In March of 2012, BNP Paribas launched the “CORTEX” platform in Asia with the full knowledge that the team would be entering a fiercely competitive market. In spite of this, CORTEX has already captured a significant share of the market, proof of an astounding 18 months of business. Luke Waddington, BNP Paribas’ global co-head of electronic markets, fixed income, credits this success to the efficient, user-friendly delivery of complex technology. “CORTEX has no instruction manual,” he points out, emphasising the technology’s deliberate design to simplify how clients navigate within and use the platform. The result is a highly sophisticated cross-asset trading platform with an intuitive 21st century design that offers a comprehensive range of electronic products, tools and services.
A key factor in CORTEX’s development was the focus on innovation rather than on keeping up with competitors’ offers. “When we were developing CORTEX it was important to appreciate the private banker’s experience, what they require from the platform and how they use it,” explains Waddington. It was with this in mind that CORTEX introduced the “App Store” concept to the platform, so that users could personalise their technology. “When we talk to new users, we sit with them to find out their own client journey,” continues Waddington. “When they have started on this
journey they can then customise by building their own unique trading environment by selecting the application they need.”
While disruption is clearly at the heart of CORTEX’s design, existing relationships remain essential to its private banking users and its developers have attempted to create a synergy between the two. “Telephone conversations and the balance between those relationships and electronic relationships are still and will continue to be key,” confirms Ashvin Parkash, BNP Paribas’ head of eFX sales, Asia Pacific.
However, Waddington regards CORTEX as a continuous work-in-progress. “No one has got it completely right for private banks yet,” he asserts. “There are a lot of disparate parts which work adequately enough, but not an all-encompassing tool which encapsulates them. The aim for the future is to work on creating a more cohesive workflow tool.” With the scramble for dominance in technology an ever increasing priority for service providers, private bank gatekeepers have recognise this achievement by voting CORTEX Best Single-dealer Platform Provider of Structured Products.