Basel floors, cyber risk and the Quant Finance Master’s Guide

The week on, June 16–22, 2017

BASEL CAPITAL FLOOR details still unclear

OP RISK focus on cyber at New York conference



COMMENTARY: Catching up online

Conversations on and off stage at OpRisk North America this week were inexorably drawn to the topic of cyber risk – even despite the Cyber Risk North America event running alongside it. Regulators and practitioners alike highlighted the business continuity risks posed by a major cyber attack, emphasised the need for rapid recovery from an outage, and called on businesses to improve their planning and modelling. More positive aspects of the IT revolution also received close attention, with cognitive computing systems (such as IBM’s Watson) touted as the solution to automating increasingly onerous compliance requirements.

But it’s hard to avoid the impression of an industry that has been left behind and is now playing catch-up. Panellists in one discussion noted that other industries, such as medicine, have been far quicker at adopting cognitive computing as a decision support tool. And while major banks are setting up their own in-house fintech incubators or ‘venture capital’ investment projects, progress has been slow. Some have even resorted to circumventing their own vendor acceptance checks to bring fintech startups on board more quickly. Industries such as publishing and travel have been revolutionised in the past decade – finance, less so, despite the urgent need for technology to reduce the unsustainable operational and compliance costs faced by the banking industry.

Part of the problem stems from the conservatism of the risk and compliance departments. Certainly there’s no problem getting banks to accept innovation in the trading and structuring areas – the largest trading floors in the world are now silent, with electronic trading the order of the day. But, in large part due to the crisis and its aftermath, regulators and major institutions are understandably more cautious of short cuts. Put simply, other industries innovate faster because they can be trusted to do so in relative safety: this is not the case with finance.

There are other issues as well – reliance on legacy systems, high barriers to entry for more innovative financial startups, and the non-negotiable position of the industry on data confidentiality, integrity and availability. None of those will change any time soon, so it seems the financial sector will to continue to be a relatively late adopter. The priority however must be to ensure that it doesn’t fall behind in cyber defence as well as in innovation.



The average daily volume of interdealer US repo trading at Dealerweb has more than doubled since it launched electronic trading of US repos in June 2016 – reaching $177 billion last month compared with $80 billion a year ago.



“Why would [a science or mathematics graduate] want to work for a bank today when you can work for the next Google?” – a senior derivatives structurer at a French bank

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact or view our subscription options here:

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact to find out more.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have a account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an individual account here