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Building for Success

How modular technology can transform counterparty connectivity and onboarding for the Sell Side.

Falling commissions, increasing competition, growing demand for multi-asset trading, a host of planned regulatory changes – these are just a few of the pressures facing the sell side today. To thrive in this high-pressure environment, firms must explore every possible edge, whether on economics, workflows or client service.

While these efforts can take many forms, counterparty connectivity stands out as a logical area of focus. Sell-side firms derive little to no value from maintaining these functions (physical hardware, FIX engines, onboarding and testing tools) in-house – there’s only so much secret sauce they can add. Outsourcing these foundational elements to a third-party provider, with the right expertise and technical capabilities, can lead to economies of scale, enabling brokers to focus more on value-adding work.

Enter Broadridge’s Connectivity, Onboarding and Monitoring Service (COMS), a comprehensive connectivity ecosystem built to fuel greater efficiency and superior client service for the modern broker-dealer. COMS is a fully hosted solution offering a powerful normalization layer, extensive monitoring capabilities and strong integration with the NYFIX network, reducing tedium and cost for clients – but the efficiencies go beyond that. As the most customizable and configurable solution on the market, COMS can help sell-side firms deliver better experiences for their counterparties, remain adaptable in the face of change and meet any business or technology challenge head-on.

Just about every one of those benefits stems from our modular software architecture. This innovative approach enables firms to work with us however they wish and use our products to define their own unique experience and offerings. How? We’re glad you asked.

Move to Modularity

The concept of modularity is simple, yet profound. By building our systems as independent, loosely coupled components, we give our clients an incredible level of freedom to engage with and fine-tune our tools however they see fit.

This contrasts sharply with monolithic systems, which have historically been far more common in the trading and connectivity space. These systems amount to an all-or-nothing proposition – clients must install the entire solution, even if they’re searching for just one piece of functionality, saddling them with an expensive platform they do not need. Furthermore, with monolithic systems, changes to just one element often require a wholesale update of the entire platform, putting severe limitations on configurability and adaptability.

The modular COMS turns this model on its head. While many providers offer these tools and services only as part of a larger OMS, our componentized model enables us to offer them standalone. That means sell-side firms that are generally happy with their current systems but want to level up specifically on connectivity, onboarding and monitoring have full freedom to do so. Ditto for firms that want to free themselves from the burden of managing their own connectivity infrastructure but aren’t ready for a larger digital transformation just yet.

The benefits of this modularity cut both ways. Not only are we able to offer COMS as part of our overall Broadridge OMS product – we can also deliver it alongside a vast array of other products, from post-trade matching to data management controls, compliance tools and beyond. Broadridge is a global fintech leader with a 30-year track record and a wealth of domain expertise within our walls, putting us in a unique position to offer integrated solutions capable of transforming sell-side businesses from front to back. And of course, many of our clients leverage COMS in a way that falls between these two models – not as a standalone product, but not as part of a true end-to-end solution set either. We have the flexibility to support all these configurations, deploying our products alongside virtually any combination of proprietary or third-party systems.

The result is that sell-side firms gain a full slate of options for optimizing their approach to these critical functions. Whether it’s outsourcing commoditized infrastructure management tasks or achieving full-on digital transformation in one fell swoop, we put agency broker-dealers on a fast track to reducing the cost of connectivity.

But that’s just the beginning of the story. The modular flexibility of COMS also means clients can transform their workflows, remain adaptable and get better results for clients.

Business Benefits

Beyond achieving more favorable commercial arrangements, many of the benefits of COMS come down to clients gaining more self-service capabilities. With monolithic systems, the vendor’s client service team must function as the middleman for virtually any modification to the platform – a process that can result in even routine changes taking weeks or months. Modular systems empower clients to move faster and with more control, fueling myriad efficiencies.

For example, firms have the full freedom to modify any FIX connection at any time, helping them to onboard clients faster and make changes to reflect their goals and preferences. This flexibility is even more powerful when paired with transparency. In addition to freely modifying routing rules, COMS clients can view all previous setups for each connection, assess the impact of changes, revert to past states and more. That means their ability to deliver for counterparties and meet their precise specifications is greatly enhanced.

The benefits of modularity – greater efficiency, adaptability and responsiveness to change – drive results across the entire COMS solution. Here are just a few of the other ways it empowers sell-side firms to take their business to the next level:

  • Unprecedented intelligence on clients and orders, from individual FIX messages to an aggregated data layer
  • Advanced order routing capabilities utilizing the full power of the NYFIX Network, representing a 21% market share globally
  • Vendor-agnostic FIX messaging capabilities, with a robust normalization layer able to support any connection or counterparty
  • Tools to manage the full client onboarding process, including message validation, enrichment, transformation and conformance testing

And that’s just the beginning. With the right functionality built on the right architecture, firms maintain the flexibility to address any future challenge – even those have yet to cause so much as a blip on the radar screen. Whether it’s unforeseen market dynamics, strategic pivots from counterparties or future regulation, COMS equips broker dealers with the tools for success. It all starts with how they’re built.

Interested in learning more about how COMS can transform your business? Drop us a line.

Let’s talk about what’s next for you

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+1 800 353 0103 North America
+442075513000 EMEA
+65 6438 1144 APAC