Sebastian Ostler, Centric e-Banking distribution manager at BNP Paribas, explains what clients want from a modern e-FX platform.
Profit & Loss: Thinking about the work you’ve done to improve the client experience over the past year, where are the main areas you’ve made changes to your e-FX platform?
Sebastian Ostler: Centric is the gateway to additional treasury services including our e-FX platform where we’ve worked to improve the services around and beyond the execution as we complement and streamline the corporate treasurers’ and financial institutions’ workflows from start to finish.
We’ve particularly improved the pre- and post-trade services we offer. Instead of clients doing their FX trading electronically and then having to confirm/net/value/report everything manually, they can do everything in a digital one-stop shop.
Specifically, we now offer a view of our trade history, valuations and EMIR reporting in real-time to enrich the client experience. This change has allowed us to move on from the more traditional methods of email, fax and manual processes.
Now they can just click into the app within Centric and see straight away in real time their valuations, so it saves time and eliminates the possible errors associated with manual processes. Likewise, on the EMIR reporting side, instead of having to email or fax documents clients can go straightaway into the app and monitor the progress and status of the trades that we’re reporting on their behalf.
P&L: So is the demand from clients today very much for this full front-to-back service?
SO: Yes, and this very much goes across the whole spectrum of products and client types. We’re moving towards optimising all client workflows and as clients are increasingly asking for electronic offerings, we make their lives easier in terms of pre- and post-trade services, reporting and reconciliation, by providing services around the execution piece.
Everyone can offer prices electronically now, so the difference lies in which other services or tools you can provide to streamline, optimise, and improve a client’s workflow and experience.
In fact, Centric is agnostic with regards to where a client executes in the sense that it doesn’t matter if a corporate or a large institution is using a multidealer platform (MDP) or voice trading, they can still use the services around the execution on our platform to complement what they’re doing on the MDP or phone.
P&L: How important is the ability to create a bespoke experience for your clients?
SO: It’s absolutely key and I think it’s in line with the individual interaction that people already have with the Internet and apps. One size does not fit all in this market and so clients want something that’s tailored more towards their individual needs, so we moved to not only a company tailored solution, but to an individual tailored solution.
That’s why we give clients the ability to tailor the research and market data and all the other information that the bank can provide to them in a much more specific and focused manner.
Rather than dumping a load of information on the client via email, we provide them with the apps and they can select which to use for the services they need.
P&L: Have you seen an evolution in client demands?
SO: Definitely. We’ve seen more and more demands from clients wanting access to information and services on demand at all times. So if they’re travelling or away from their usual place of work, they are now able to access their pre- and post-trade services, as well as monitor their activity by using Centric Mobile.
P&L: When designing an e-FX platform, is there a late mover advantage?
SO: I think there is because of the speed at which technology advances. For example, with our design and use of apps we’re able to add new services very quickly and easily without adding a separate system that then needs to be integrated. So in terms of speed and scalability, it’s definitely an advantage which enhances the client’s experience with BNP Paribas.
P&L: So how does BNP Paribas improve the client experience going forward?
SO: We want to use our platform to build more intimate relationships with our clients.
By this, I mean that we want to be with them everywhere and have the ability to work closer with them by proposing the appropriate subset of services to each user depending on their role and profile. We can also tailor information and services, trading capabilities and the workflow improvements that we can provide, and continue to enrich and enhance additional services.
This brings continued value to our clients as it’s moving away from a “client-pull” approach towards a more modular and scalable push approach, which enhances the client experience and makes our platform a one-stop shop.