Many financial services firms use spreadsheets to build bespoke models and run scenarios, resulting in a large collection of disconnected datasets, manual processes, and inconsistent results. While spreadsheets appear to be quick and easy, the resulting overhead is inefficient and eventually becomes unsustainable.

As investment banks and other financial institutions look to improve their client responsiveness and adaptability to market changes, many are looking for a better alternative to spreadsheets and finding it with Beacon Platform. Common requirements that these organizations identify are:

  • Rapid development and deployment of analytics and reporting applications
  • Integration with existing data, tools, and infrastructure
  • Scalability for complex computations and sudden changes in market volume or volatility

Rapid development and deployment

Developing in spreadsheets can be quick, but it lacks the power and robustness of professional development tools. Beacon Platform includes an integrated development environment with full support for modern DevOps processes. Developers and quant analysts can collaborate during development to quickly build, test, refine, and deploy new and updated algorithms and applications. With Beacon’s Glint web application framework, the quant team can quickly create tailored web-based applications for risk and reconciliation reporting, and use the same platform to deploy valuable tools to the trading desk, such as incremental value-at-risk and P&L attribution.

Beacon’s Front Office Suite provides a comprehensive asset trading and risk management system, including a broad set of financial models and data analytics, so the development team can spend their time on higher value-added models analytics. Beacon’s base functionality, including Plot Tool for easy data visualization, Quote Tool for what-if analysis, and Risk Reports for real-time dashboards, allows the developers to focus on projects that directly impact the bank’s, and their clients’, competitive advantage. Turnaround time for new functionality is now measured in days, compared to weeks or months before using Beacon.

Integration with existing systems

Since all of Beacon’s source code is licensed to clients, adding in-house libraries, proprietary pricing models, and custom analytics gives everyone a thorough view of available functionality and clear ownership of proprietary additions. A broad set of market information and standard datasets is also included with Beacon. Plug and play data integration enables the team to quickly ingest and utilize both internal and external data sources, as needed for their applications. Once new data feeds and connectors are added, they are readily available to other authorized applications and developers, improving consistency throughout the organization. Cloud-based data marketplaces are making even more data available and automating many of the steps involved in consuming it, opening up new opportunities and areas for innovation.

Scalability for complex computations

In financial services, there are many different needs for large or complex computations, from evaluating new models and risk assessments to periods of high volatility. Instead of waiting for evening or weekend capacity from internal systems, with Beacon’s elastic cloud-compute infrastructure teams can immediately spin up additional cores as needed and run scenario analysis on demand. Results are available quickly and at a reasonable cost. For example, one client wanted to run a simulation of 200,000 interest rate swaps with monthly time steps out to 30 years requiring more than 50 billion calculations and generating 400 GB of data. Spinning up and securely integrating 10,000 processors with the database took 5 minutes, and the whole process took just 45 minutes, after which the processors were released. The total cost of this pay-as-you-go cloud calculation was just $72.

Results

Working with Beacon to implement an enterprise-quality cloud computing and development platform has improved operational efficiency and client services at many different types of financial firms. A common platform for data, analytics, and applications encourages greater collaboration within and across teams, enabling better reuse of resources and intellectual capital. The combination of cloud-based platform and integrated developer tools accelerates the delivery of tailored applications to both clients and internal teams, enhancing their competitiveness. With Beacon Front Office providing a comprehensive asset trading and risk management system, including a broad set of financial models and data analytics, development teams can spend more time on higher value-added models analytics. Beacon is bringing the revolutionary productivity and innovative capabilities of cloud computing to the financial industry, built by a team that created trading and risk platforms for some of the world’s largest banks.