Our industry on the cusp of change

By Paul Humphrey, CEO of BMLL Technologies

First published in The Financial Technologist, 28 March 2022

“We haven't been through two years of a pandemic to learn nothing. I want to take the very best of what we've learned through the experience and put that into our working lives.”

We are absolutely thrilled that BMLL Technologies has been recognised by Harrington Starr as one of ‘The Most Influential Financial Technology Firms’ of 2022, paving the way for exceptional industry innovation. I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on events of the past year, as well as looking forward and touching on issues which I feel strongly that we, as an industry, need to change.

Scaling up: Positioning for growth

2022 will be a big year for BMLL. Establishing an award-winning data and analytics company operating at the cutting edge of capital markets takes a long time to build. So after being in ‘build’ mode for many years, in 2021 we emerged from ‘stealth’ mode by refreshing and aligning our strategy. Going forward, 2022 is BMLL positioned for growth.

Over the past year, we established that our product solves the specific problems our markets face, and we have doubled our revenue as a result. We have gained a new clientele made up of global banking, hedge fund, broking and exchange clients, all of which we're extremely proud of. We also gained a number of US-based clients which fits in nicely to our 2022 growth plans around establishing a US office. We have been really pleased to see our existing clients continue to grow with us, meaning they are using an increasing number of our services, and we are expanding as a result. In order to be closer to our clients in the City, at the beginning of 2022 we were fortunate to have moved into fantastic new offices in Old Street, otherwise known as the Silicon Roundabout, the beating heart of Fintech.

We added some new people to our team in 2021 and have continued to invest heavily in our talent. I’m a huge believer that early stage companies, like BMLL, need to focus resources on training their staff, because as much as I’m really proud of our technology, our people are our greatest asset. As part of our ambitious growth plans for 2022 and beyond, there will be a recruitment drive, so we'll be looking for other wonderful people to come and join BMLL. One of the things that has helped us in that quest, and of which I am immensely proud, has been winning the Harrington Starr Award for 'Best Workplace for financial technologists'.

Building a diverse pool of talent

As an industry, we need to make sure that we take great advantage of the entire talent pool that is available. At BMLL, I want to continue to drive diversity through our organisation - not just for diversity’s sake. I want to bring in different people with different ideas that can bring something distinctive to the organisation. This means my hiring managers are encouraged to quite literally hire people who are dissimilar to them and can come at things from a different angle. At BMLL we’ve got a wonderfully eclectic mix of 20 nationalities. Admittedly, hiring female talent specifically on the technology side has been a challenge, not just for BMLL but for many other companies as well. In 2021 we managed to make good inroads with this, but we've still got a long way to go. I want to encourage more women to come and join the exciting journey we're on here, but also as a wider message, encourage more women to join the fintech and data science arena because I believe it's a brilliant place for them to work.

I think going forward, our industry also needs to focus on geographically expanding its hiring pool, since the days of being physically located in an office have passed. I feel strongly that if companies can't offer flexibility they are not going to attract the best people. It's that simple. So I wish the very best of luck to those leaders of my generation who want to remain stuck in the dark ages, because I don’t believe they will attract the top talent with that approach. We haven't been through two years of a pandemic to learn nothing. I want to take the very best of what we've learned through the experience and put that into our working lives. What that means in practice is making sure a working hybrid environment is set up, incorporating top-notch AV and sound equipment.

ESG and Sustainable Trading

Improving the ESG performance of financial markets trading firms is another area where the industry needs to change. As a data analytics company, we store huge quantities of data and we draw insight from it by engineering that data. But since BMLL offers data science as a service, firms can now access this central pool of information that was once the preserve of only the most sophisticated global firms. Because BMLL has built a sizable data warehouse and provides all the storage and compute power centrally, this removes the need for firms to build this out themselves. By providing data science as a service, we are mutualising that carbon footprint across the financial services industry.

We are determined to play our part in shaping how we respond to the ESG challenges we face as an industry. That is why BMLL is one of the founding members of the Sustainable Trading initiative, which aims to drive positive change in the financial markets trading industry by helping firms improve the ESG performance of their trading businesses. Getting involved with the Sustainable Trading initiative from the start has been a strategic decision for us. ESG is at the forefront of our minds, not only in terms of the environmental aspect of BMLL’s operations, where our products are built for sustainability from the outset, but also in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity of thought and skills is key to our growth and recruitment drive.

The value of wellness

Ultimately, we are proud to be part of the Sustainable Trading initiative, because we want to work with companies that share our values. When it comes to attracting talent, as much as people are interested in flexibility, they also care about values. What do we, as a company, care about? We must face the fact that what we have been through in the past two years has affected the nation's mental health. It is essential that we care about the wellness of our people. And that is something that I will never compromise on.