Travis Schwab – the CEO of Eventus – the global provider of state-of-the-art, at-scale trade surveillance software across all lines of defense – recently spoke to FinTech Global about the company’s journey in becoming a leading provider in trade surveillance.
Where did the idea for Eventus come from, was there a lightbulb moment?
The idea came from when I was looking at a new clearing firm for our proprietary trading business back in 2012. No bulge bracket was willing to clear us without going through their execution layer first because of the “risk.” In addition, I went out into the market to see if there was a way to audit the various risk tools we were using internally since you don’t get much instructive feedback from regulators. There wasn’t anything that could handle the frequency, volume and breadth of products we were trading that looked at risk across various axes, thus we started Eventus to create that capability.
Our trade surveillance software went live in 2015, taking shape over time based on our experiences and many conversations with early clients. This client feedback and collaboration remains the most important driving force of our innovation today.
To us, the new paradigm is that enterprise trade surveillance software must be adaptable and allow compliance teams to have a say in how their technology works for them.
What was the problem in the market Eventus wanted to solve?
The industry is faced with an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, and compliance teams are dealing with expanding data volumes and market volatility on top of personal liability if you get it wrong. Market manipulation not only harms market integrity but can put a firm’s business and reputation at risk, with time-consuming investigations, costly fines, and even criminal penalties. Supervisory and risk controls are increasingly nuanced.
Many firms were dependent on legacy surveillance systems, internal builds that can become outdated quickly or vendors that were not keeping pace with their needs. The technology that made sense for them years ago was no longer flexible or responsive to their challenges.
How is Eventus transforming trade surveillance?
We’re providing state-of-the-art enterprise trade surveillance across all lines of defense. Our technology is shaped by clients based on our conversations with them over many years, as well as through our collaborative service model. This relationship starts when we first listen to their challenges, and continues through onboarding, data ingestion, and then ongoing support and dedicated services. We believe this unlocks new avenues for business growth, drives efficiencies, and empowers our clients to focus on their core operations.
Along with trade surveillance, we also provide Algo Monitoring, so firms can detect potentially disruptive algorithmic trading, and Market Risk Controls that monitor whether a firm’s activities remain within approved pre-trade limits.
Breaking this down further, our software protects trading desks – the first line of defense – with real-time procedures that cover excessive messaging, duplication of orders, clearly erroneous events and risk limits. We empower the compliance team – the second line of defense – with customizable procedures that cover market manipulation across asset classes and global regions. We support the audit function – the third line of defense – with reports on order and trade data life cycles, and on how proficiently the surveillance team has resolved alerts.
How does the company differentiate itself from other solutions?
Our software has several features we are most excited about, including automations that clients can personalize so they can focus their attention on the most actionable alerts. We also have a library of comprehensive procedures that they use and customize. Clients tell us they appreciate the advanced analytics tools and reporting that help them with investigations.
Finally, our company’s expertise is essential to the overall experience. Our engineers alleviate the burden of data ingestion, and our regulatory experts are available for dedicated ongoing services and personalized development.
What was the biggest challenge the company has faced in its development and how did it overcome this?
Early in our history we had to prove our technology’s reliability to a handful of early, large clients. We leveraged our experience and connections to gain credibility, and then we started offering customized demos to those early prospective clients. Once they saw our product up close using their own data, they understood the power of the technology. To this day, about 80% of prospects who receive a custom demo become a client. We’ve grown to well over 100 clients globally.
Eventus has formed a number of partnerships this year, what makes Eventus an attractive partner?
Innovation is embedded in the core of our company, and it drives us to continuously refine and enhance our solutions. We invest heavily in research and development, and look for partners that can add capabilities to Validus, our product, to ultimately improve the user experience. Trade surveillance is our specialty, and we’re good at it. We seek partnerships with firms that do other things really well because we can’t do it all ourselves. Many of these partnerships feed into Validus’ architecture and our data engineering, and we share data via APIs. I think these partners turn to us because we’re a transparent company with reliable delivery.
How have customers reacted to the Eventus platform – what has growth been like?
Our clients are our strongest advocates, and feedback has been extremely validating. Our origin as practitioners has been vital to our success because that experience gives us empathy about what our clients face.
To support our clients’ bottom-line, Validus enables them to spend their time investigating the most actionable alerts with efficient analytic tools and reporting. Compliance teams are faced with increasing data volumes and more market and regulatory complexity. They need the ability to focus. Our technology is designed for that.
Our growth has been inspiring and a reflection of our employees’ commitment to clients. We have more than 100 client companies across the finance industry, with nearly 40% of our revenue last year coming from outside the U.S. We’re gaining strong traction in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa. We have also extended into Latin America.
What are the company’s growth plans for the next year?
We are focused on our core areas of strength and following through to grow with our clients. We continue to add clients in the U.S., and we are doing more with existing clients as they take on new lines of business and asset classes.
We see increasing demand and growing partnerships in EMEA and APAC across a diverse range of firms, including in digital assets. Regulators around the world are pushing compliance teams to examine their trade surveillance to make sure they have refined their systems based on new risks. This presents a growing global need for what we do at Eventus.
We’re expanding our product, too, with a new user interface, new architecture, and increased application of AI.
Are there any product launches Eventus has coming – can you share any details about this and why firms should be excited?
We are excited to roll out our new user interface (UI). This enhancement includes improving our alert interface and workflow management, as well as upgrading our investigative tools and visualizations. This will give clients even faster surveillance insights, streamlined cockpit management, improved alert investigation and case-building features.
The technology that underpins Validus is already battle-tested in large, high-volume trading firms. But data challenges are constantly evolving. This is why the Eventus engineering team is phasing in our next-generation of technical architecture. This will enable us to both grow with our clients and continually evolve with new and improved features like cross-product capability, dynamic parameterization, behavioral analytics and expanded use of machine learning.
Why should a company work with Eventus?
Because we address a vital need in the marketplace and are proven specialists in this field. A recent industry report by Acuiti found that 60% of compliance leaders had recently invested or are considering investing in trade surveillance technology. This indicates that the need to upgrade technology will continue to be top of mind for many in our industry.
Companies should also partner with us because we are equipped to grow with them. We can tailor what we provide to fit their needs, including rapidly scaling for growth. Compliance teams need to be able to expand what they handle and not act as an impediment to growth. We’re able to help compliance teams meet the expanding needs of their growing companies.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Trade surveillance is vitally important to our industry, and we believe it is essential to invest early in a comprehensive system that is flexible and responsive to meet the needs of your firm. It is a combination of art and science, and only by working with expert practitioners can you build sufficient layers of protection for you and your firm.
Our team is ready to start a conversation with those looking to reexamine how they do trade surveillance. Within firms, there are highly skilled compliance experts who really know their existing software and their data. It’s sometimes useful to get a different perspective on how problems can be solved and we’re always open to having that discussion.
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