It is fair to say, we think, that Citi’s Pulse is the ultimate corporate solution, so much so that this is the ninth year in a row it has won a Digital FX Award. As a workflow solution it is par excellence but its real strength lies in the nuances and flexibility around the core platform. A corporate can work across multiple legislations knowing that the platform has been built to take local regulatory nuances into account – that is an efficiency gain that is hard to overstate.
By providing the ability to manage a global business centrally, or regionally, according to rules, with a single sign on is tremendously popular with corporate clients around the world and over the last year, as we noted in our write up for Best FX Platform the bank has increased its use of APIs as well as integrated more closely with customer’s TMS and ERPs. This brings payments, hedging and processing closer together and, as we noted previously, allows earlier hedging of risks.
Overlaid with excellent exposure management tools, including visualisations that allow a treasurer to see easily and quickly where their exposures are, Citi’s Pulse remains the standout in this competitive space.
This award is not given so much for what has been added over the past year, rather it is because Citi’s FX options delivery mechanism remains so unique.
We understand that there are multiple generations of FX options traders and customers who have grown up with one format for pricing trades and that is good – what we are surprised about year after year is that no other bank thinks about the screen real estate the options pricer can take up. Some have provided the ability to re-size the window to show extra information like the details of the Greeks, but generally speaking the options offering at most banks looks very similar – it’s just the colour scheme that sets them apart.
Citi, as we have noted for several years now, has the Cube, which allows users to access all the information on one screen if they wish by “unfolding” the Cube, or they can spin it to see different details. Importantly the pricer has that familiar look pioneered by Fenics all those years ago.
We have already mentioned in this feature about how we feel the future is going to be componentised, if that is right then the Cube would seem to be the ideal options delivery mechanism. It saves screen real estate but provides easy access to all the information a user of options requires. Simple, clever, intuitive.
We have already outlined the strengths of Citi’s research offering – it was a big factor in the bank carrying off our Best FX Platform prize – therefore we want to focus on how the bank differentiates itself.
Put simply, too many research platforms out there look the same – a user is faced with the site editor’s choice of top stories as well as those articles they have subscribed to. All the basic market data is available on the same landing page and there are reams of very worthy research that are, if we are being brutally honest, rarely read in their entirety.
The research business is under pressure and not just because of MiFID II. Customers are demanding more bespoke work when they actually interact with the research team and while trade ideas are useful for some clients, most either will make their own decisions or want to hedge a specific risk.
This means the key is flexibility and this is where the genius lies in the use of mind maps by Citi. Basically, the user can go wherever their imagination takes them thanks to the intuitive design and workflow. Yes, the basics are there on the landing page, but with a mind map a user can start looking at, for example, Brexit and the implications for sterling, but end up with a great trade idea that is only loosely related.
More importantly, not every client is interested in today’s hot news, others have specific interests and again by using a mind map they can start with, for example, their country of interest and end up with hedging ideas using totally different products to those they originally intended.
Several banks talk about “the client journey” on their single-dealer platforms, in the mind maps, Citi delivers not only a journey, but potentially a different route every interaction.