Sharing Murex best practices can lift dealing room operations

03 July 2019 3 min. read
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Murex is an IT system responsible for trading both exchange traded and OTC financial securities and derivatives. While the system is vital to the trading activities of banks, according to Varrlyn consultants Philip van den Emster and Fouad Assaf, banks are across the board missing out on Murex opportunities.

“Banks face similar challenges in operating Murex. Yet there is little discussion amongst them on the solutions they are implementing to reduce costs and improve efficiency,” said Van den Emster. This relates to not just the setup and implementation of Murex, but also to support and maintenance services once the system is operational in the dealing room, as well as working within the broader Murex ecosystem.

Both consultants each have around a decade of experience with the Murex platform. Assaf worked for Murex before transitioning into consulting, which saw him deliver Murex projects at Rabobank and ING among others. Van den Emster has worked for Varrlyn since 2012, and has a Murex track record at among others Aegon, ABN Amro, ING and Van Lanschot. Their employer Varrlyn is a specialist in capital markets consulting and technology, and Murex is one of the firm’s core areas of expertise.

Building on their experience, they firmly believe that sharing best practice among banks can provide them with a competitive advantage, while making sure that company secrets are not exposed. “An exchange of ideas and experiences will improve the use of Murex,” they stated. To this end, the duo have teamed up with the Institute for International Research (IIR) to stimulate an exchange of ideas and experiences.Sharing Murex best practices can lift dealing room operationsDuring the round table hosted last week in Amsterdam, which according to the organisers welcomed the attendance of “all the major players in the Netherlands”, three key topics were addressed that provide banks with opportunities to improve their Murex operations.

First, Continuous Delivery (CD). Van den Emster: “Like any system, Murex requires continuous adjustment. Traditionally, the integration of a new feature in the system could take months. With Continuous Delivery, an approach that allows for the continuous deployment of new software, this timescale can be shortened dramatically, bringing clear advantages in terms of efficiency and costs.”

Second, automated testing. Assaf elaborated; “Changes to the highly-complex Murex system can be challenging. Testing is required to ensure that required changes have been rolled out well and that functionalities which should not change actually doesn’t change. Much of this large testing workload is undertaken manually, making it a very expensive process. Automated testing leverages technology to reduce the manual testing workload, resulting in cost and time-savings.”

The third opportunity lies in using agile scrum in combination with DevOps. Traditionally, IT staff worked in specialised teams, focusing on a particular area of expertise. Using agile scrum and DevOps, multi-disciplinary teams can now oversee issues and bottlenecks across all areas needed. Van den Emster: “A single team is able to address every issue in its entirety, allowing cost and time-savings to ensue. This development allows a team to change and maintain the Murex system simultaneously.”