Communication is key to growth

Stephen Morrow, Options

Options: Best Managed Services Provider – Cybersecurity continues to top the list of challenges the hedge fund industry is facing and the key to tackling it is being prepared and ready to react. Transparent and frequent communication is also more important than ever.

“Preparing for and even just being able to identify an indicator of compromise (IOC) is a question of data,” explains Stephen Morrow (pictured), chief operating officer, Options Technology, “typically, this involves the generation, handling, parsing and manipulation of vast amounts of data. The right tools, automation and AI are critical to carry this out. Being able to and knowing how to react to an IOC requires a great team with the right experience. It’s the application of knowledge and wisdom.”

Over the course of the past year, Options focused on three areas in which it has seen significant changes in activity, demand or technology change. The first of these is cybersecurity. Morrow outlines: “Activity has increased dramatically, and we have brought a new range of products and services to market to address this.”

The second area of focus has been co-location, as Options also noted the continued demand and added a raft of new markets and locations in this space. The firm’s managed co-location services include the delivery of direct market data and order entry, co-located servers, bespoke networks, time services, and client and counterparty connectivity. 

The third key focus area for Options has been multi-cloud, “Multi-cloud is also helping many of our clients to see actual value from the cloud. In view of this we have been able to provide them with a more deterministic pricing, performance and operational model to wrap around cloud deployments,” Morrow comments.

Communication has been the lynchpin of the Options strategy to deploy its expertise and support clients. Morrow elaborates: “We have worked harder than ever on our communications outreach; especially using it to be transparent with our team and clients. 

“Through 12 months of uncertainty, we made and communicated decisions and rationale through frequent internal blogs and video calls. This became embedded within our culture and we decided to publish these blogs on our public site and take every chance to speak with clients via video.”

Morrow is confident this interaction will serve Options well: “As long as we keep talking to each other and to our clients, we will remain aligned and build on the firm’s growth year on year.”

The upheaval resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic brought Options together in new ways. The firm raised over GBP250,000 via its Robin Hood Project, collectively ran around the world and discovered the joys of socially-distanced hikes.

Moving ahead, some may be looking forward to returning to the old normal and back to office locations while others are embracing change, introducing a mix of office and home working. “This will require greater reliance on productivity and collaboration tools. Whichever path our clients choose, we will be there, helping them reach their objectives,” Morrow concludes. 

Stephen Morrow, Chief Operating Officer, Options
Stephen Morrow is Options’ COO and is responsible for overseeing the firm’s key strategic accounts and global operations. Stephen was previously Vice President of the Exchange Solutions division at NYSE Technologies, NYSE Euronext’s commercial technology division. Previous to this, he held the position of Managing Director for the Exchange Solutions division at NYSE, focusing on product management and international deployment. Prior to joining NYSE, Stephen was Director of Exchange Solutions at Wombat Financial Software.

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