FIA Expo 2023: Eventus CEO Travis Schwab on Trade Surveillance, Crypto Demand Amid Bear Market

The FIA Futures & Options Expo is a premier event in the derivatives trading industry. Beyond just being a networking platform, the FIA Expo offers a comprehensive program of panel discussions, educational sessions, and exhibitions, providing participants with valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration.

FinanceFeeds Interviews - FIA EXPO 2023

Today is truly special as we bring to you an executive whose leadership and vision are driving innovation in the realm of financial market compliance. At the helm of Eventus Systems its CEO, Mr. Travis Schwab, is transforming the way firms approach trade surveillance, market risk, and financial compliance.

A year has passed since Travis was last on the show with FinanceFeeds, and it has been a year filled with remarkable growth and promising opportunities for Eventus.

FinanceFeeds Editor-in-Chief Nikolai Isayev began the interview by addressing Eventus’s recent awards, specifically pointing out the company’s recognition at the FOW Asia Capital Markets Awards presented by Global Investor Group. He inquired about the factors contributing to the widespread acceptance that Eventus stands as a leading entity in the realm of market surveillance solutions.

Travis Schwab responded by expressing gratitude for the acknowledgment of Eventus’s achievements. He pointed out that the awards they’ve been picking up from all over the world in various asset classes are a clear sign of the team’s passion and hard work.

Over the previous decade, Eventus has focused on trade surveillance, algorithmic monitoring, and associated risk applications, aiming to cement its reputation as a leader in the trade surveillance domain. Schwab asserted that this commitment and expertise are evident not only in their diverse product lineup but also in their delivery methods and content offerings. As they venture into newer regions, these accolades play a role in validating their expertise and assuring both current and prospective clients of their proficiency.

Nikolai Isayev broached the topic of Eventus’s recent update to their user interface (UI), referencing the popular saying “don’t fix what ain’t broken” to infer that despite their commendable performance, Eventus chose to innovate. He sought clarity on the rationale behind this new release and any other modifications to the platform.

Travis Schwab acknowledged the sentiment but underscored Eventus’s philosophy of striving for betterment. He pointed out that the landscape of trade surveillance is in a constant state of flux, with clients perpetually having to adjust to shifting rules and regulations. Schwab explained that their platform handles a massive amount of data. After taking in this data, it’s analyzed, runs through different processes, and eventually produces alerts that need a closer look.

The updated user interface was designed to streamline the whole process, says the Eventus CEO. The design focuses on key areas, allowing clients to customize their views and quickly address potential problems. Schwab mentioned that the main aim of this update is to boost day-to-day efficiency for their clients, especially considering the growing number of alerts and rules they have to keep an eye on. He also highlighted that with the new UI, Eventus is making it easier for clients to handle these alerts more quickly and effectively.

Nikolai Isayev also questioned Eventus’s recent progress in the Asia market and its future expansion plans.

In response, Travis Schwab confirmed that while Eventus has indeed seen substantial growth in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, including new clients in Taiwan and Australia and an amplified presence in regions like Hong Kong and Singapore, this is just the beginning for the company.

Schwab added that understanding the individualized norms of each country within APAC is crucial due to their diverse rules and regulations. However, Eventus’s aspirations aren’t limited to just APAC. The company is also setting its sights on the EMEA region, especially Europe and the Middle East while acknowledging that there are further opportunities for growth in the U.S.

Schwab revealed that Eventus’s strategy is anchored in two main objectives: diversifying across various asset classes and continuing to expand geographically. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, especially in sectors like fixed income, foreign exchange (FX), and crypto, Eventus identifies these as golden opportunities to implement their expertise and provide solutions.

Nikolai brought up an observation about the rising interest in trading emerging markets or local currencies, especially in the Middle East. He asked if this trend correlates with a growing demand for surveillance products like those provided by Eventus.

Travis confirmed this observation, highlighting that many exchanges are pushing for increased transparency and regulation to appeal to a broader, international customer base. As a result, these exchanges are collaborating with companies like Eventus to upgrade their infrastructure and focus on high standards of compliance, making their markets more attractive to global investors and traders. He cited recent trips to Dubai and Johannesburg, reflecting that the firm sees both the Middle East and regions like South Africa as flourishing emerging markets and is optimistic about the potential they hold.

Nikolai recalled their prior discussion about Eventus’s increasing presence in the digital asset sector, with many companies joining the Validus platform. He asked Travis about his perspective on the recent developments in the cryptocurrency market and whether there has been a decline in demand. Additionally, Nikolai was interested in the distinctions Travis observes between traditional financial clients and those dealing in digital assets at Eventus.

Travis metaphorically compared the current state of the cryptocurrency world to a musical piece that hasn’t stopped but has lowered its volume. He acknowledged the remarkable rise in the digital asset class in recent years, boosting the demand for Eventus. This increase was influenced by their partnership with leading crypto exchanges, marking Eventus as a major player in this sector. Now, with fluctuating trade volumes, some of these exchanges are revisiting their strategies, while others are expanding their offerings and adding new asset classes. Travis emphasized the instability in the sector due to inconsistent regulatory guidelines across different regions, yet he remains hopeful about its future and expects a resurgence in activity.

Regarding the differences between traditional and digital asset clients, Travis mentioned that they aren’t significantly distinct from a surveillance perspective. Both sectors show comparable trading behaviors, and even though digital asset exchanges have unique challenges, like constant operation and handling vast amounts of data the Eventus Validus platform addresses, the core issues of market manipulation are consistent in both worlds, irrespective of the financial sector.

Wrapping up our chat, Nikolai touched on the rise of AI across industries and its impact on market regulators. He wondered how this growing AI presence might present hurdles for market surveillance companies like Eventus, especially if traders start using AI more for algorithmic trading or to ramp up their trading speeds. On top of that, he was curious about how Eventus is bringing AI into the mix to better its offerings for clients.

Travis acknowledged the pivotal role of machine learning in assisting Eventus clients with alert processing over the years. He highlighted the importance of deploying the right AI technology for specific scenarios, as no universal solution applies across the board. He mentioned newer AI developments, such as large language models, which can be game-changers when used right. Eventus is currently exploring these, trying to match the right tech with the best use cases. Down the line, they’re looking to weave these innovations into what they offer to their clients.

Nevertheless, Travis highlighted the challenge of “explainability” from a client’s viewpoint. Given that actions taken today might be assessed by regulators later on, it’s crucial for users to be able to clearly explain actions, whether they’re manual or automated by the system, particularly concerning alerts. The inability to provide a solid rationale for an automated decision during regulatory scrutiny can pose issues. Regulatory bodies are increasingly examining the utilization of such technologies and stressing the importance of transparency in automated decision-making.

Travis also highlighted the importance of data privacy. He noted that some AI models might not always stick to tight privacy standards, which raises concerns regarding the confidentiality of client data. For Eventus, it’s key to smartly blend these technologies in, making sure they work as intended but also keep data safety and clarity at the forefront. Overall, Travis was positive about the prospects of AI but emphasized the need to roll it out thoughtfully, always keeping data considerations in mind.

Eventus provides state-of-the-art, at-scale trade surveillance software across all lines of defense. Its powerful, award-winning Validus platform is easy to deploy, customize, and operate across equities, options, futures, foreign exchange (FX), fixed income, and digital asset markets. Validus is proven in the most complex, high-volume, and real-time environments of Eventus’ rapidly growing client base, including tier-1 banks, broker-dealers, futures commission merchants (FCMs), proprietary trading groups, market centers, buy-side institutions, energy and commodity trading firms, and regulators. Clients rely on the platform, coupled with the firm’s responsive support and product development, to overcome their most pressing trade surveillance regulatory challenges. For more, visit www.eventus.com

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