Lessons from the Pandemic: Remote Work is Working

The COVID-19 pandemic had profound impacts on the world, with everything from rapid advancements in new vaccine technologies to the exposure of bitter political differences, and many aspects of daily life were impacted, particularly the acceptance of remote work. According to research conducted by LinkedIn, fewer than 5% of job postings offered the option of remote work before the pandemic but that number jumped more than fourfold to over 20% by April 2022. Now, more than 22% of the workforce – nearly 33 million Americans – works remotely and 1 in 6 companies is fully remote.

BornTec is one of those companies. When the pandemic emerged we elected to go fully remote and we haven’t looked back. The switch brought a number of benefits as well as challenges and the results have been very clear: going fully remote has been a great decision for us.

How Going Remote Worked for BornTec

Being a growing, entrepreneurial enterprise, BornTec has always been open to exploring new approaches that help us to work both better and smarter. That approach served us well as the pandemic hit because we were early adopters of technologies like Slack, Google Docs, and Zoom and were already ~50% remote in the Spring of 2020. When in-person business was suddenly halted – and with an office lease expiring in July of that year – we were able to quickly and relatively effortlessly transition to being fully remote. 

A number of factors were particularly important in making the transition to fully remote advantageous for us:

  • Talent: Being remote allows us to attract top talent regardless of their location. Not being limited by geography means that we can assemble teams with an optimal blend of skills and abilities. This is especially important for a dynamic, growing company like BornTec.
  • Work/life balance: The importance of work/life balance has grown dramatically over the past few years, particularly for younger workers. Being remote can save hours of commuting each day, making it possible to simultaneously spend more time on personal matters AND more time on work.
  • Collaboration: While traditionalists express concerns that a lack of physical proximity will impact team interaction, our experience has generally been the opposite. Collaboration is higher than before the pandemic because it is easier to pull people into a quick Zoom meeting than it was to do in person. What’s more, in an in-person environment people might not be at their desk the moment when you went to see them. Online, people can be found quickly.
  • Better than a conference call: BornTec, like many large companies, has a global footprint. In our old configuration, that meant that we often had conference calls when working with clients and prospects. Turning those phone calls into Zoom meetings has dramatically boosted communication and productivity.
  • Efficiency: BornTec is a nimble, entrepreneurial firm so we welcome the ability to connect quickly so that issues can be resolved rapidly and ideas developed faster. Despite concerns that there will be less opportunity for chance discussions in the break room or end-of-meeting conversations, we have found that these types of interactions can – and do – occur while working remotely. In short, our team is more engaged and more productive now.

Most importantly, a key consideration was how being fully-remote aligns with our company culture. Our roots are as a family-run business and we take the time to get to know our team. With us, it’s not “work/life” it’s “life/life.” As entrepreneurs, we want people to not just care about their job but also the rest of the team and the company in general. We foster a “no blame / best decision at the time” ethos that looks forward, not back, and we strive to always look for ways to do something better or more simply. Being fully remote supports all of these principles. 

Challenges With being Remote – and How to Address Them

Shifting from the hybrid arrangements that we had prior to the pandemic to being fully remote was not without its challenges. Here are some of the key issues that we faced and how we dealt with them.

  • Time Zones: It can be difficult to coordinate company meetings across the many time zones that our team resides in. This requires a give-and-take: we try to minimize disruptive calls and our team responds by making a best effort to be available when it is necessary.
  • Making connections: Humans are social animals and meeting on a screen instead of in-person can be somewhat cold and sterile. For these reasons we make a point of fostering personal interactions across the team and don’t confine our calls to business matters only. 
  • Training: Onboarding and training of new hires is more difficult to accomplish without in-person time and attention. To address this, special care must be taken to communicate more with new hires, including rigorously designed onboarding procedures. Paying extra attention upfront leads to a smoother transition, higher employee satisfaction, and improved results.
  • Staying connected: When working in-person, it’s easy to see when someone is at their desk, off to get a cup of coffee, or heading out to lunch. The same isn’t true when working remote. For that reason, we encourage our team to use Slack and other communication tools to actively share simple “I’m stepping away for a few minutes,” etc. messages throughout the work day.
  • Meeting hygiene: Everyone has experienced it – a Zoom call where everyone or most everyone has the camera turned off. In addition to being cold and distant, it’s not possible to know if the other folks on the line are even engaged. For that reason, we highly encourage that cameras be turned on during a Zoom call. It greatly improves our level of communication.
  • Remote work isn’t for everyone: It’s important to recognize that some people do well in a remote work environment and others do not. We explicitly discuss this with our team and it plays a big part in our conversations with new hires. We do everything that we can to best address the needs of every member of our team.

Working Remotely Works for BornTec

When it comes to “going remote,” BornTec has plenty of good company. The project management software giant Atlassian was founded as a remote work company and others such as Dropbox and AirBnB employ a “remote first” approach to running their businesses. In our case, we find that being fully remote aligns perfectly with both our company mission and culture. In addition, it delivers major benefits when it comes to recruiting, efficiency, and flexibility. That being said, we are open to change and will adapt as business needs require so that we can best serve our clients needs. In any case, there is no doubt that remote working is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels and that works just fine for us.

Chris Haworth is President and COO of BornTec, a technology solutions firm that provides tools to support surveillance, risk, compliance, and regulatory reporting functions in financial markets. Contact us to learn more.

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BornTec Sharpens Business Focus Through Strategic Transaction

BornTec, a market leader in providing data driven solutions for surveillance, risk, compliance, and regulatory reporting in global markets, has sharpened its business focus with a recently completed divestiture of its colocation and managed hosting business lines to TNS, Inc.

 

Derek Haworth, CEO and co-founder, heralded a new era for BornTec following the transaction.

 

“BornTec has been a visionary in capital markets for over 20 years. This transaction marks the continued evolution of the BornTec story as we provide premium at-trade and post-trade data intelligence and automation products and solutions across a broad array of markets and products,” said Haworth.
The restructuring is a continuation of a strategic shift that is driven by BornTec’s focus on helping clients realize the full value of their multi-asset data in real-time with tools and insights that address their most urgent and intractable risk management and compliance requirements.

“Capital markets firms face ever increasing challenges with reporting requirements, particularly with respect to operational resilience, challenges that demand an integrated, real-time view of data. Our CrossCheck platform meets these needs,” Haworth said.
Operational resilience requirements, a primary discussion theme at most sell-side and buy-side organizations, are easily solved through CrossCheck’s low-code automation platform.
“This divestiture will not only sharpen our focus, but provides additional flexibility for further investment and acquisitions, bolstering continued triple-digit growth rate,” said Buck Haworth, CFO and co-founder.
The transaction was completed on March 24, 2023.

For additional information, contact BornTec at info@borntec.com.

 

About BornTec
BornTec serves financial market participants with its flagship application CrossCheck™, providing a global real-time at-trade and post-trade view of their trade flow. When combined with publicly available market information, unparalleled data visibility and event monitoring are unlocked, with applications for client coverage, operations, compliance, data analytics and C-Suite. www.borntec.com
About Transaction Network Services (TNS)
Founded in 1990 and with headquarters across USA, Europe and Asia, TNS is a leading provider of mission-critical infrastructure, connectivity, market data and analytic services for the Financial Markets community. Delivered as a fully managed Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering, TNS provides an unrivaled, global, mission-critical footprint that significantly reduces the burdens, complexities and costs attributed to firms ‘going direct’. Through its ultra-low latency connectivity, its global market data offerings and its dedicated 24x7x365 local support, TNS remains the trusted solution provider to more than 750 counterparties globally.

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BornTec Divests Managed Hosting and Colocation Business in Deal With TNS

Acquisition ensures seamless integration with uninterrupted colocation services and enhanced mission-critical connectivity

RESTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Transaction Network Services (TNS) and BornTec today announced TNS’ acquisition of BornTec’s managed hosting and colocation business. This acquisition continues TNS’ expansion of its global connectivity footprint and builds on previous acquisitions.

For BornTec, the move was strategic. “This divestiture allows us to sharpen our focus on our industry-leading CrossCheck trading data analytics platform, bringing us to the forefront of at-trade and post-trade operational resilience, data intelligence and automation,” said Derek Haworth, CEO of BornTec.

“We’re extending our reach and connectivity with the same white-glove service and single-source support that BornTec’s customers expect”

For TNS, the acquisition expands mission-critical connectivity for TNS’ diverse customer portfolio of exchanges and trading venues, buy- and sell-side institutions, market data vendors, software developers and cloud service providers around the world.

“We’re extending our reach and connectivity with the same white-glove service and single-source support that BornTec’s customers expect,” said Tom Lazenga, General Manager, Financial Markets, TNS. “BornTec is a capital markets visionary, and this acquisition fits seamlessly into TNS’ managed hosting strategy that we embarked on five years ago.”

In 2019, TNS augmented its financial services footprint with the first globally deployed Layer 1 ultra-low latency trading infrastructure. Today, TNS is committed to continuing to scale its capabilities and global presence as evidenced by this acquisition.

“We vetted several acquirer candidates, and, with TNS, we found a partner that shares our customer-centric values,” added Haworth. “We’re confident that our managed hosting customers will be well served within TNS’ global colocation infrastructure.”

BornTec’s managed hosting customers will receive uninterrupted service, and they will also have the opportunity to upgrade to TNS’ Layer 1 connectivity with ultralow 5-85 nanosecond latency for unparalleled trading access within the TNS global exchange community. The transaction closed on March 21, 2023.

TNS brings together over 2,800 financial community endpoints, supported by a global, 125-strong point-of-presence footprint. Specifically designed and engineered to address the needs of financial market participants worldwide, TNS offers a range of connectivity, colocation, cloud, market data and VPN solutions within its IaaS portfolio. Its solutions are monitored 24x7x365 by TNS’ Network Operations Centers in the US, UK, Australia, and Malaysia. For further information visit tnsfinancial.com.

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FIA Boca 2023 Recap

BornTec Insights: Three Takeaways from FIA Boca

Generally referred to simply as “Boca”, the annual international futures industry conference hosted by the Futures Industry Association (FIA) each Spring is traditionally a time for the leading luminaries of the global derivatives community to gather and assess the state of the industry. Boca was back to full steam this year following the Covid-19 pandemic and renovations to its longtime home at The Boca Raton and the issues most addressed revealed a healthy and dynamic industry that also has its fair share of challenges. Here are three issues that were topics for conversation at Boca.

 

1. What’s next for digital assets?

Executives from cryptocurrency exchanges were flying high in 2022 but were in somewhat short supply this year as plunging prices, failed businesses, and, in some cases, criminal charges combined to clip their wings. Crypto is still of interest, however, and many discussions centered on how digital assets are likely to be adopted in the years ahead. While there may be less talk and activity right from the trading side of the business right now, the subject is a hot one on the legal and compliance side of things. It’s on these foundations that future digital assets will be built.

2. The “ity” twins: profitability and volatility

In markets, profitability and volatility often go hand in hand and that is proving to be true in 2023. A multi-year period of low interest rates was a challenge to the futures commission merchants (FCMs), who earn more money on deposits held when rates rise. Now, banks and FCMs are enjoying their best year in some time due to both rising rates and higher volumes. However, volatility has risen with recent events like the failure of SVB and First Republic Bank, leading to greater risk, and future events such as the U.S. debt ceiling standoff may bring more of the same.

3. Boosting Operational Resilience

One of the recurring themes of the conference this year was around operational resilience. This was covered by multiple panels and it was often a topic of general discussions over a coffee or cocktail. The pandemic-induced convulsions of March 2020 started the conversation and the recent ransomware event at a significant industry software vendor brought the problem into sharp focus. The ransomware event has forced a reckoning of sorts and further examination and analysis is likely to lead to higher standards for operational resilience. Many in the industry are looking for additional functionality to come along with resilience increases in order to defray some of the expected costs.

Lessons from Boca

The international derivatives industry provides vital products and services that help manage risk, enabling more certainty and flexibility for all businesses. While the industry has a remarkable history of innovation and growth, there are always challenges to be addressed. The major ransomware attack in February 2023 is a reminder that vigilance is a constant requirement and that new standards and procedures should be adopted to address both current and future threats. BornTec stands ready to assist in those efforts, ensuring the strength and integrity of these critical markets. To learn how BornTec can help your firm address your operational resilience challenges, contact us at resilience@borntec.com

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BornTec’s 2022 Year End Recap

BornTec had an incredibly successful year in which we achieved significant growth and development. The company was able to attract a large number of new clients, which helped to increase revenue significantly. This growth was due to the company’s commitment to providing excellent service and developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of their clients. The company’s dedication to customer service was evident in their continued success in attracting new business.

In addition to our success in attracting new clients, BornTec also made significant progress in furthering the development of Surveillance Compliance and Regulatory Reporting. These are two critical areas for the financial services industry, and BornTec’s commitment to improving our solutions in these areas has helped them to become a leader in the industry. The company’s focus on innovation and technology has allowed us to develop solutions that are both effective and efficient, which has helped gain a competitive advantage over competitors. Overall, BornTec’s successful year can be attributed to the focus on customer service and innovation, which has allowed them to grow and develop in a challenging market.

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