A core function of Operations is to control and manage the processing of trades made by the various other divisions of the bank – chiefly Sales and Trading. Operations also oversees many regulatory requirements of the bank, as well as resolving discrepancies in trades. Much of its work also needs to take place 24 hours a day 7 days a week, in different markets and different time zones. In many instances, therefore, Operations adopts a ‘follow-the-sun’ model to ensure processes are able to work continuously around the globe.
Everything sales and trading do post-trade (after they’ve executed a trade and put it into their system) is pretty much down to Operations. That includes all of the trade confirmations, right the way down to settling trades and passing funds between counterparties, as well as booking the profit and loss to the Finance team.
Typically operations is split into a number of areas, that normally include:
Trade Processing & Support
Various processes are required to take each transaction or transfer-of-ownership (in the case of securities such as bonds and shares) to completion. Firstly funds must be cleared. Next the confirmation of ownership must be confirmed - or ‘settled’. Finally the transaction needs to be reconciled, which means it’s documented and reported.
This area involves trouble-shooting problems with internal systems, and looking to streamline the process of settling transactions. One part of Operations Control might be checking data is being effectively communicated from the front office to other areas of the bank. Another might be the measuring and reporting of any operational risks that could arise within the systems in place.
This area speaks directly to clients to help resolve transaction settlements at their end, offering advice and support, and providing information to clients about what’s happening with their trades.