China Merchants Securities International Co. Ltd (CMS) provides a wide array of financial services, including brokerage, corporate finance, investment management, asset management, global commodities and futures. Having a Fintech strategy is fast becoming a must-have for companies of all sizes in the financial sector. CMS has built a stock trading platform and mobile app over a sophisticated technology infrastructure that empowers it to stay at the innovation forefront of the securities industry.
Evolving customer & regulatory needs
“The Hong Kong market has only started to pick up on the Fintech bandwagon in the last couple of years,” said Jeff Choi, Chief Technology Officer at CMS. “Local customers are interested in a unified platform when investing and managing different financial products across various stock markets.” Similarly, different teams within CMS are clamoring for new technologies to address expanding customer needs and achieve higher efficiency in business operations. To this end, a secure and agile technology infrastructure is of utmost importance to CMS.
“As a regulated business, we need to meet the security, legal and compliance requirements as stipulated by Securities and Futures Commission, while adhering to the international regulatory standards,” he said. “Safeguarding customer assets and ensuring low latency are critical. As time is money, latency can create a big impact to customers.”
Building a platform for the future
CMS conducted an exhaustive review of the offerings from international vendors, local and China-based telcos and systems integrators. Eventually it chose HKT to help build a unified online multi-channel platform on website and mobile apps that is able to anticipate future demands. “HKT’s global submarine fiber cable networks, its holistic products and services portfolio, and deep technology expertise gave us the assurance we needed,” he said.
With the support of HKT, CMS is on track to launch its new stock trading platform and mobile app this December. The platform is supported by multiple levels of security. Choi noted that CMS is one of the few local securities firms that use an encrypted Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) network – that enables CMS to connect its stock trading platform in HKT SkyExchange networked facilities management center to Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) data center with high availability, security and low latency connection. It facilitates faster stock trading transactions.
HKT also helped CMS to deploy a three-tier firewall including intrusion prevention system (IPS), intrusion detection system (IDS) and advanced persistent threat (APT) to safeguard the enterprise network from any cyberattack, as well as a client-facing web application firewall (WAF) to ensure customer can safely access info and trade over the stock trading web platform. A 360-degree protection can be attained from end user applications to backend systems. Although the network is loaded with multiple security layers, the network is optimized to ensure smooth and efficient user experience.
Available in English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese versions, the stock trading mobile app comes with a portfolio management dashboard for customers to trade stocks online, view daily profit and loss, and buy stock at IPOs. An enhanced user experience is made available even over a complex network infrastructure.
Continuous tech investment
The stock trading platform is the first stage of CMS’ Fintech initiative. The company has outlined its technology-led transformation strategy which incorporates new technologies to deliver innovative solutions. In addition, CMS plans to fully automate online account opening by taking advantage of the convergence of hybrid cloud, managed services, artificial intelligence and big data analytics.
“Our view is that technology will empower fund managers to be more effective. They will have more time to do higher value-added tasks for customers such as providing professional research and investment advises,” he concluded.
CMS’ Choi noted that managed services is growing in popularity in Hong Kong. Enterprises want to better utilize the limited internal IT resource for more strategic initiatives like data analytics and business growth, whereas it would be best to hand off service and security monitoring to a competent solutions provider.
To safeguard an enterprise network 24x7, HKT provides proactive Threat Management Services (TMS) through a team of security experts at its Security Operation Center. Supported by HKT’s local and global cyber-threat intelligence and big data analytics, TMS offers 360-degree detection and protection from internal and external security threats. Immediate responses with remedial recommendations are available to customers. Backed by HKT’s private connection, all data is stored on premise to ensure data security.