Abide Financial is based in London in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Its TransacPort solution provides innovative transactional processing services for U.K. financial services clients that require support for regulatory compliance reporting. The
firm chose to deliver TransacPort in the cloud with the Windows Azure platform. This allows it to cost-effectively scale on demand, and provides the company with the freedom to focus on enhancing and developing its services.
Abide Financial is a financial services organisation that provides sophisticated transaction reporting to clients in the U.K. It works with trading firms of all sizes—from large interdealer brokers to small proprietary trading businesses.
All U.K. financial trading companies are required by law to submit transaction reporting to the regulator through an Approved Reporting Mechanism (ARM). Reports are complex, involve significant amounts of data, and require extensive reconciliation work.
Many institutions have large teams for this work, and the financial penalties for non-compliance can be severe.
Collin Coleman, Managing Director at Abide Financial, is one of the founders of the company, which was established in 2011. He says: “Transactional reporting is a regulatory requirement, but it has no economic benefit for businesses. It’s expensive and time-consuming,
and businesses vary in terms of their expertise in managing compliance obligations. We wanted to create a comprehensive service offering that removes the burden of managing the regulatory reporting process from our clients. Understanding what to report is
one of the hard parts for firms. There are many grey areas, and if they get it wrong, the costs are high.”
Abide Financial wanted to differentiate itself by providing a service for businesses to submit their raw transactional data, rather than forcing them to adopt Abide Financial standards and processes. This data would then be checked for compliance and passed
on to the regulator in the appropriate format.
To deliver its services, Abide Financial created TransacPort, which provides transaction report validation and processing for financial services customers. TransacPort is delivered through the cloud on the Windows Azure platform, with customers uploading
their raw data through a secure web interface. The service generates reconciliation and exceptions alerts for transactions, ensuring that businesses send the right transaction report to the regulator.
The service uses Web and Worker roles in Windows Azure to cost-effectively scale computing resources as required. Web roles in Windows Azure provide a dedicated Internet Information Services (IIS) web server for hosting front-end web applications, while
the Worker role manages background processes. By separating Web and Worker roles, the Abide Financial development team is equipped to meet the company’s performance demands.
Coleman says: “We chose to build our Approved Reporting Mechanism service on the Windows Azure platform because of the scalability it offers us for large data volumes, as well as for its enterprise-level security and reliability. With Windows Azure, we can
tailor our compute capacity to meet this pattern without needing expensive machines that would be sitting idle for 80 per cent of the day.”
The scalable solution processes up to 2 million transactions per client per day and is purchased on a pay-per-use basis. “To achieve the same performance levels and reliability with an in-house data centre would’ve meant a huge capital investment and the
long-term running costs would be significantly higher,” says Coleman.
Abide Financial is in its second year and already has a solid customer base. With the Windows Azure platform, Coleman is confident that it can scale to accommodate growth, and in the meantime the development team is free to focus on enhancing services.
Scalable on demand. Coleman says: “We process between 10,000 and 500,000 outbound messages per client per day, and around 10 million inbound messages. But sometimes we don’t process much at all. The Windows Azure platform gives us the ability
to scale our service on demand, which is especially beneficial for us because our workloads tend to be uneven, in that we receive large batches at the end of the trading day.”
Cost-effective running model. One of the biggest drivers for choosing the Windows Azure platform to deliver TransacPort was its purchasing model. “What impressed me about Windows Azure is that we pay just for what we use. We avoided £100,000
in capital outlay because we didn’t have to create our own data centre. In addition, we don’t have idle servers that we pay ongoing maintenance, power, and cooling costs for,” says Coleman.
Focus on strategic development. The company’s short-term plans are to combine strategic growth alongside continuous service development. Its three developers are working on enhancing the web interface used by customers, adding functionality,
and enriching the user experience. “By delivering our service in the cloud through Windows Azure, we’re free to focus on making our business more competitive rather than using our resources maintaining physical computers,” says Coleman.
Enterprise-level security and reliability. Windows Azure comes with a 99.9 per cent uptime service-level agreement, which means little or no downtime. “Our customers demand a secure and reliable environment for their data and we feel Microsoft
is able to offer this,” says Coleman.
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