations and same compliance requirements in any location. It’s definitely got more complex, but we work very closely with our customers to make sure we can address the changing requirements over time.

In the second part of the interview, Brown discusses how IPC is handling risks and cybersecurity as well as how the company is handling the skills shortage situation.