Kersi Tavadia, CIO, Bombay Stock Exchange, discusses new initiatives and the road ahead.
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is getting into new markets with a range of offerings. IT will play a critical role in effectively delivering these products and services to customers. In an exclusive interview Kersi Tavadia, CIO, BSE, spoke to us about the exchange’s plans and the challenges that lie ahead.
Where are the markets headed today? In terms of IT what are your plans moving forward?
Like previous years, Indian capital markets will continue to witness many new developments in the coming years with crucial structural changes being brought in. One such change is that of a Universal Exchange wherein the exchange can offer trading across various asset classes/segments—Equity, Equity Derivatives, Currency Derivatives, Commodity Derivatives—as opposed to earlier bifurcation of stock exchange and commodity exchange. In view of this, we started offering trading in commodity derivatives products in October 2018 and became India’s first universal exchange offering trading across diverse asset classes. Our BSE StAR MF platform has been very successful in developing the mutual fund investments culture. We will also launch a platform for insurance. So even insurance will be available via distributers through an exchange platform. All these business initiatives require a robust, scalable and reliable technology infrastructure.
How do you see the BSFI sector coping with digital transformation?
BSFI is the fastest adopter of new technologies. The financial sector is the first to adopt any new technology that comes to India. Whether it is in the area of big data, analytics, and security, among others, the financial sector has been at the forefront of deploying new technology.
In terms of cloud adoption, BSFI as a sector is still a bit wary.
There are concerns to be fixed when talking about cloud. Cloud as a technology is good, but it has its own nuances and there are certain challenges and issues also. The technology is yet to mature from a regulatory standpoint not merely the technical standpoint. Service providers will have to answer a lot of questions. Once people know the answers and the solutions available, cloud adoption will be much faster. Cloud solutions have been available in many countries, but regulatory challenges have been a concern.
How can BSE better support a retail investor? Is there a tech angle to it?
We have a number of direct initiatives for retail investors. These include BSE chatbot, trending updates on BSE website, etc. We are also providing newer technologies, terminals, and easy-to-use interfaces for brokers, which further help them service their customers.
What are the new technologies you are looking at?
As a part of our continuous endeavour to enhance and upgrade the technology infrastructure, BSE is always on the look out for new technologies. For example, we looked at AI and machine learning three years ago to explore how we could capture the humungous information floating in digital media. We conceptualised BSE’s social media analytics system using big data architecture and AI for a very crucial regulatory activity of monitoring news with respect to companies listed and traded on the trading platform.
Have you made the transition from predictive to prescriptive analytics?
Yes. We analyse certain types of data and user patterns and determine if there are any market participants who are trying to do anything that is not as per the regulatory rules. Earlier this data would be analysed much later as batch processing. But now we can do it in real time and take action.
What are the other business challenges you’re trying to address in 2019?
One of the biggest challenges is data security. Data is just exploding. Every new business we get into will require us to focus on how to optimise the data. The new privacy laws make it even more challenging. We are always on the radar from a cyber attack point of view. So investing in a lot of security measures will be one of our main areas of focus.