At Bloomberg, we’ve learned from experience how to weather market disruptions over nearly four decades serving the global financial community. From the 1987 market crash to the global financial crisis of 2008, we have proven our ability to help our customers quickly adapt and remain productive. When Covid-19 hit in early 2020, we recognised similarities to the remote working environments financial firms adopted following devastating events like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy in the US. Making data more accessible has always been at the heart of what we do, never more so than over the last year.
For some, the Bloomberg Terminal may have historically conjured up an image of endless screens tethered to a trading room floor. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For over 20 years, financial professionals, policy makers and global executives have been connecting to the Terminal securely and remotely, from any device in the office, at home or on the move. Over the last year, users have made even greater use of this flexibility while juggling work and family commitments. Clients have repeatedly told us of how they’ve been connected to the Terminal while waiting to pick up the kids from school and even while in line at the supermarket.
The shift to fully remote working posed many challenges for the financial community. Virtually overnight, traders, brokers, analysts and portfolio managers had to ensure they could access the solutions they needed to make investment decisions, trade and manage funds from home – for weeks or possibly months – while market volatility and volumes surged. For traders used to four or even six-screen setups, operating off a single laptop or tablet quickly proved unworkable.
To help address these challenges, we rolled out some new technologies, including expediting the introduction of tabs on the Terminal, to help users adapt to significantly diminished screen real estate. In an industry where time is everything and fractions of seconds really do matter, spending time manoeuvring between devices simply wasn’t an option.
The number of people using our Bloomberg app jumped more than 30 per cent in March 2020, compared with 2019 levels, as the industry tried to remain connected and abreast of rapidly changing market dynamics.
With economies beginning to re-open, continuing to provide solutions that offers the same user experience across a range of different devices and set-ups is essential. This is particularly true as companies decide how or if to implement a combination of on-site and remote working over the medium term.
While our solutions can support such a shift, there are challenges to a hybrid model such as this. It requires the seamless integration of systems, applications and workflows to allow users to operate efficiently across various environments, while remaining in compliance with shifting regulations, potentially across multiple jurisdictions.
The complexity of successfully capturing and monitoring regulated activities, such as trading remotely, has long contributed towards a reluctance to embrace home working within the sector.
As market volumes and transactions reached record highs during the pandemic, traders turned to video conferencing platforms designed for personal use, to recreate the connectivity of the office, causing headaches for compliance teams worldwide. Updated communications surveillance systems, which ingest and archive voice and video conversations in a compliant manner, will go a long way towards bridging this divide.
Post-pandemic, collective time in the office will be at a premium. Greater emphasis will be placed on enabling teams to be at their most collaborative while together in person — interacting with clients and with one another. One way to achieve this is by embracing automation and utilizing intelligent solutions that enable the prioritisation of high-value work. At Bloomberg, we’re providing new tools, such as an intelligent dashboard to help users identify timely, relevant opportunities to engage with their clients using real-time data and predictive analytics. Such improvements in automation will streamline workflows and free up time for valuable human interactions.
The move to remote working has challenged long-held beliefs around how we work and where, led to a number of significant technological advancements industry-wide, and helped the sector remain agile, flexible and responsive in the face of significant market shifts. As we look beyond the pandemic, many of these advancements will help the industry build towards a more sustainable, robust future.