Sell-side clearing businesses turn to technology to address hiring challenges

27 November 2023

Strategic Workforce Development: Talent and Technology is free to read. To download your copy, click here.

London – 27 November 2023: Sell-side clearing businesses are pursuing technology investment as one of the levers to accelerate business growth as they find it increasingly difficult to hire and retain talent, an ION-partnered Acuiti study reveals.

Strategic Workforce Development: Talent and Technology, released today, is based on a survey of senior clearing executives at 78 firms across the sell-side.

The study found that almost half of respondents, including 76% based in Asia, said attracting younger talent to their derivatives business is significantly challenging.

Executives were most likely to report a talent shortage in their clearing operations business, and in margin management.

The reasons behind the increased challenge are complex and varied by region. However, the most common factors cited by survey respondents were the high-pressure working environment in finance and the greater appeal of other sectors.

The difficulties in developing the next generation of talent in sell-side derivatives operations are forcing firms to increase wages. They are also causing significant concern over succession planning and continuity should key staff leave the business.

In response to the challenges, the study found that firms had sought to improve company culture. In addition, firms are turning to process automation to eliminate manual processes and unlock time for higher-value activities, improving morale and work-life balance to reduce employee attrition.

Almost three-quarters of firms had invested significantly in post-trade technology over the past three years. 83% of respondents said this had improved employee satisfaction, while 66% said it improved the work-life balance.

“This study finds that firms across the sell-side are turning to automation and technology investment to address some of the challenges they face in hiring and retaining talent,” says Will Mitting, managing director and founder of Acuiti.

“This challenge has become more significant over the past 12 months as the operational environment in clearing businesses has improved, resulting in greater demand for talent to grow.

“Automation and technology investment will go a long way to solving the challenges faced, but ultimately, firms must also expand their strategies to hire and retain talent and look to non-traditional avenues.”

Francesco Margini, Chief Product Officer for Cleared Derivatives at ION Markets, said: “At ION, we simplify how people work. We do that by automating processes and workflows, and providing value-added information in real time to help people make better decisions. Our mission-critical solutions provide integrated trading and clearing connectivity to exchanges and clearinghouses around the world, enabling customers to execute, allocate, and clear their business seamlessly with increased operational accuracy. The result is reduced stress and greater efficiency, freeing up time to focus on higher value activities and grow the business.”

About Acuiti

Acuiti is a management intelligence platform designed to provide Senior Industry Professionals in the Derivatives Industry with high-value insight into industry-wide performance and business operations. Acuiti provides a platform through which our exclusive network of Senior Industry Executives can share and source information on day-to-day operational challenges, providing them and their management teams with increased transparency and in-depth analysis to make more informed decisions and benchmark company performance. Financial Institutions benefiting from our services include Banks, Non-bank FCMs, Brokers, Proprietary Trading Firms, Hedge Funds, and Asset Managers.

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About ION Group

ION Group provides mission-critical trading and workflow automation software, high-value analytics and insights, and strategic consulting to financial institutions, central banks, governments, and corporates. Our solutions and services simplify complex processes, boost efficiency, and enable better decision-making. We build long-term partnerships with our clients, helping transform their business for sustained success through continuous innovation. For more information, visit

About ION Markets

ION Markets provides transformative technology and solutions to financial institutions dealing in equities, fixed income, foreign exchange, cleared derivatives and secured funding. Our award-winning end-to-end solutions simplify clients’ operations by automating the full trade lifecycle, providing tools to manage risk, and maximizing access to liquidity, while giving real-time access to critical information required for timely operational decisions and execution on a global scale. For more information, visit