Avoid Financial Glitches with well-tested Integrated Trading Platforms

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Integrated Trading Platforms (ITPs), equipped with advanced trading tools, provide opportunities to trade seamlessly in equities, currencies & commodities. These are multi-asset trading platforms which are trusted to provide reliable performance 24×7. Given the tremendous volume of concurrent transactions which are executed through these platforms, it is imperative that the system is stable & secure at its peak performance and is compatible with the user-device’s  operating system and network carrier combinations.

An ITP is a perfect example on an intricate relationship between business and technology. Add the inclusion of the Mobile initiatives and the ITP is a 24/7 financial activity enabler ‘on the go’. What sets the platform apart from other IT initiatives is the sheer scope of real time data absorption and communication with absolutely real implications to customers, companies and markets.

In addition to the technical experts and decision makers in the BFS verticals, this blogpost holds equal relevance to stock brokers, banks, financial regulators and most importantly, customers.

Get the ITP Security sanitized

While security is a compelling concern for any IT initiative, it is definitely a top priority business requirement for ITP which consolidates real time financial information and enables transactions in real time.

Security vulnerabilities which are inherent to the ITP tend to go undetected. During certain scenarios of the external interfaces, these inherent vulnerabilities become active and pose a threat to the security. In addition, the access of the ITP from mobile devices makes it a vulnerable to penetration from a wider device range and usage scenarios. And with IPOs being listed, huge multiples of regular concurrent load gets on ITPs. Quality and stability then becomes significant differentiators for a greater buy-in for the Integrated Trading platforms.

Get the ITP’s Compatibility validated

ITP exists across the mobile and desktop landscape and is expected to offer a consistent experience on the combination of devices that are used by the customers. This makes compatibility a decisive factor in the acceptance of the platform, usage, conversions and a consolidated of a wider customer base.

Get the ITP’s Performance assessed

On September 15, 2014, South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange experienced a system failure and caused a two hours stoppage.

Source: JSE Stoppage – http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKBN0HA0IX2014091

Apart from the scheduled trade times which vary with the time zones and stock markets, most of the other features like information updates, estimates, preview, research reports and transfer options are functional 24×7. These characteristics of ITP give rise to situations where concurrency in customer interactions can be expected 24×7. In case of incidents like stock price rise or fall, ITP not only needs to be real-time but also need to sustain huge loads of buy-sell transactions.

Get the ITP’s functionality validated

August 2012, a major trading firm roiled the prices of 140 stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The cited reason was an unspecified technological break down.

Source: Nyse glitch halts markets – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/new-york-stock-exchange-glitch-volatility-halted_n_1728549.html

The financial services of an ITP include transactions with an enormous combination of trade/purchase rules, brokerage charges per certain amount of shares, percentage of rise/fall etc. Thus the rule configuration and communication is a decisive factor for all the stakeholders. In a way, every transaction needs to be supported by a reliable yet smart calculator to contain the minimum as well as maximum limits.

Get the ITP’s UI validated

An ITP enables transactions among customers, financial institutions, consummation of mutual funds, purchase, sale, dividends etc. The UI is the critical area with input fields and execution options that keep the stakeholders engaged. Testing the web and mobile UI is crucial to ensure the ITP offers error free digital interactions.

Get the ITP’s regression test automated

ITP supports the operations in the financial markets which are highly volatile. The financial information is updated real-time, daily, monthly, quarterly and annual intervals.

From rapidly fluctuating share prices to a 52 week performance, the list of stocks in profit/loss and activity, ITP has to make it conducive for the stakeholders to update and to stay updated 24/7.

Much of the surprise defects tend to be introduced at or during the updates of the features, interface options of data management. This is why a regression test automation framework that leverages the right tool set and incorporates the emerging changes goes a long way in making the ITP stable, reliable and manageable.

Get the ITP tested

Despite “widespread anticipation that the Facebook IPO would be among the largest in history with huge numbers of investors participating, a design limitation in Nasdaq’s system to match IPO buy and sell orders caused disruptions to the Facebook IPO. Nasdaq then made a series of ill-fated decisions that led to the rules violations,” – SEC Statement on Nasdaq

Source: SEC Slaps fine in NASDAQ – http://www.cnbc.com/id/100736915#

In August 2013, a technical glitch in an internal computer system  of Goldman Sachs (GS) caused the firm to issue incorrect equity options orders to various options exchanges.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/21/investing/goldman-sachs-trading-glitch/index.html?iid=EL

The business scenario can be simplified into one application connecting multiple stakeholders, enabling multiple transactions and incorporating updates in real-time. The margin of error is expected to be reduced across all the processes and operations. Given the implications of defects in such a volatile environment, the ideal solution would be to make the ITP testable.

Testability increases the visibility of the defects in the platform before, during and after the scenarios are executed. This strengthens the risk mitigation strategies, accelerates testing and improves the precision of the remedial measures.