IT teams from all corners of the banking world have proven more inventive than ever over the past 12 months, while the role of technology providers is growing in importance. The Banker’s Innovation in Banking Technology Awards celebrates those behind the industry’s brightest ideas and most capable platforms and systems.

In today’s financial environment it is almost impossible to overstate the importance of technology to the banking sector. At the most basic level, it is truly essential to every facet of operations from retail and business banking through to capital markets business lines. But that almost goes without saying. The latest and greatest in innovative, customer-facing technology is also crucial to securing new business, as well as holding on to customers in an increasingly competitive environment. IT expertise can also aid in the eternal quest for efficiency and cost saving, not to mention in dealing with the multifarious regulatory requirements facing the financial sector.

The Banker’s Innovation in Banking Technology Awards celebrate those behind the industry’s brightest ideas, seeking to recognise innovative thinking in the banking technology space and the positive impact that it can have on operations, employees, customers, the environment and even unbanked individuals. For the first time, the awards also recognise the ever-increasing contribution that technology providers and advisors make throughout the industry.

In each case, winners were chosen by external judges. The most innovative banking projects were selected by the panel listed below, while the most capable technology providers were chosen by a selection of more than 20 banking CIOs from around the globe. The latter group, however, remained anonymous, in an attempt to encourage participation and openness without concern for publicly discussing current operations.

Far and wide

This year, as always, the quantity, and quality of projects was striking. In the banking section alone, numerous categories had more than 20 entries, despite each institution being limited to a single submission per category and restricted to entering a project for consideration for one award only. The judges’ work was complicated still further by the high standard of entries, in many cases there were several projects within a single category that would have proven worthy winners.

Submissions were received from financial services organisations of every shape and size, from retail, commercial and investment banks to brokers, stock exchanges and clearing houses. And they were not just confined to the major banking powers either; entries were submitted by firms based in 32 different countries, from the usual suspects including the UK, the US and the largest eurozone countries, to major emerging markets such as China, Mexico and Brazil, through to less prominent banking names such as Jamaica, Mozambique, Lebanon and Zambia.

The mix of institutions submitting entries was reflected in the winning roster too, with Hana Bank, South Korea’s fourth largest commercial banking group, taking the overall technology project of the year and retail banking project of the year awards, while BBVA netted best capital markets project and JP Morgan took the transaction banking honours. Truly impressive innovation, it seems, is taking place across the banking spectrum.

New remits

The winners in the technology providers section were less diverse, with many large and well-established names triumphing. This should not be surprising, however; many banks are only just becoming comfortable with the idea of buying rather than building the platforms which are so essential to their day-to-day operations, and as a result, relatively few will be likely to entrust major chunks of their technology infrastructure to vendors with anything but the strongest of track records.

One trend that was clear from these results, however, was that the role of technology providers is expanding in many cases to incorporate an advisory capacity too. No longer is it enough to merely have top-notch products and systems, the best IT firms must also boast the ability to help their banking customers implement them in the most effective manner while dealing with the ever-increasing range of technology which face the sector.

The Banker would like to congratulate the winning and commended banks and technology firms, and to thank all parties which took the time and effort to enter.

The judges

Simon Barrows is head of financial services at Glue Reply, a consultancy specialising in architecture, integration and data, and part of the Reply group in the UK. Formerly, he was chief architect/CTO for consumer banking with Lloyds Banking Group.

Chris Haywood is managing director and CIO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa with Citibank. Former roles have included senior leadership positions in IT, operations, finance and commercial areas.

Michael Drexler is senior director and head of investors industries with the World Economic Forum. Previously he was global head of strategy and planning for investment banking and wealth management with Barclays Capital.

Sumeet Chabria is CIO of global markets with HSBC. He has almost 20 years’ experience in investment banking and markets technology and has worked at a range of investment banks and buy-side firms.

Mark Butterfield is CIO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa with Nomura, a position he has held since 2005. Previous roles have included a senior developer and project manager position with Credit Suisse.

Brian Ledbetter is a partner in McKinsey’s business technology practice, where he focuses on financial services. He has spent more than a decade with McKinsey following a role with Borland Software.

Steven Van Wyk is head of operations and information technology banking with ING. He has more than 30 years’ experience in IT and is currently responsible for CIO/COO duties for the bank on a global basis as well as for ING Insurance.

Cahit Erdogan is head of information technologies and CIO with Yapı Kredi, a position he has held since 2009 after spending nearly 10 years working with consultancy Accenture from its Istanbul office.

John Beck is The Banker’s trading and technology editor, responsible for coverage of retail and investment banking technology, including trading platforms, core systems, and clearing and settlement.

Innovation in technology award winners: Banks

Technology Project of the Year
Retail Banking Technology Project of the Year
Innovation in Payments Technology

Winner: Hana Bank

Since its establishment in 1991, Hana Bank has grown to be the fourth largest commercial bank in South Korea. However, its customer base was skewed significantly towards the older end of the spectrum, and it had a significant lack of customers in their 20s and 30s.

In an attempt to remedy this, the bank embarked upon a concerted effort to attract younger ‘digital natives’ with the help of a new online service delivered through the latest generation of mobile devices, an important step in a country which not only has the highest smartphone penetration in the world, but also one of the fastest adoption rates.
Hana Bank’s goal was to launch a mobile service markedly different from those currently on the market to secure tech-savvy younger customers. The end result was N Wallet, a smartphone application based on a pre-payment system with automatic top-up, which functions as an electronic wallet. Its core capabilities are centred on real-time payment tools that allow users to make single or multiple remittances, send gift cards, split bills or group pay for a specific event.

Recipients need not be Hana Bank customers. Even unbanked individuals, such as minors and foreign workers, can receive payments so long as they have a smartphone, thanks to a ‘virtual account’, which makes any unique identification, such as a phone number, into a form of bank account.

Customers can even directly withdraw cash from mobile money received or refund back their pre-pay balance from any of Hana Bank’s ATMs using only a random number generated through N Wallet as a password.

“N Wallet is a strategic platform to capture youth customers in the surging Korean smart environment. From the planning stage, Hana Bank applied an innovative UX approach combining new technology and banking systems,” says Jun-Seong Han, head of the new business division at Hana Bank. “This project has enormous value in giving a new finance experience to new customers and securing a payment platform that will expand to various smart businesses in the future.”



Mobile technology was also a feature of OCBC’s entry, which allows customers to pay their bills from their bank account by scanning barcodes with cameras on Apple’s iPhones running Google’s Android operating system.

Transaction Banking Technology Project of the Year
Innovation in Custody and Securities Services Technology

Winner: JPMorgan

Across the business world, putting assets to work is more important than ever. Changing regulations make the efficient allocation and optimisation of collateral essential to business financing activities, and the lines between traditional funding desks are increasingly blurring.

The importance of being able to manage collateral at an enterprise-wide level with a truly global view of positions is being further driven by new regulations such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, which heighten collateral demands and force firms to effectively utilise all assets at their disposal.

In response, JPMorgan launched its Global Longbox project, designed to give collateral providers a global, integrated view of positions and obligations across multiple portfolios, regions and products, improving their ability to leverage and optimise their combined global collateral inventory.

It aims to facilitate enterprise-wide collateral management and pooling of assets by providing a truly global view of positions and obligations, including a hierarchical view of the client’s global portfolio, showing positions at the corporate or ‘parent’ level by legal entity, or for each account. This allows JPMorgan’s clients a single point of reference to better manage risk, asset utilisation and allocation.

Other features include an aggregated view of asset inventory which shows the impact of pending, cleared and settled trade on collateral, in-depth breakdowns of available, obligated and encumbered positions, snapshots of obligations, plus current and pending transactions and positions at any point in time. Access to myriad data elements of almost 2 million securities and integrated corporate action capabilities are also available.



Citi’s OpenCollateral system also caught the judges’ eyes. Where many collateral management service providers are tied to a specific custody platform (requiring clients/users to make use of collateral assets in the market before leveraging the service provider’s offering), Citi has developed an open architecture system which makes use of existing custody structures, so that the mobilisation of assets’ pre-allocation to counterparties is no longer required.

Capital Markets Technology Project of the Year

Innovation in Dealing Technology

Winner: BBVA

Despite the phenomenal rise of electronic trading, sometimes, especially for especially large or complex transactions, voice cannot be beaten. However, when deals are closed on the telephone without a written contract and/or typical purchase procedures, the end result can have major monetary implications with no confirmation in black and white.

This raises the possibility of conflict from a business perspective if one, or both, parties do not consider a transaction closed. The typical course of events in these cases is that calls are located and listened to in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit. As such, being able to locate calls, and discover their content, is crucial. However, huge volumes of telecoms traffic usually means that not every call can be listened to.

In order to improve this situation and prevent malpractice and subsequent liability, Spanish bank BBVA resolved to implement a system that would allow it to audit all calls. The solution was found in the form of speech analytics technology designed to take free-flowing conversations between companies and their customers, analyse them and organise them in a more business-useful fashion.

The software required significant adaptation to suit BBVA’s purposes, but its voice recognition and categorisation system now functions in both English and Spanish, and is able to deal with the idiosyncrasies of dealing room operations, including slang, background noise and abrupt, truncated sentences.

Effectively allowing the bank to listen to all of its calls allows it to boost audit and risk control processes, as well as to identify potential malpractice cases, by creating alerts for certain phrases, such as ‘I’ll call you on the mobile’. It can also help to transcribe calls and search for conversations based on key words.

“This is another success case that demonstrates how challenging former technology, compliance and operating standards with cutting-edge technology and willingness creates new and much more efficient paradigms,” says Beatriz A Lara Bartolomé, BBVA’s chief innovation officer.



RBS’s MarketDirect e-commerce platform for structured products and equity derivatives projects netted the commended spot. It provides a unified, secure, scalable client-facing electronic execution platform, which can be used by institutional and retail customers.

Innovation in Clearing and Settlement Technology

Winner: BNP Paribas

Hong Kong is a popular destination for institutional brokers. In 2010 alone, 25 US and European firms set up shop in the special administrative region in search of new clients and revenue streams – which were proving difficult to come by in their home territories. But this was not always easy, and required embarking upon the time-consuming and costly process of setting up local operating infrastructure.

This difficulty had not gone unnoticed by BNP Paribas, and in 2011 the French bank launched Asia’s first fully outsourced back-office service suite. This meant that brokers in the region were now able to operate with no on-site back-office infrastructure of their own.

BNP Paribas achieved this by combining a back-office technology platform provided by French software firm SLIB with the bank’s own back-office specialists. This way it has been able to offer brokers immediate connectivity to all key Asian markets at significantly reduced start-up costs.

This involved a number of modifications to support local requirements such as re-engineering settlement processes for some markets to mitigate foreign exchange risks associated with agency-brokerage there, and designing a global service model to provide seamless market coverage.

BNP Paribas created an open advanced programming interface to allow any front-office system to send trade data for processing within its system and developed an automated upload of Hong Kong market-side data representing the on-exchange activity executed by the broker. Additionally, all transactions processed by the platform create accounting and settlement records which are actively managed by the broker dealer outsource team in Hong Kong and automatically account for Hong Kong stamp duty and all Asian market charges.



Barclays’ commended project implemented a proprietary claims management system developed to address regulatory requirements mandated by the Treasury Market Practices Group, a private- sector group formed by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It supports increased volumes, improved efficiency and streamlined workflows.

Innovation in Financial Inclusion Technology

Winner: State Bank of India  

When it comes to sheer scale, banking in India has few peers. State Bank of India (SBI) alone had 294.7 million accounts as of the end of 2011, more than the sum total of

residents in the world’s fourth most populous country, Indonesia. And yet, a large proportion of the country’s 1.2 billion population remains unbanked.

As with many emerging markets, however, mobile phone penetration has outpaced bank account ownership. Enter the National Payments Corporation of India’s Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) system, which is backed by a number of large Indian banks and allows transactions to be made via SMS, even between account holders in other banks. The idea was that the existing mobile banking system infrastructure be leveraged to provide a mobile-based fund transfer system to users across the country and help in the financial inclusion of less privileged/unbanked citizens.

For SBI, achieving this required developing a robust system for retail payment services that would effectively deliver real-time and affordable mobile-to-mobile remittances.
SBI customers can make now convenient remittances over mobile through IMPS to anyone, just by using a beneficiary mobile number and mobile money identifier. SBI is not alone in offering such services, but it is certainly leading the way, and currently boasts a market share of 67% in IMPS transactions, about $1m-worth of such transactions on a monthly basis.

Part of its strategy is its ‘mobile wallet’ tool, which provides a virtual pre-paid account for bill payments, remittances and more, all via mobile technology. It includes an instant remittance facility based on IMPS.

It is also developing a person-to-merchant push transaction-based payment system that will allow a large number of customers and non-customers to pay for railway ticket bookings through mobile banking. Additionally, SBI has now extended IMPS to three associate banks as of March 2012.


Yes Bank

Yes Bank’s commended entry involved meeting the needs of India’s large population of migrant workers who lack bank accounts in the city they work in. Yes Bank integrated its services into the technology and infrastructure of its peers, enabling customers to make remittances transactions from any of India’s 85,000 bank branches.

Innovation in Information Security

Winner: Isbank

The introduction of chip and PIN technology has had a profound impact on face-to-face fraud at the point of sale. However, such fraud has not been eradicated altogether, and a number of high-profile scams relying on the readers themselves – which criminals have equipped to store the PIN after entry and to record the information needed to clone cards – have surfaced in recent years. And fraudsters do not have to be hi-tech, even indiscreet pin entrance could leave an opening for criminal activity.

These weaknesses were a concern for Turkey’s Isbank, which decided to develop a new payment system designed to eliminate the use of PIN, and with it associated fraud risks. Less costly, but also important from a customer perspective, was the desire to simplify payments transactions and eliminate the need to remember multiple pins for multiple cards, offering a more user-friendly experience in the process

To accomplish this, the bank turned to biometric technology. In particular, finger vein readers, which work by scanning the unique pattern of veins in a customer’s digit using infrared rays. The technology had already been deployed in Isbank ATMs, but the next step was to integrate it into the bank’s point-of-sale devices as an alternative to pin entry, and roll them out to merchants.

To make use of the point-of-sale terminals equipped with the technology, all a customer needs to do is register their finger vein map with Isbank and activate it through an ATM, at which point they will instantly be able to make transactions at any merchant with the appropriate terminal. With that, Isbank’s customers can carry a password which will never be subject to change, never expire, and be truly unique and impossible to copy.



Grita is a non-intrusive system to detect and prevent payment card fraud through the management of incidents, communication with customers and feedback on models. The platform is now responsible for detecting more than 25% of Bankinter’s total fraud and its efficiency is still increasing as its analyst review team grows and can process more automatic alerts.

Innovation in Cash and Treasury Technology

Winner: Citi

For business users, mobile financial services functions are becoming more and more popular, not to mention more important. As working conditions and demands change, there is increasingly a need to access and react to real-time information on the go.

Citi launched its CitiDirect BE Mobile platform to address this requirement. It allows users of its existing CitiDirect online banking platform to make use of a number of functionalities via a combination of text message and mobile browser.  

Users can also receive SMS alerts on the go for key events, such as a pending payment, when an account balance reaches a certain threshold or when a major cash transfer hits their account. Payments can then be authorised and released remotely from a browser-based platform. In addition, enhanced mobile functionality allows users to conduct transactions and check account balances as well as searching for specific payments. English, Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish versions are all available, broadening its appeal significantly.

The bank decided against creating specific versions for different operating systems, instead making it browser based, and as a result as platform-agnostic as possible. In fact, even some non-smart phones are able to access certain functions.

The platform has already processed more than 7000 transactions, generated 100,000 notifications, and had more than $1bn pass through its systems, an important milestone.



In comparison to its European neighbours, Russia has a much more cash-based economy with significantly more currency in circulation than, for example, the EU. Catering for this demand is not always easy. Sberbank has implemented a system allowing it to collect data about cash usage in ATMs and branches and generate daily forecasts helping optimise schedules and the amount of cash to be delivered/returned to the ATM or branch.

Innovation in Delivery Channel Technology

Winner: Itaú Unibanco

In the complex hierarchy of the banking industry, those catering for business customers have not always had most to boast about from an IT perspective. Where trading operations required the latest in lightning-fast technology, and retail segments rushed to cater for consumer technology trends, business clients were, for the most part, concerned more with basic functions and dependability of service than the latest and greatest in technology.

That is changing now, as this same group becomes accustomed to the ease and efficiency with which they interact with technology in their day-to-day lives. As a result, Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco launched its Itaú Empresas project, designed to provide intelligent, efficient solutions for middle market businesses in their use of financial services. It added agility to cash-flow management and provided IT tools which offer the kind of autonomy, mobility and convenience that was once only available to large firms.

The premise was to provide service consultations and contracting through various online and mobile channels, helping to generate independence from branch banking, and the flexibility to conduct major operations without leaving the premises.

Through internet banking and specific applications for smartphones, the bank offers access to products and tools including foreign exchange services, cashing of cheques and trade notes, working capital, early payment of receivables and cards, credit formalisation, check custody and export pre-payment.

It also offers easy management of direct debits, batch authorisation of payments, assistance from an online specialist consulting services team, and specialist mobile facilities including the ability to read payment slips via an iPhone camera.

“In order to assist entrepreneurs with their financial services requirements quickly and securely, Itaú Empresas identified the needs of its customers and has been providing products and services with online consultations and contracting,” says Carlos Eduardo Maccariello, director of products of Itaú Empresas (middle market).


CIMB Bank Berhad

CIMB Bank Berhad’s commended entry aimed to offer continuous service for its customers via online telecoms service Skype, providing face-to-face personal banking without the need to visit a branch for product enquiries or advice.

Innovation in Green IT

Winner: Standard Chartered

The banner of ‘green IT’ covers a range of technologies, from data centre transformation projects to office refurbishment. This year, however, the judging panel singled out a project implemented by Standard Chartered which may not appear dramatic, but offers an example of a unique and elegant solution with an environmentally friendly angle as well as elements of financial inclusion.

The project, entitled ‘eOps’, came about because routine jobs such as data entry are not always most economical in the expensive environs of big cities, especially now that telecommunications and broadband infrastructure has penetrated into many rural areas, even in developing markets.

Standard Chartered developed a project to allow these roles to be performed remotely – for inputting data from customer credit card applications and the like – via a web-based application, saving the need for new premises, or a costly and environmentally unfriendly commute, as well as working towards a paperless operating model

However, any kind of off-site work, especially when it involves customer data, will inevitably raise concerns about confidentiality and risk management. To deal with this, the formatted application form is filled in by the customer as an electronic image and then split into multiple small images and distributed to different data entry points in a random manner.

“The need was to improve the quality of data entry by simplification, productivity, connecting people with tasks and making the environment paperless in the bank. The system was developed in a record time of six months, at an affordable cost, on open platforms,” says V Chandrasekar, chief information officer for the West at Standard Chartered.

“We now have about 5000 forms processed daily for virtual data entry and about 10,000 forms daily for internal workflow processing… This initiative has considerably reduced the movement of paper, for processing across countries and teams.”



Bankinter’s entry also impressed the judges with a project designed to make one of its offices carbon neutral by reducing energy usage by half, and making up the rest with tree planting. The office will also function as a lab of sorts where new green technologies will be trialled ahead of mass distribution.

Innovation in Risk Management Technology

Winner: HSBC  

Back in 2010, the pressures of dealing with regulatory demands and counterparty risk while expanding the business and controlling costs was placing a serious strain on the legacy risk systems within HSBC.

As a result, the banking giant embarked upon a project designed to result in a new generation of risk infrastructure that would meet its current, and future, needs. The end result was a system, christened ‘Risk and Valuation Engine Project’ (Raven), designed to work across both market and credit risk areas.

The programme consolidated multiple credit risk engines across 36 countries over a 10-month period, replacing decade-old systems with a centralised single-instance/multi-site set-up, boosting process consistency, reducing the application footprint and making significant cost savings.

Scalability was an important aspect of the system, and the grid and database can be enlarged to cope with 10% increments in size or to triple capacity as required.

Since installation, the results have been significant. The bank set out to process 200,000 trades per hour for a potential future exposure (PFE) calculation; however, it now achieves more than 500,000. Meanwhile, results from the new system are available between three to six hours earlier than the legacy systems, and subsequent explanations have been improved in both detail and coverage. It has also saved $4m a year when compared to the previous system.

“HSBC set out to create a next-generation, high-performance risk management system using the latest multi-core technology and low-cost file servers. The project team consolidated multiple credit risk engines… and built a system now capable of calculating potential future exposures for more than half-a-million trades every 60 minutes,” says

Shane Lamont, global head of software delivery at HSBC.



In order to support an expansion of its corporate banking business in Taiwan and prepare for international operations, Taishin developed a system to manage risk more effectively by integrating products to a centralised credit control system, reducing repeated sign-ons to individual systems, consolidating customer data into one complete view and including support for multiple currencies.

Innovation in Customer Service and Marketing Technology

Winner: Citibank Taiwan

Despite the overwhelming popularity of social media, it has not always been popular among banks, mostly due to legal and regulatory concerns. For Citibank Taiwan, remedying this was a crucial facet of a project designed to overhaul its City Mobile smartphone application.

With more than 4 million smartphones in Taiwan, a strong offering on this channel was crucial for the bank. As a result, it launched a revamp of its Citi Mobile platform, enhancing the user interface, improving various marketplace and vendor-linked features and creating a check-in mechanism in an attempt to make better use of social media by creating word-of-mouth buzz on Facebook.

Merchant-linked functions allow users to find nearby shops and other vendors via a search function based on Google maps showing location and category of vendors and other service providers. This makes it extremely convenient for users to find nearby merchants and, once located, they need only click on a phone button to call with a query or to make a reservation.

The platform also includes online ticketing systems for cinema booking, allowing users to view available films and choose seats. Social media tie-in is provided by a ‘check-in’ program, so that enrolled users who post to their Facebook wall via Citi Mobile when they arrive at a given vendor earn extra reward points, benefiting Citi by creating word-of-mouth effect for its mobile platform, merchants by granting them increased exposure, and users by granting them reward points and discounts; a win-win-win situation.

As part of the overhaul, user interface was enhanced by cutting down on the average number of clicks from an average five per function to three. An Android app was also developed to meet mounting demand.



Through competitive landscape analysis, OCBC identified that banks’ attempts to engage youth customers are mostly restricted to credit and debit cards. In response, it developed a retail store concept which allows customers to browse and select specially designed credit/debit cards, walk out with accounts instantly, and manage money in a way tailored specifically to their needs.

Innovation in Data Management Technology

Winner: Barclays

Barclays’ specialist funds and advisory asset management team had, as most banks do, complex and varied data requirements, which led to a broad system and application architecture which generated, employed and stored critical data throughout the business.

Accessing every necessary piece of data required multiple users, as well as the use of tools, such as Excel and other software packages, which were not directly part of the system. This brought with it a greater risk of error, limited scalability and increased the total cost – in both time and money – for many tasks.

For Barclays, the challenge was to attain a clear, consolidated view of critical business data, along with the means to access and manipulate it in a robust and scalable manner.

This resulted in a project named ‘HyperCube’, which tackled these problems by creating a ‘virtual database’. This consolidated various sources, including databases, calculation services, user-created data and external data sources, such as market data, and accessed and combined it in real time as opposed to a traditional data warehouse operation, which would hold storage-intensive copies of all data.

HyperCube also consolidated different calculation techniques and tools, allowing users to drive the creation and editing of complex data reports, as well as to access pre-defined report formats, distributed as and when needed. The end result was a system which, from a single-user interface, can be used to query requests involving everything from real-time market data from external providers to internal information to calculate live risk reports or a comprehensive view of current positions and even profit and loss profiles.


Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse’s commended entry was the result of an initiative to revamp the chief financial officer’s IT architecture. Continued regulatory scrutiny and the rapidly changing regulatory landscape meant that the bank needed to address data deficiencies and new reporting requirements. It established a ‘reference data hub’ as a tool to source reference data from various departments throughout the firm, govern the data and force corrections before critical reporting periods.

Award winners: technology providers

Best Core Banking Technology

Joint winners: Cisco and Infosys

It is hardly an exaggeration to describe a core banking system as the heart and lungs of any financial institution. After all, without it, essential functions would grind to a complete halt. But where banks once contented themselves with building their own system, cost and operational constraints now mean that more and more are choosing to buy rather than build.

As a result, competition is heating up as ever more sophisticated and capable platforms hit the markets designed to help banks meet regulation, deliver efficiencies, bring products to market faster and improve the customer experience.  

Predictably, the category was a close-fought battle. So close, in fact, that the end result was a dead heat between US-multinational Cisco and Bangalore-based technology giant Infosys.

The latter is a well-known name when it comes to the provision of core systems; its Finacle platform is widely deployed, especially across Asian and Middle Eastern banks, and is packed full of the kind of features – such as customer relationship management modules, service-oriented architecture, straight-through processing capabilities and web-enabled technologies - which banking CIOs have come to expect. Its flexibility has also been praised by users, allowing them to adapt to new demands and adding features and services where needed.

“We have consistently invested more than 25% of our revenues into R&D to ensure we maintain our industry-leading product pedigree,” says M Haragopal, senior vice-president and global head of Finacle with Infosys. “This has not only helped us to support our growing customer base as they pursue innovation-based growth, efficiency and leadership strategies.”

Cisco is perhaps a name less readily associated with core banking software, but the judges felt its contribution to updating systems and providing the intricacies of communications and linkages between operations which make a core system possible was significant. It helps firms optimise back-office operations and the processing of vital functions, as well as increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of front-office applications and business lines.

“Working closely with the leading banking customers, understanding their applications and further business focus are the key success factors for Cisco,” says Nikhil Kelshikar, senior technical marketing manager, UFSSPG, at Cisco Systems.

Best Risk Management Technology

Winner: SAS

Risk management technology has never been more important, and few things are more likely to keep CIOs awake at night than its provision, or lack thereof. In the wake of the financial crisis, major failures in policies, procedures and techniques for managing risks were exposed at many a bank, with an inability to identify and deal with risks across business lines and firms as a whole identified as a particular weakness.  

The exposure of these vulnerabilities led to some industry-wide changes, with many firms embarking upon extensive overhauls of their risk management operations to assuage investor and customer concerns. This was further compounded by another after-effect of the crisis: a drastic increase in regulatory requirements that have caused reporting and monitoring to become by-words across the industry.  

To meet these needs, SAS’s risk management for banking systems covers numerous risk types and data management and reporting functions. It is designed to allow different business segments to generate independent risk measures as well as providing firm-wide estimates with the aid of models and correlated aggregation techniques.

Each separate risk management module, from market risk to credit or anti-money laundering can be used individually, in any combination or as a whole, as and when needed.
Judges also singled out the firm for its support in installation and operations. “SAS has excellent consulting services to back its products and enable effective implementation,” said one.

“Risk solutions from SAS have benefited from investment in high-performance analytics supporting world-class information management with flexible, in-memory/on-demand consolidation and reporting,” says Mark Wilkinson, managing director, SAS UK & Ireland. “The continued uncertainty of both the global economic landscape and risk regulation provide a challenge and an opportunity to SAS. Our role is to help clarify the many factors our clients face so they can make fact-based decisions using an advanced, flexible risk architecture.”



Scope and scale are priorities too for Oracle, which clinched the commended spot in this category thanks to a risk management system that extends throughout business lines and functions, from operations to anti-money laundering.

Best Anti-Fraud/Crime Prevention Technology

Winner: Oracle

It has been a record year for financial crime, and not in a positive sense. In the UK alone, an unprecedented level of criminal activity led to fraudsters scooping £3.5bn ($5.53bn) from UK banks, customers, investors and government offices. Meanwhile, in the US, suspected instances of scams such as money laundering, consumer loan, debit card or mortgage loan fraud reached unprecedented highs, according to data from the country’s treasury department.

Preventing such activity and keeping pace with ever more sophisticated cyber-criminals requires the latest and greatest in monitoring and surveillance capabilities. Many of the same kind of capabilities, in fact, which make for strong risk management platforms. It should not, perhaps, be a surprise then, that the same two names – Oracle and SAS – which triumphed in that category, appear here too, albeit in reverse order.

Oracle offers a comprehensive financial crime and compliance management reporting platform which deals with fraud from end to end, including detection, prevention, investigation and resolution, across physical and virtual channels and different territories and businesses segments.

Importantly, it also manages this in real time, identifying and correlating connections between separate events and identifying suspicious patterns through real time cross-channel fraud and suspicious activity monitoring, along with industry-proven fraud prevention and interdiction capabilities.

“Oracle Financial Services Analytical Applications has made developments in helping banks expand their solution beyond silos to a more enterprise-based coverage of financial crimes and anti-fraud,” says S Ramakrishnan, group vice-president and general manager at Oracle Financial Services Analytical Applications. “Our strong architecture allows financial institutions to truly leverage resources and infrastructure to combat anti-money laundering and fraud and result in lower total cost of ownership.”



SAS financial crime prevention system for banking firms includes anti-money laundering, card fraud – where its system scores 100% of all transactions in real time – organised fraud rings, as well as automated clearing house, peer-to-peer and wire fraud.

Best Payments Technology

Winner: Fundtech

Few activities are more fundamental to banking operations than payments, but the intricacies and difficulties in catering for customer requirements in doing so are growing, even while regulatory complexity increases.

Demand has been increasing dramatically. According to CapGemini, RBS and the European Financial Marketing Association’s Global Payments Report 2011, data suggests the growth in global payments picked up again in 2010, with transaction volumes rising at almost 8%. Customers are looking for more too, with alternative channels proving popular and non-cash transactions climbing by as much as 37% in 2011 for some regions. Electronic payments are expected to grow globally to 30.3 billion transactions in 2013 from 17.9 in 2010, while mobile payments are expected to grow globally to 15.3 billion transactions from 4.6 billion in the same period.

Fundtech offers a number of comprehensive payment systems, which run the entire gamut of cash management, payment processing and fund transfers. Cost efficiency, security and dependability are unsurprisingly bywords for these operations.

As one banking CIO puts it: “Fundtech systems are built for performance and scalability and for core payments technologies such as payment hubs.” Features of the firm’s payments systems include real-time payment engines with internet-enabled cash and risk management features, as well as a major concentration on ease of use and adaptability.

Fundtech also stresses the role its team of banking and payments experts play in working alongside clients in implementation and ongoing support.

“Fundtech’s research and development investment into the Fundtech services platform enables the company to meet the financial industry’s increasing needs for systems that consolidate siloed operations, resulting in improved margins and end-user experience,” says the firm’s CEO, Reuven Ben Menachem. “Focusing on transaction banking means we can develop high-quality, reliable systems that cost less to operate and work better together.”



Logica caters to the same demands as Fundtech. Its payment systems offer the usual framework of business agility capabilities, allowing clients to make their own changes and modifications. Its platforms also boast all the features which users of a modern payment processing system have come to expect.

Best Trading Technology

Winner: Sungard

Volumes may not be what they once were in every market, but when it comes to trading technology, the arms race continues unabated. And for banks, catering to client requirements is becoming more and more demanding. Access to the fastest and most profitable algorithmic strategies, ultra-low latency connections, and the never-ending hunt for best execution, coupled with the increasing demand for new, more exotic asset classes, means that standing still is not an option.  

These demands are, of course, further compounded by the fact that the globalisation and fragmentation of financial markets continues unabated, meaning that international firms are increasingly keen to take advantage of assets beyond the close of local markets, improving integration, risk mitigation, global collateral utilisation and operational efficiency in the process.

Sungard is staying on top of all of these trends, and their trading technology provisions are sizeable to say the least, appealing to a broad spectrum of banking institutions. Through its global network of securities platforms, it offers access to 130 equities and derivatives markets across the world, allowing small institutions a worldwide business reach with a minimum of technical investment and the ability to adapt and access new markets quickly and easily.

Its execution capabilities are similarly comprehensive, helping improve execution quality and bring down costs and latency via agency-only execution services including a suite of algorithms, sponsored access and a sales trading desk. It also provides securities lending and correspondent clearing for the processing of cash equities and options, helping to deliver post-trade efficiencies.

“Over the past year, we have helped our customers prepare for the latest regulation changes, including the shift to central clearing of over-the-counter derivatives; manage the fragmented clearing landscape in Europe; and access the liquidity available in new trading venues and emerging and frontier markets around the world,” says Brian Traquair, president of SunGard’s capital markets business.



Fidessa also manages trade from end to end and provides multi-asset trading capabilities and market data and connectivity solutions to banks, ranging from major global players to boutique operations.

Best Post-Trade/Back-Office Technology

Winner: Sungard

Back-office functions have never been at the glamorous end of the trading spectrum, but it is fair to say that they have never been more important. The influx of post-crisis legislation, such as the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and its international equivalents, has meant that, particularly in foreign exchange, options and over-the-counter derivatives markets, the importance of post-trade processing has increased significantly. Without it, operational risk reaches untenable levels. Not to mention the fact that the process of settling and reconciling trades can be costly, error prone and time consuming, an unwelcome development in today’s cash-strapped climate.

Now, much more than an afterthought, this has become an area where very real competitive advantages can be gained from having the right infrastructure in place. This trend is only likely to go one way as volumes increase still further and regulatory demands become still more stringent.

Sungard’s post-trade compliance systems are designed to help institutional trading and order routing firms deal with risk and regulatory exposure while automating the post-trade process and helping banks achieve genuine straight-through processing throughout the trading lifecycle. Its features include the electronic receipt of trade confirms and trade affirmations, and support for electronic trade allocation transmission from managers to broker/dealers. It also integrates with existing technology while minimising failure rates and errors and helping to managing costs.

“SunGard has enhanced the ‘Stream’ suite of post-trade solutions to enable cleared over-the-counter processing and allow users to leverage well-established, tested technology that has already been integrated into the front-to-back workflow,” says Brian Traquair, president of SunGard’s capital markets business. “Where Stream is already an integrated solution, users can now have full, cleared over-the-counter processing with no additional expense for dedicated systems/operational staff or changes to the workflow or recovery procedures.”



Post-trade processing is also a strong point for Misys. The London-based firm offers systems designed to help banks and their buy-side clients to deal with operational risk, cut costs, and contribute to making their back-office functions a genuine competitive advantage.

Best Data Management Technology

Winner: Teradata

If there is one thing banks have a little too much of at the moment, it is undoubtedly data. Recent upheaval has meant that the need to collect, analyse and warehouse data is greater than ever before.

Swiftly evolving regulatory demands, as well as expanding numbers of customers, products, operational regions and delivery channels means that colossal amounts of data are being generated. And dealing with it is a matter of necessity in order to stay competitive and maintain or gain market share. There are opportunities too, however. Huge swathes of customer information means that opportunities exist to gain insight into usage and buying patterns.  

Teradata’s suite of data management technology is comprehensive, and splits into a number of different segments. At the most basic level, it is designed to allow banks to better manage data across the enterprise in terms of integration and analysis. The benefits that this can bring are extensive, not least of which is better risk management, allowing banks to make use of all data across the bank. It also allows proper channel management, so that the entirety of the customer channels can be monitored and accessed, as well as financial management, so that opportunities to improve returns on assets and capital can be easily spotted and use of resources maximised.

“Data are exploding in variety, volume and complexity. Customers’ business problems are more challenging and questions need to be answered faster, often in near real-time, just to stay competitive. We solve these problems for our customers enabling smarter decision-making,” says John Burke, Teradata’s vice-president, industry marketing and solutions.

“Teradata heavily invests in technology and people to develop the most advanced and complete family of data warehouse platforms, database, enterprise analytics, professional services and partner solutions.”



SAS Data Management provides a suite of tools designed to allow banks and other businesses to handle data as a valuable asset rather than a chore, to drive core operations processes as well as strategic decision making. It is focusing on helping its customers make full use of all incoming data to discover hidden insight and become more competitive

Best Technology Consultancy

Winner: IBM Global Business Services

As the other categories demonstrated, the myriad requirements which banking IT departments are subject to have multiplied in recent years. As technology becomes more and more of a competitive differentiator, IT projects and rollouts are reaching a level of complexity and scale never seen before, and mammoth technology overhauls can be beyond the capabilities and expertise of a standard IT department. At the same time, however, IT headcounts are frequently on the wane, as cost-cutting drives and “doing more with less” become a way of life.

The end result is that external expertise is more valuable than ever for even the largest of clients, because the ability to understand the most complex technologies and what they can bring to the business is absolutely crucial.

IBM Global Business Services group, which includes IBM’s consulting, systems integration and applications businesses, employs more than 100,000 professionals and the firm offers a broad selection of business consulting services through its financial industry-specific global practice. Its consultants focus on helping clients solve complex business and technical issues, from systems integration and application design to data centre transformation and enterprise architecture consulting. IBM won plaudits from the judges for its skill in applying proven technology, but also its innovative approach and ability to integrate its own project team with its customers.

In the banking world, it has been employed in implementing everything from business continuity and recovery systems to overhauling online banking platforms and human resources platforms.

“This industry recognition is a positive validation of IBM’s focus on our clients and the investments we’re making in growing our industry talent and expertise, solution portfolio and global network to deliver consistent, world-class services to our banking clients and to help them solve their top business challenges,” says Likhit Wagle, global banking and financial markets leader for IBM Global Business Services.



Accenture is another name well known in financial services for its technology consultancy skills. It works with banking and capital markets clients to help them meet operational and technological challenges providing a range of business solutions, outsourcing services and software.


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