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Digital Transformation & Process Automation for Financial Services

pTools has been working quietly with a number of global exchanges for many years, yet many people are not fully aware of the breadth and depth of solutions we offer. As our company name suggests, we develop tools and software applications to help financial services institutions automate complex business processes. But that’s a bit like saying, you help your customers manage their investments. 

A more accurate description of pTools is, we help stock exchanges, banks and brokerages mitigate risk, increase efficiency and automation, and improve regulatory compliance and reporting. We partner with in-house teams and leverage our deep institutional knowledge, agile development capabilities and battle-tested software platform to deliver these results.

Or, in the words of one of our existing customers, a world-recognized stock exchange:

"The professionalism shown by pTools has been first class and we admire the tenacity shown by all involved to get the job done!"

Our goal with this blog post is to give you a snapshot of the markets we serve, the business needs we address, and our core services and areas of specialization. Future blog posts will cover these in greater depth, but feel free to reach out to us directly to speak live with one of our solution specialists.


pTools provides technology solutions and services to financial and regulatory organizations worldwide. Core markets served include NNAs, LOUs, CSDs, and stock exchanges providing some or all of these services.

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National Numbering Agencies (NNAs): Whether part of a stock exchange, a government-led numbering agency or a standalone entity, NNAs all face the challenge of issuing International Securities Identification Numbers (ISINs) in a timely manner, while ensuring data fidelity, accuracy, transparency and compliance. Since the broad adoption of the ISIN standards, and the ANNA governing body in 1989, hundreds of thousands of ISINs have been assigned to securities, managed by hundreds of financial organizations in over 120 countries. But even today, assigning ISINs and logging of all the data related to these securities is still one of the most challenging aspects of securities administration. Whether you’re the security owner, the financial institution processing the securities, or the agency issuing or administering ISINs, you can benefit from pTools Solutions, which incorporate technologies like natural language processing (NLP), blockchain, and digital forms to mitigate risk and increase regulatory compliance. From a process and organization perspective we can help you reduce your dependency on paper documents, emails, PDFs and spreadsheets through process optimization, digital workflows and blockchain-based notarization.

Local Operating Units (LOUs): Similar to NNAs, LOUs are tasked with issuing identification numbers - in this case LEIs. And as with ISINs, issuing LEIs can be a frustrating experience for both the issuer and LEI recipient as both parties struggle to find the necessary information and convert it into standardized data that can be ingested and validated by the LOU. Again, legacy processes, PDF, spreadsheet and paper-based ways of working, and a heavy human component translates into more time, more errors and more compliance risk in every transaction. While risk mitigation is most often the primary driver for bringing in a technology and process expert like pTools, the benefits extend far beyond compliance. With increased processing speed comes a revenue boost as more LEIs get issued in less time. And in this age of COVID-19, digital platforms like pTools represent the only viable way of transacting business across organizations and geographies while minimizing the health risk to your employees.

Central Securities Depositories (CSDs): While not directly tied to the issuing of ISINs, CSDs play a significant role in the free movement of securities around the globe by holding and transferring securities on behalf of government agencies, investment firms, banks and individuals worldwide. And they do so on a massive scale. In Europe alone over 83 million individual securities - with a combined value of over €55 trillion - are managed by the 42 members of the European Central Securities Depositories Association (ECSDA). In 2017, the most recent year of published data, ECSDA members processed over 400,000 new account requests. <Source: ECSDA website>. In the U.S., Fedwire Security Services holds securities valued at over $80 trillion. For CSDs, transaction speed is paramount and they need bulletproof systems and processes to meet the needs of their customers. The only way to handle the volume, complexity and risk associated with these transactions is through the use of technologies like pTools. 

Through the extensive use of natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, pTools Solutionscan also help increase the speed and completeness of deliverables such as market service data announcements or regulated news services. 

How Do We Work With Clients?

pTools takes a personalized consultative approach in our engagements with clients. We start with a foundational briefing and set of questions to establish the current state, and then work with you to come up with the best solution for your specific needs. This can cover the spectrum; some examples from prior projects include:

  • Augmenting in-house development and project management teams to help complete a solution rollout
  • Expanding the scope of an already-established system and set of processes to cover additional business areas - helping an exchange expand their existing digital solution for issuing ISINs to support the issuing LEIs
  • Strategic consultations to accelerate digital transformation
  • Green field, end-to-end development and delivery of a fully integrated, 100% digital solution

In all scenarios we find the greatest success happens when we work collaboratively with you to scope the project, and then revisit that scope and set of objectives on a regular basis to ensure we’re all still in alignment. 

What makes us different?

It takes a lot to deliver solutions of the scale and complexity required by financial institutions today. Like many other service providers we can provide the people, processes and technology to deliver a full end-to-end solution - but in our experience that’s rarely what large institutions need. Rather, they need a partner who understands the internal dynamics of large national institutions, has a firm grasp of the world of finance, and can separate hype from innovation when it comes to technology. These may seem like intangibles, but they show up at every stage of our relationship with clients, from the first briefing to the final API hook-up.

 To summarize our best traits: 

  • Customer first - we check our egos at the door and focus on solving your problems, not on selling solutions or technology
  • Collaborative approach - we work with you to get the job done to your satisfaction.
  • Battle-hardened platform that leverages the latest advances in Blockchain & Notarization, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Workflow & Forms Management
  • Highly experienced team of project managers, solution architects, software developers, deployment and implementation specialists, trainers, and service and support staff.

Conclusion

We’ve been at this for over a decade and we pride ourselves in getting the job done, whatever it takes. We’ve been there by the side of some of the largest financial institutions as they recovered from the financial crisis of 2008, rebuilt and grew their business with a new digital first mindset, helped implement technology projects small and large. And we’re still here today, helping old and new customers deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis and prepare for the great reboot. Reach out when you’re ready to learn more about how we can help you.