Bank ALM and Risk dashboard software of the year – FIS

As markets tumbled in the early days of the pandemic, banks scrambled to get a clear, coherent view of their risks across both the banking and trading books. But with increased volatility, continued regulatory requirements and new working-from-home mandates to manage, banking teams had to complete complex risk calculations fast, simulate the impacts of stress, and gain real-time insight across the enterprise. 

A major global provider of financial technology solutions, FISTM was in a unique position to help clients surmount these challenges and optimise risk management for bankers and traders alike. Scenarios such as these are among the reasons the judges awarded FIS two awards in the Bank ALM and Risk Dashboard software of the year categories. These features figured prominently across many product submissions.

Bank ALM software of the year: FIS Balance Sheet Manager (formerly Ambit Focus)

The height of the pandemic saw banks’ treasury, risk and finance departments scale up their risk management response to calculate new scenarios across the universe of risk profiles for regulatory and internal purposes. 

Teams needed to simulate all kind of risk figures (such as repricing gaps, cashflow sensitivities, key rate durations or liquidity profiles) into the future to see the impact under many different assumptions and models (including new business).

To these ends, FIS Balance Sheet Manager enables banks to seamlessly integrate various balance sheet management processes – ALM/IRRBB, FTP, liquidity management (dynamic LCR/NSFR, liquidity stress/ILAAP), regulatory reporting, IFRS 9 impairment, hedge accounting, stochastic, market risk and capital planning. It does so within a single platform that uses a common cashflow, valuation and simulation engine to consistently simulate the balance sheet into the future and optimise the risk/return profile. 

Mark Neukomm
Mark Neukomm

The solution helps banks align treasury, risk and finance using the common data, coherent models, and comprehensive results to support business decision-making, for increased consistency and reduced total cost of ownership.

These capabilities have been a long time in the making as a result of FIS’s investments over the years in advancing its technology. The awards recognise its ability to leverage years of expertise into focused innovative products while modernising its platforms.

Mark Neukomm, director of product management, FIS, says, “Drawing on over 20 years of solid experience in ALM and balance sheet management, Balance Sheet Manager offers an efficient combination of standardisation and flexibility.”

The solution’s standard models enable the streamlining of risk control and management processes, while the flexible formula modelling capabilities support further comprehensive analysis and complex modelling with access to position information and results. This includes scenario-dependent market data (from all risk and macro factors), external parameters, vectors, and look-up tables etc. 

Additionally, Balance Sheet Manager can provide an integrated view of results across all metrics through a variety of built-in reports or cube-based bank-specific dashboards. In addition, all results and intermediate results are available at position, portfolio level, and in predefined reporting structures that can break down and present results and portfolios as required. 

Balance Sheet Manager serves Tier 1 to Tier 5 banks in more than 60 countries. For banks and capital markets across the globe experiencing disruptions that cascaded through their underlying models and assumptions, 2020 was a year to deliver scalability like no other for a global customer base.

It was also a year that put cloud computing concepts to the test on many levels, along with a rush to managed services as millions of workers and customers shifted to online environments to conduct business. FIS’s own considerable investment in cloud infrastructure starts with an emphasis on world-class security architecture along with component-based disaster recovery, and high resilience and availability. 

Additional computing power that FIS deployed on-demand netted additional performance improvements and cost savings. Balance Sheet Manager has since extended managed services to include testing as a service and data services, in addition to around-the-clock support. 

The FIS team helped clients complete more than 300 projects around the globe in 2020 with a mix of functional and technical expertise, plus implementation practices unique to each client. 

Neukomm concludes: “We follow a holistic and integrated approach to balance sheet management. As all risk areas share the same engine, our single platform not only ensures consistency, but also enables the modelling of interdependencies between different risk areas to facilitate global enterprise-wide risk management and stress-testing.”

Risk dashboard software of the year: FIS Enterprise Risk Suite (formerly Adaptiv)

Data-sorting power behind the risk portal expresses the breadth of innovation with real-time data visualisation that has advanced in just a few short years.

The impacts are reflected in the ability of the dashboard FIS Enterprise Risk Suite software to graphically represent complex risk data, modelling and calculations in real time. Markus Seiser, senior vice-president, division executive,
FIS cross-asset trading and risk business, explains: “Our dashboards, risk reports and visualisations help users conduct more effective analysis across market risk, credit
risk and regulatory calculations.”

Among the key processing features powering the presentation layer is FIS’s proprietary in-memory cube. Using the latest Angular Framework, SignalR and Kafka messaging technology to deliver consistently up-to-date information, end-users can view dashboards that enable analysis and breakdown of results across different parameters, while providing intuitive trend analysis for visualisation of data across a longer time frame.

Dr Markus Seiser
Markus Seiser

The agile development team improved investigation views over the past year, such as enabling user queries to populate dashboards via key performance indicators (KPIs), express pivot table views on the in-memory cube, and drill into trade-level data. The KPIs are extremely easy for users to create and modify, as they can be broken down by attributes in the cube.

If an analysis scenario is about to be presented to different groups across the enterprise, users create their own metrics, chain them into KPI cards, then customise the views. All of the results are then cached to allow unlimited personalisation of the homepage – invaluable when working from a common data environment.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of Enterprise Risk Suite is how it performed during the pandemic, particularly when working remotely was broadly mandated throughout the industry.

The solution is built to be user-friendly so that personalised setups can be migrated between environments. Ease of use with KPIs, investigation cards and security help new users on-board with training to get them to expert level on the system. 

Seiser adds: “From top-of-house risk managers to individual traders, users can rely on the solution’s connected dashboards and market data workflows to aggregate big data at lightning-fast speeds, find the primary drivers of their risk easily, and attribute them to underlying market data shifts.

“And for on-the-fly, what-if analysis of results data, multiple calculations can be stacked to evaluate the impact of complex changes, then shared between users for effective collaboration across the enterprise.”

What’s next?

Committed to constant innovation, FIS continues to invest around 6–7% of revenue each year in R&D. Watch this space to see further into the future of risk. 

The judges said:

Bank ALM system of the year

  • “Leverages its years of expertise into solidly focused innovative products, and has modernised its platforms, too.”
  • “Strong corporate profile, survivability and impressive legacy. Mature, richly featured product that has been progressively upgraded as well as components replaced and reconstructed.”
  • “Impressive client base, evidence of good R&D, and [a strong case study].”

Risk dashboard software of the year

  • “Very competitive offerings, cutting edge on big data, database science, UI design and security settings for remote shift. This entry visualises product explanations that elevate their value proposition.”
  • “Detailed relevant pitch.”
  • “Technically adept solutions.”
  • “Rich in features and functions.”

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