Elevate your FX business

October 13, 2021

The relevance of digital transformation


The FX and cross-border market is rapidly evolving with new digital business models and participants. The accompanying market infrastructure is being transformed, with a strong emphasis on technology upgrades, converging rapidly towards real-time payments.

The advent of the digital and data-driven economy has placed increasing pressure on FX market participants. Firms must evaluate and design strategies to meet market realities and maintain competitive advantage. Advancements in technology make it imperative for organizations to pave the way for digital products and services, and elevate their FX business.

Embrace change

Digital transformation represents an overarching strategy that uses digital paradigms to create innovative business models, products, and services. This implies embracing technologies from interactive web/mobile applications and APIs to real-time processing, cloud solutions, and data analytics. In this transition, technology plays a strategic role to create and deliver value.

A transformative strategy fundamentally requires two concrete areas of focus:
Customer centricity: Customers expect digital interactions, differentiated services, and service continuity across business lines and channels.
Modernize the core: The core business and operating model must be reconsidered in light of digital avenues and suitable technologies must be put in place to provide an automated, real-time, and analytics rich back-end.
While the omnichannel customer experience paradigm is well recognized and often associated with all the accolades, this can only be made possible through the modernization of core systems and applications.

Modernize the core

A modular and integrated approach is called for, not only to provide comprehensive transaction lifecycle automation but to create new and innovative solutions over time. A revamped core can provide transformative results along the following dimensions:
• Deliver innovative and intuitive customer self-service channels.
• Provide a secure and unified core with real-time data and flexible interoperability across applications.
• Achieve a componentized and modular solution that allows for business agility and growth while reducing operational risk.

Customer expectations

Customers expect smooth interactions, regardless of where they are and when a service is needed. These demands require institutions to provide always “online” omnichannel capabilities that “need to work” and preferably with the added sophistication of personalization and predictive capabilities to keep the customer engaged.

Modern web front-end technologies can be rendered across form factors with responsive design. Native mobile application technology has matured, delivering an engaging customer experience without the need for platform-specific versions. Rich client-side functionality can instantaneously drive payment validations and provide context-sensitive navigational guidance to the end-users, significantly alleviating user error and boosting STP rates.

Real-time data

The payments industry is being transformed. SWIFT initiatives around SWIFT gpi and ISO 20022, inclusive of partnerships with local market infrastructures for real-time cross-border settlement and finality, is a case in point. The industry has also seen various non-SWIFT-based channels through FinTech providers coming to the fore. These initiatives allow different customer pain points such as speed, visibility, and cost to be alleviated. However, real-time payments increase the pressure on intra-day liquidity management and reconciliation.

Firms must invest in modern infrastructure that can seamlessly interoperate and provide real-time data back to the customer. The value of real-time data and processing cannot be overstated and are critical for both customer experience and risk management.

Harness data

A modern core facilitates a unified data architecture, allowing for accurate aggregation and dissemination of data. Advancements in data aggregation and visualization, coupled with analytics and machine learning, make data a key asset that must be harnessed.

Sophisticated insights into customer trading behavior trends and profitability can be derived along various dimensions. These metrics can be represented back to customers to drive new business and provide rich insights to strengthen the sales relationship.

There has been increased emphasis on liquidity aggregation and the need for real-time insight into various trading metrics on the trading desk. These metrics include volumes across venues, fill ratios, price variations, and determining market impact. Real-time dashboards can provide visual representations of data across customer channels and execution venues, allowing users to obtain the desired insights.


Traditional integration and automation approaches are fairly well known. Notwithstanding, firms must now embrace standards-based Open APIs to drive efficient collaboration and innovation across market participants. Evolution towards a microservices architecture with loosely coupled services is increasingly being adopted as an approach to minimize disruption, mitigate risk, and accelerate time to market.

Desktop application interoperability is a relatively new paradigm, providing user interface choreography across both same-party and third-party applications on the user’s desktop. Desktop screens can share both window management events and contextual data across disparate applications from different providers. This then results in optimal usage of the available screen real estate and significantly enhances productivity.


An essential facet of digital transformation is to put the customer at the center and reimagine the customer’s journey in a digital environment. This implies innovation around new products and services and co-creating value through constant engagement with customers.

Organizations are at various points on the digital transformation journey. Several patterns of adoption have emerged, ranging from targeted extensions and insulating legacy applications to large-scale transformations. However, a “wait and see” approach is no longer an option. Firms must instead accelerate transformation and to this end, carefully chosen and collaborative value-driven partnerships are increasingly being adopted.

Continuous innovation must be embedded into the fabric of how a firm operates in the digital economy. The core systems and solutions must be flexible and agile to accommodate a future that continues to evolve. The resulting business agility allows for aptly tackling the constant and competing pressures from customers, regulators, and shareholders alike.

ION Markets

To learn how our solutions can facilitate digital transformation, contact us today.