Much of what we could say about Velocity has already been written, so we would refer readers to the awards for Best Mobile App, Editor’s Choice and the Special “Decade” Award to reinforce this section, which will look at the pieces of this superb platform not already covered.
It is hard to know where to start with Velocity, there is hardly a weak link on the platform, and we are keenly awaiting next year and the release of Velocity 3.0 which is likely to raise the competitive stakes once again. We have noted previously that feedback on the algo execution suite is not universally flattering, so there is perhaps something there to consider while the pivot to HTML 5 completes, however the TCA dashboard is a story of excellent performance analysis on both a pre- and post-trade analysis. Otherwise Velocity is a story of rich graphics aligned with robust and innovative functionality.
A perennial winner – this is the fifth year it has been recognised – is the FX options offering, for the cube concept remains very popular with users desperate for screen real estate. The design of the cube means users have a familiar grid concept for their data, but they also have clear and easy to read graphics to speed up the decision-making process. More products have been added in 2019 and the ability to share strategies remains popular, as does the executable trade ideas published by the bank’s FX options desks. The calendar spread pricer and customisations functionality has also been enhanced and the cube redesigned for structured products.
Next up, something else that has established itself as the one to beat for many years, seven to be exact, Citi’s research effort. The Wire remains the original and probably the best of the “news” feeds from bank trading desks, although the field is closing there, while one of the great visualisations of the past few years, the mind maps from the platform, have been adopted by Velocity.com, Citi’s research portal – what was it we were saying about peer recognition?
The FX Overview app remains a triumph, the best out there, with its interactive and intuitive functionality allowing users to go on a journey through markets click by click. The last year has seen quant analytics added to the overview page, the search function enhanced on the Wire and a redesign of the technical analysis offering to give a better consolidated view of the market. As always, drill down for the details is available.
A small, but important, change has also been the addition of the ability to change font size on the FX Overview page – this small attention to detail highlights the approach Citi’s dedicated UX teams take, no aspect is too small to consider for enhancement. Also fully released are the Hoots, alerts of live market commentary delivered by Citi’s analysts – these are available for replay up to an hour after the event.
We have mentioned the bank’s market leadership in terms of thinking about the structure and a manifestation of that comes in the universal adaptor, built initially for FX Connect, which automates client documents, balances and confirmations for example. This is effectively a common FIX spec for pre-trade allocations, execution and post-trade rolls and much more.
Finally of note, we cannot ignore, yet again, Command Centre – if Profit & Loss had a product Hall of Fame this would certainly be a strong contender for the first inauguration. Command Centre has proven itself over and over again and has been enhanced over the years since launch five years ago, and in 2020 the story is no different. With the dispersal of teams everywhere as firms defend against the pandemic, control and oversight has become both more challenging and more important – step forward Command Centre.
Aside from the obvious benefits of it being available on mobile, as we discussed earlier, we think it fair to argue that without Command Centre, Citi would not have seen the surge in trading over mobile that it has. In many way, it has been the key factor in mobile trading’s validation as a concept – the big concern was always, and remains, control. Here at least, that problem is controlled and often solved.
The last year has seen agreement documentation electronified on Command Centre and, interestingly, the addition of Beacon reports. Command Centre monitors trading activity according to a set of rules for both desktop and mobile to help identify and alert oversight to outsized trades, new currency pairs or products traded and new longer tenors traded. The thresholds for reporting are customisable by the client and the reports can be generated according to a schedule or on an ad hoc basis.
The feeling as Citi approaches Velocity 3.0, is that years of heavy technology engineering work and a focus on the user experience is about to pay off. The work schedule for 3.0 is impressive – and heavy. It is fair to say, however, that the building blocks that will be placed upon these new foundations, the product offering, remain one of the best out there. It is hard to see how anyone can go wrong in choosing to use Velocity.
Awards for e-FX Excellence
Real Money Blotter