The deeper you dive, the murkier the water gets. For even seasoned divers, it can be hard to see what is going on, much less understand why.
There are similarities between the ocean world and today’s machine world, in which autonomous, artificially-intelligent software programmes operate deep below the surface and process billions of instructions per second. These machines make many decisions that float to the surface with a ripple effect on customer experience, transaction performance, and other critical business operations.
When something goes wrong, it’s difficult to discern what is happening in the depths of the network where data streaks by at speeds of light over fibre optic cable. When things are going right, it’s difficult to understand how to further optimize and differentiate competitively. You need an expert to point, guide, and explain.
For financial markets companies, Corvil is that definitive knowledge source. The Dublin-headquartered analytics firm is now the global industry leader for capturing valuable intelligence from the endless flow of network data, allowing companies to improve the transparency, performance and business outcomes of trading infrastructure, algorithmic trading strategies, and counterparty interactions.
“The majority of all trading activity today is not just electronic, but autonomously executed by algorithms,” says David Murray, Corvil’s Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. “Completing those transactions successfully relies on the underlying technology applications and infrastructure, which are intrinsically intertwined with the business. To assure and optimize trading performance, it is necessary to understand how those systems are performing in support of the business.
“As systems become more complex, problems tend to be more severe and impact business functions and customers more quickly,” he says. “This can pose significant issues and expose organizations to major regulatory, investment, franchise, and operational risks.”
Corvil gives customers a clear picture of what is happening in the depths of their electronic financial markets businesses
To help customers gain the transparency and intelligence needed to assure and optimize electronic trading businesses, Corvil offers a technology that connects to a company network through which data flows. Corvil’s streaming analytics platform captures, precision timestamps (to nanoseconds), decodes, and learns from network data on the fly, transforming it into insight that gives the customer a clear picture of what is happening, and what to do about it.
“Broadly, there are three views our customers are looking to examine,” says Murray. “The customer experience, the business transaction performance, and the underlying technology performance. We can correlate those three dimensions and give our customers business-aligned insight that they can then use to improve their trading execution for their clients or stakeholders.”
The financial services sector is Corvil’s sweet spot. “Today, the world’s largest banks, trading firms and financial exchanges are our customers. This is an extremely dynamic community navigating a complex, competitive and evolving landscape with new technologies, regulations, volatility and risks,” says Murray.
“We enable these customers to watch over their transactions and understand where there is degradation and where there is opportunity in terms of both performance and outcome,” he says. “Electronic trading or other financial transactions are initiated by algorithms, where the software decides whether to buy or sell, at what point to make the transaction, and with whom to make that transaction.
“This all happens in small fractions of a second; with potentially millions of decisions every second,” he continues. “So, when something is not performing the way it should or the way it can, it has a big impact. Think of an autonomous car and the number of decisions it has to make every fraction of a second to evaluate how it is functioning, its surroundings, and how they may affect its operation.”
With a foundational background in mathematics, science and engineering, Corvil places a strong emphasis on precision. “The analysis has to be incredibly precise,” agrees Murray. “Our customers may have to go before a regulator and prove, not only that something happened, but how and in what sequence it happened, so if we say something is so, then it absolutely must be so.
“I would say our USP is the depth, quality, and immediacy of the intelligence we provide, which enables firms to optimize their trading systems, transaction execution, and customer interactions compared to the marketplace,” he continues. “This is ‘systems alpha’, whereby trading systems are delivering alpha back to the business because they are delivering a better quality of execution, better trading performance and better return on investment.”
Which goes a long way towards explaining Corvil’s rapid growth and remarkable hit rate. Today, the firm monitors 90 percent of the world’s trades on public exchanges – $1 trillion worth of transactions each day – and is trusted by a who’s-who of financial names including Morgan Stanley, NASDAQ, NYSE, the Japan Exchange Group, BT, and the German Commerzbank.
The Irish firm, which has offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and elsewhere, has reached truly global status, with more than half of its business now generated in the Americas, and the remainder across the rest of the world. It has also collected a host of accolades, and last year was awarded #1 Network Monitoring Product by Info-Tech Research Group’s Software Reviews; 2019 RegTech 100 by FinTech Global; Best Trading Infrastructure Monitoring Platform by A-Team Group and Best Predictive Analytics Platform and Innovation Award for Analytics by FinTech Breakthrough.
“The companies with which we work tend to be under pressure to innovate and advance while complying with a strict and evolving regulatory framework,” says David Murray. “They are also under pressure from smaller ‘upstart’ competitors – who are also our customers – so performance improvement is very important.
“In terms of how the customer partnership works, we’re very clear that it’s their data – it belongs to them and it’s sensitive, so while we provide and install a product, they remain in control over that information,” he goes on. “While we integrate quickly into our customers’ environments, we also place a heavy emphasis on customer stewardship and partnership, with regular interaction to ensure they are getting the best possible value out of their investment in Corvil.”
This ability to work as the closest and most intelligent of partners allows Corvil to consistently illuminate insights that deliver a clear performance advantage to growing numbers of customers around the world.