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Change Afoot in Corporate Actions Jobs

Those who work in corporate action jobs are seeing even more change underway. ISO15022 (SWIFT) has been carrying the bulk of corporate actions messages for many years, but lacks flexibility.

ISO20022 offers a much greater degree of flexibility for individual firms, and reduces the height of the entry barrier for smaller firms as compared with ISO15022, which requires investment in SWIFT. With a shift in the systems centre of gravity to ISO20022 standards, the systems market would grow and bring new software suppliers into play. With change afoot in the US, this is likely to accelerate the move towards the later standard.

The new standard also heralds a likely change in proxy voting systems, which are likely to become almost entirely web-based in the next few years, rendering existing systems redundant. The move towards the web is likely also to lead to less dependence on snail mail and paper-based corporate actions processing, and customer self service, even through smartphones, is receiving active attention.

This rate of change is just a reflection of the increasing complexity of the work of a corporate actions specialist and the faster pace of commerce itself. Structured products is now a keyword, hence the pressure for more flexible standards and a more active corporate actions software market. New instruments are devised almost daily, and although Over-the-Counter and Exotics have acquired a very bad political complexion since 2008, the dog-eat-dog competitive reality of investment banking is such that the inventiveness will continue. However, whether ‘structured products’ can extend to including Exotics, is yet to be seen – it would seem to be a contradiction in terms!

About the Author : Emily Inglis is a supporter of corporate action jobs

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