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Zen Resolutions for Compliance Management on the Trading Floor

Posted 16/02/16

It is customary at the start of each New Year to make resolutions with good intentions to see them through the upcoming twelve months. Personal resolutions typically include getting fit, eating healthier, balancing work and life, being charitable to those less fortunate.  Business resolutions often revolve around getting organized, spending more time with customers, being more collaborative.  In 2016, with compliance management still at the forefront of the global financial industry’s business challenges, it is a good time to reassess the resolutions for the current year, and add some Zen to maintain focus and sanity!


First, let’s look at the regulatory landscape.


MIFID II – While the intent of MIFID II is to bring about fairness and transparency throughout the EU, it will be an additional overhead to financial firms, many of whose resources are already stretched thin.

2016 is the year to prepare as the new regulations take effect in January 2017, and this includes strengthening compliance with more robust monitoring and governance.


Dodd-Frank – Six years after the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act was put into legislation, it is unknown what changes will transpire in 2016 as it is a headline on the political agenda for the presidential election.  There is a broad swing of outcomes, from relaxing the current Act to further tightening of Wall Street reform.  What is commonly known is the fines banks have paid since 2010 exceed $200 billion. 2016 is the year to put systems in place to ward off future liabilities.


Now, let’s put some Zen into the resolutions.


If Zen thinking suggests the universe presents a problem to be solved, replacing “universe” with “compliance” allows us to apply the same logic to the quandary facing financial companies today, namely how to grow the business and eliminate the risk simultaneously.   Here are a few suggested Zen resolutions for 2016 to keep your trading floor a market leader today and an innovator for the future.



Zen Resolution 1: Embrace the Hermit and the Warrior


Become one with Legal and Compliance. They are the “hermits” who possess the clarity around the regulations and related governance requirements, are impartial in their thoughts and have a keen understanding of what needs to happen to keep your firm out of trouble.  IT is the “warrior” who needs to act quickly, often without hesitating, to rectify problems that could lead to loss of profits and ultimately to loss of investor and customer confidence.  Make a resolution to work more closely together to understand the requirements and challenges in executing a unified plan to implement automated tools supporting the workflows necessary to meet regulatory guidelines efficiently.


Zen Resolution 2: Do One Thing at a time, and Do it Really Well


Welcome automation, it is an enabler to comprehensive testing you’d otherwise need an army to carry out.  A dedicated army, not one who is multi-tasking trader issues, technology faults and compliance reporting.  Automation will augment what you perform today, albeit with speed and accuracy beyond that of support staff.  It doesn’t eliminate or marginalize your staff, instead it enables you to offer a higher value of service while optimizing costs.


Zen Resolution 3: Replace Linear Thinking Routines with More Creative Approaches


Manage change wisely, because it is indeed the only constant.  Regulatory regimes will change and evolve.  Your reporting requirements will change and evolve.  Timeframes for supplying empirical evidence of compliance will change and evolve.  Your company’s business model will change and evolve.  So, be prepared.  Rather than relying on yesterday’s thought process to solve tomorrow’s challenges, implement more out-of-the-box approaches to problem solving.  Ensure your tools and suppliers are agile enough to support this dynamic environment.  If they are not, it could be a costly lesson. If they are, make them strategic partners.


Zen Resolution 4:  Simplify and Streamline


Reduce complexity in the environment, whether structural, procedural or technological.  Complexity eventually results in higher costs, so the sooner you identify problem areas and implement solutions to simplify, the more likely you are to increase profitability.  Streamlined processes help protect the business today and support future alteration efficiently.


Zen Resolution 5: Practice the Law of Attraction


Visualize the outcome you want to achieve.  You can ramp up your Zen-ness every day by maintaining and communicating a clear vision of how the trading environment should operate within the parameters of the new compliance mandates.  Specify the automation solutions needed to support the reporting requirements.  Be open to new ideas from colleagues and partners.  Focus on the priorities and execute your plan through completion.


By introducing some Zen “resolutions” wisely, the IT team responsible for the overall performance of trading operations and compliance management can attain an environment that flows smoothly whilst reducing business risks associated with reputational damage and financial penalties.   And when things get stressful as they invariably will, take a deep breath or two and lighten up.  Remember, Buddha is always smiling!


Written by Marianne Leitch, Nxtera Ltd.

For more information about Nxtera compliance solutions, click here, or visit our web site at

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