During our careers of over a decade each in DCM and Syndicate, we’ve been through our fair share of bond transactions, from idea to pitch, execution and settlement.
As front office bankers, we were in the lucky position not to have to worry too much about the downstream bond documentation process or arcane settlement procedures, all of which are increasingly being reimagined. We saw the bookbuilding process improve through better technology and the chain of communication between Syndicate, Sales and investors slowly making way for a more efficient approach.
Yet, as we sat through a steady stream of Fintech pitches in our old jobs, we felt that none of the solutions directly addressed the day-to-day pain points we faced as DCM and Syndicate bankers.
The issues that would keep us in the office late in the evening didn’t have anything to do with the structure of the bond market or legacy settlement systems, but were all about our ambition to stay ahead of the competition, to spot the latest, most interesting market developments, find ways to add value to our clients and, of course, to win mandates.
We’d spend many hours a week collating market data, pricing up hundreds of new issue tenors, running manual swap and relative value calculations and preparing client updates that were – on account of the cumbersome process – often less timely than they should have been.
The amount of time wasted on repetitive and manual processes was a constant source of frustration. Particularly as this was not time that could be translated into superior client service or insights, but just plain old inefficiency.
This was not lost on anyone in the business and many banks have already invested considerable time and money to build internal tech solutions to address these problems. For the most part, these initiatives were doomed to failure because: i) front office bankers are expensive stand-ins for IT project managers and are generally motivated by winning mandates, not building tech platforms, ii) getting your hands on the relevant market data is complicated and potentially expensive, and iii) banks’ technology teams aren’t typically known for quick and cost-effective development cycles.
Today, some of our keenest adopters are banks from both ends of the spectrum: teams who are transitioning from an entirely manual/Excel based process, or alternatively, banks who had a go at an internal solution that never saw the light of day or that can’t keep up with the evolving demands of users.
This is about so much more than just the pricing update workflow: we’re rolling out the first comprehensive operating platform for DCM and Syndicate.
Stephan & Oli
We collaborate with our customers to understand their pain points and delight them with a tech solution that feels tailor-made to each customer
We hire smart and self-motivated people and give them the freedom to manage their own workload: including when and where they work
Everyone is an owner and acts accordingly: take ownership of your work, own up to mistakes and do what’s right for all stakeholders
Be open, transparent and collaborate with the team
Iteration is the path to perfection: ship early and often
Work-life balance is key: take holidays, pace yourself and be respectful of others’ time and outside priorities
We value diversity and a difference of opinions
Technology is our core business. Everyone needs to keep learning and adapting for us to stay at the forefront of technological change
We celebrate our successes as a team
Stephan has 14 years of front office Banking experience, most recently as Director, Financial Institutions DCM at Citigroup in London
CEO & Co-founder
Oliver has 10 years’ experience in DCM, most recently on Citigroup’s Sovereigns, Supra and Agencies Bond Syndicate desk in London