Financial services firms had held off investing heavily in either cloud computing or mobile app development for one common reason – security concerns. However, as both technologies have become more pervasive, investment banks, fund managers and retail banks have had to take the plunge or risk falling behind. Jobs are emerging in these areas.
Banks have become increasingly innovative when it comes to developing apps for tablets and smart phones within their institutional business, with UBS’s algo trading Quant-on-Demand iPad app being singled out for particular praise.
After resisting investing in apps for so long, financial services firms have joined the revolution – Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Nomura, RBS and UBS have all launched apps for institutional clients. Even the Qatar Exchange now has a mobile app.
However, there’s also a need to develop technology for in-house use – a recent survey by IT consultancy Good Technology said that financial services firms were responsible for 50% of all iPads activated in the second quarter of 2012.
“We’re investing heavily in mobile and tablet platforms, both commercially and for the benefit of our employees, as well as in our own private cloud,” says Stephen Nundy, a managing director in the technology division of Goldman Sachs.
It’s certainly not the only firm to be doing so. According to a survey 50 banking CIOs by IT firm Fujitsu, 60% of those polled are planning on upping their investments in cloud computing, while 71% believe that mobile banking is going to become increasingly important to customers.
According to recruiters, RBS is being particularly active in hiring developers for mobile applications related to its retail banking business. J.P. Morgan is also recruiting, while Barclays and HSBC are believed to be about to release new roles and the likes of Bloomberg and Schroders also have vacancies.
Paul Daley, head of mobile banking at IT recruiters the JM Group, says: “A number of banks are quite advanced with their mobile app development, particularly on the retail side, but others are still assessing the business case before making such a substantial investment. In the next six months, we’re expecting a number of firms to release business analysis roles related to app projects.”
Job creation around cloud computing within financial services is more complex, simply because there’s so much hype around the topic. In March, Microsoft suggested that nearly 14 million jobs could be created, with banking being a main beneficiary, a figure some suggested was clearly inflated by self-interested software vendors.
However, demand for cloud software developers and engineers is on the rise across all industries and financial services firms are not excluded from the party. For example, J.P. Morgan is recruiting for a cloud engineer in New Jersey, as well as an ‘innovation technologist’ in New York related to cloud initiatives in its investment bank.
The good news for technologists is that, because of ongoing security concerns, most investment banks remain committed to the idea of ‘private clouds’, namely those they build and run in-house, which means more jobs are likely down the line. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley all take this approach.
These roles generally require a good understanding of Linux or Unix, as well as a depth of experience with scripting languages like Python, Bash, PowerShell, Perl or AWK.