Recent Work: Firm58- Site Redesign

Like the cobbler’s children who go without shoes, I’ve always been the Designer without a proper portfolio site. There’s a few reason’s for that.

  • One is having the time to put the design and code together.
  • Two is being able to come up with the right look and feel for myself. (It’s difficult to see the forest through the trees)
  • Third is the hard part of sticking to that look and feel long enough for the site to make it to the web. You should see all the site designs I have for myself!

So, until I can resolve the above I’m going to start mixing in screen captures of the things I’m working on (when I’m not on Twitter that is 😉 )

Below is some sample work for Firm58, a Financial Management Software company. We’ve been working with them to not only completely redesign their website but also develop the story that they tell to the market about how they can make a difference in the post-trade process. To compliment both of these efforts we’ve additionally created email campaigns and banner ads with more efforts planned. They’re really poised to change the trading industry with the software they’ve developed and we’re making sure that people in this industry realize just how much they need the solutions Firm58 offers.

Below is a snippet of that story and the homepage designs I created this week. The idea behind the design and copy is to be direct, yet powerful. The main section was designed with the intention to tell the visitor ONE amazing thing about Firm 58– what it does, what it can do–in just a matter of moments, and without having them click to another page.

With the exception of perhaps Charels Schwabb, financial industry work tends to be dry, heavy and generally uninteresting from a visual standpoint. What I wanted to do here was give them a fresh, bright and open interface that allows the message(s) to take the stage. By leveraging iconography throughout the secondary pages we bring attention to the most important points without over complicating the design. I’m a huge fan of the idea that less is more and especially when you’re talking about something as complex as the post-trade precess that mantra is relevant more than ever. This is still a work in progress at this point but work that I’m quite happy with and wanted to share. Perhaps later I can show some earlier iterations to show more of the process we’ve gone through to get to this point.

What’s the problem?
The problem is that the pre-trade world is evolving rapidly, the post-trade world isn’t evolving. The giant (and seemingly overnight) leap from analog to digital trading coupled with the explosion of high-velocity electronic order and execution systems has resulted in a higher degree of speed and efficiency within the pre-trade process resulting in reduced transaction costs, greater liquidity, increased transparency, and greater global competitions. Good for the front office, not so good for the back. These seismic changes have, literally, fractured the financial supply chain, and created a dynamic imbalance between these two worlds. Think about it: it takes only seconds to place an order. And yet, it  can take 30 days to process it. Maybe longer.  That creates a log-jam, which, over time, could be detrimental to the entire financial enterprise.

The spread sheet is an easy target, and is commonly labeled ‘the enemy;’ but it’s not really the enemy. The cumbersome, often times manual process that (brokerages, trading firms, FCMs) use to manage and service the post-trade business are at the root of the problem. It’s a problem Firm58 has identified and remains committed to solving for its partners to increase revenue, efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.

How bad is it?
Well, it’s pretty bad. It’s a pervasive condition, and affects all parts of the industry’s system. Unprecedented advancements in the pre-trade world have introduced a level of complexity and volume that legacy post-trade systems simply cannot handle or manage. Additionally, in-house systems are notoriously inflexible and wildly expensive to maintain, requiring ongoing investments and resources dedicated to activities that may not be core to your business. Remarkably, many of the processes used to manage and service the post-trade (billing, expense, compensation, soft dollars) are, again, still handled manually, which promotes delays and increases the margin of error. And together, that spells doom for anybody attempting to compete in the whizz-bang era of 24/7 trading, where speed, accuracy and daily visibility are the only things that count.

As margin pressure increases, and threats of compliance requirements continue to rise, the demands on an already taxed back office continue to mount.  And when the back office fails, the front office fails. (Kill the body, and the head dies.) That’s a situation where everybody loses. It’s not surprising, then, that post-trade innovations are top of mind in the marketplace, and are poised to be a key value driver for the capital markets industry. Firm58 is in  a unique position to help its partners capitalize on this heightened focus on post-trade activities, pulling focus on solutions; and sharing our wealth of experience and insight to, simply put, help you manage your business better.

What are we doing about it?
We’re fighting the good fight, every day, for our partners and our industry. Because, it’s not enough to comment on a problem and walk away. Anybody can do that. From the moment we were founded in 2005, we have worked tirelessly to identify and solve complex problems in our industry that, truth be told, are only going to get more complex; to mend a painful fracture that runs from the front office to the back office; and to create efficiencies that make our partners more profitable.  In less than five years, we have made quite an impact.

We are changing the way people think about the post-trade process, by developing new ways to think about the post-trade process; we have placed a very high premium on the commodity of time, the one resource nobody every seems to have enough of, and figured out how to get it to work for not against you; and we develop revolutionary products that are extensions of who we are, what we believe. And… that work as hard as we work (if not harder!)


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