Wow, 2020. What a year. I didn’t see that coming.
A year dominated so much by COVID-19. I had no idea what a global pandemic really meant. Being a Brit, I was desperate for something other than Brexit to dominate the news here. As it turned out, I would have happily endured an endless supply of Brexit news had I known what would knock it off the top spot of every news outlet and bulletin.
There was the tumultuous US election and changing dynamics in the global landscape that will soon transition again. A country divided by politics, as sharply divided as I can remember, and I am a keen watcher of all things US politics, having spent many years living there in my younger days.
A financial market that has been as detached from the reality of the world economy as it has ever been. One that is continually inflated not by real GDP data or even company balance sheets and performance but by central bank actions, easy money and cheap debt. I keep asking myself how sustainable it is, and the answer I reach every time is, unsustainable situations won’t be sustained. Then I watch the major equity indices tick higher to prove once and for all, what the hell do I know about anything?!
The reality, of course, for all of you as financial derivatives users is this increased volume has led to increased collateral velocity. This is where we are really helping clients with such an efficient, exception-based workflow platform. Our larger buy-side clients have also been able to use our platform for very important liquidity management, through optimising their pools of assets, which is critical in times of market stress and potential investor drawdowns.
The pandemic has clearly shaped so much of our lives. Lockdowns, the lockdown v2.0 and beyond. The real and horrendous human death toll. The heart-wrenching splitting of families from loved ones to protect people, the inability to be with dying relatives and grieve lost family members due to this horrible disease. The crushing economic impacts it has had on the livelihoods of so many people. Then there is a glimmer of light at the end of a very long, dark, bleak mid-winter tunnel. Vaccines, lots of vaccines with encouraging high efficacy rates. The promise of a return to something like a normal life that we had definitely come to take for granted, but boy when it’s taken away, we realise how lucky we were and hopefully will be again soon.
I have missed really the simplest things – socialising in groups with friends, colleagues, clients in bars and restaurants. I have missed travelling, which is strange because I had a reached a point where I was sick of travelling, felt like I was in an airport and on a plane far too much, but it turns out I miss it. I really do. I cannot wait to start flying around the world again to meet clients, industry associates and colleagues, and using Zoom way less.
The pandemic clearly has presented many challenges closer to home. The sudden shift to remote working for many in our industry was a shock that needed to be managed. On the whole, the industry adapted quite well. It hasn’t been a straight line, and for all the success stories, there have been challenges too. We speak to many organisations where their own complex and aging infrastructures introduced difficult-to-manage risks. One institution’s problems are another’s opportunity, and that’s certainly been the case for us. I am particularly proud of our CloudMargin team globally, which ensured that our clients didn’t miss a beat while handling their own transitions seamlessly and selflessly.
This environment has created a tailwind where we have been talking about the transformative impact of cloud-based, SaaS-delivered, modern technology as an enabler of change. It has reinforced that message. Something where we believed was maybe a 10-year journey of broad-based adoption has been accelerated to more like three to five years.
Industry-leading market participants believe it too. One of the many successes we experienced during the challenges of 2020 was to close a significant capital raise through a Series B funding round. Others have been the continued accumulation of industry awards. It’s just a shame we aren’t in the office to see their shiny features staring at us from our bulging trophy cabinet. 😊
I also take great pride in how we continue to grow our team. We have hired around 20 new folks around the world who join us on our exciting growth story. These new colleagues were interviewed, offered, onboarded and introduced to all their colleagues over Zoom. They have never set foot in our offices or physically met any of us but have come in and already made a positive impact on our working lives, culture and productivity. They also happen to be pretty cool people who, when all this finally ends, we will get to hang out with and have a beer or some other refreshing beverage.
Looking ahead, for us, it’s engaging with more of the industry to help you adopt the transformative technology that will allow you to comply with all the regulations around collateral management. It’s making sure our large and growing client base enjoys the best client service on offer to support your growing requirements wherever you are globally. CloudMargin gives you the tools to realise your vision of modernising your own processes and utilising cloud services to transform your way of doing business and find unprecedented efficiencies.
For the world, it’s hoping that we can have a smooth rollout of the vaccines, not just in the rich, developed countries but throughout the developing world too, that we do learn some of the lessons of 2020 and retain some of the kindness and support that has been visible throughout these challenging times. That some of the social movements that have gained traction can have real impact. That we can see some of the inequality that exists in today’s world narrow.
We at CloudMargin will do all we can to support you – our clients, our industry partners, our large pipeline of clients planning to adopt the platform over the next 12 months, our colleagues and our communities.
Wishing you good health and all the best for the holidays and hopefully, just hopefully, a more predictable and certainly much better 2021.
Warmest regards, Stuart Connolly CEO, CloudMargin