For anyone working in financial technology, the key issue for this year is how - and indeed when - the anticipated recruitment spree around regulatory requirements will come to fruition.
Regulatory impact dominated discussions at last week's TradeTech Europe conference - everything from how to regulate IT in the high frequency trading space to the effects of MiFID II on tech spend - and is a central topic in a wide-ranging report by State Street into the future of financial technology.
State Street suggests that the likes of valuations, risk management and central counterparty clearing are going to need substantial investment in technology in order to navigate the new regulatory environment:
This reality will require a rethink of technology. Ways to offer the best price or the best execution will need to be explored. For example, firms may rebrand themselves by offering better access to new clearing houses, new ways to properly allocate credit (such as cross-margining), and other technology-driven products and services. Some firms work to reinvent themselves and bring technology up to speed.
This all seems very exciting and technologists are understandably expecting new job opportunities to emerge. Unfortunately, this has yet to happen.
"We were anticipating a lot of regulatory-driven recruitment this year, but a generally muted appetite to recruit among financial services firms means this has yet to come into fruition," says Edward Ekins, managing consultant for financial technology at Twenty Recruitment. "I remain convinced that new opportunities will emerge towards the middle of this year."
Currently, firms are simply attempting to diverting technologists away front office projects and towards regulatory-driven initiatives, he says.