IIBN asked John Kane, Business Development Manager to tell in his own words what Vox Financial Partners do?

You can visit Vox Financial Partners here

Vox FP is a consulting and RegTech provider to top-tier bank and broker-dealer clients. We provide skilled resources to help financial institutions address their regulatory and business change requirements. Our RegTech product, Opal, is designed to automate and scale standardised documentation processes for use cases such as Structured Notes, ISDA negotiation, general repapering and more.

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

My main priority is driving our growth within EMEA by building strong relationships throughout the sector and solving problems for our clients.

What are your biggest challenges?

Often, we find that many banks like to keep a tight leash on their procurement departments in terms of using their preferred suppliers in what is an already saturated market. This is understandable but our challenge is to continue to differentiate ourselves from the competition through our business and regulatory knowledge, our experience, and quality talent.

How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

There are three main aspects to this:

  1. We offer our staff very competitive employment packages in Locations such as Belfast, London, Dublin, and New York. I would match ours against any other firm in the industry.
  2. We invest heavily in our staff by encouraging them to undertake training that both interests them and will help to further their career during, and after their time with Vox. The training we provide is specific to the individual and we have had employees go through exams for the NY Bar, CFA Levels 1-3 and FinTech Courses at Oxford.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, we offer our staff the opportunity to work with Tier 1 banking clients providing them with direct exposure to senior management and attaining valuable experience while working on major projects.

What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

If there is one thing the financial services industry can be sure of is that there will always be new regulation to comply with and adapt to. For example, some smaller firms have had to reduce certain aspects of their market participation due to increased costs associated with regulation (among other things) and as a result, we have recently seen a shift in the concentration of market activity to larger organisations. However, one core challenge our clients face that can be applied across the board is finding cost-effective solutions to the constantly evolving regulatory and business landscape.

What new trends are emerging in your industry?

The major trend has to be automation. Banks are constantly on the lookout for innovative technology that can help automate a multitude of tasks throughout their organization. Most major players have set up their own innovation departments and labs that are tasked with going out into the market and finding technology to solve specific challenges. We are currently engaged with a number of innovation leads around using our Opal platform to automate and scale the vast number of standardized documentation process that banks currently perform manually.

Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

Yes, we have found that there is serious competition for talent, not only with our main industry competitors but with the Big Tech companies who are just hoovering it up. We often hear that finance can be considered as boring by some top graduates and young professionals. However, with the finance industry focusing more and more on technical innovation, I think this stigma will be eradicated in the near future.

Or maybe the allure of florescent beanbags and free beer in the office will just be too great!

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Thus far, we have experienced increased engagement with our clients to help get them ready for Brexit as there will be major disruption across the financial services sector. We anticipate further project work in the years to come in terms of maintaining financial regulatory alignment with that of the EU, should trade negotiations go that way.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

As a millennial in their 20s, it’s very tempting to focus on money! However, for me at this stage, it’s all about attaining knowledge and experience while building connections that will stand by me for the rest of my career. If I get those things right, I could easily achieve my ambition of setting up and building out my own company one day.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

The best advice I have been given was to never stop learning. I have been very fortunate in my relatively short career to have had so many different learning opportunities with different companies and have acquired excellent mentors as a result.  My advice for others would be to do the same.

What’s next for your company?

We will continue to expand our client base globally while taking on larger projects. We also fully expect to see our Opal product live with clients this year and will be building out its functionality further for more use cases.

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020?

I see many opportunities for Vox with work around phase 5 & 6 of Initial Margin, operational resilience, etc. but IBOR Reform is one of the biggest changes facing the industry to date and will affect all of our clients globally, thus requiring additional resources from vendors like ourselves to help get them over the line.

There is potential for growth in these areas for both our consulting practice and Opal.

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