As the investors and traders demand for digital tools rise faster than ever before, financial institutions are competing to offer products and services that are increasingly technology-enabled. To drive a seamless user experience, both established and new-age firms are continuously evolving their technology stack to meet the rising expectations of their digitally savvy GenZ and Millennials. Open API architecture, being Real-Time and Data Analytics have become important accelerators for technology-driven capital market reforms.
Established in 1995, ICICI Securities Ltd (I-Sec) is one India’s leading wealth-tech firms. It operates ICICIdirect, a virtual financial supermarket, meeting the three demands of its clients – investments, insurance, and loans. It offers broking, distribution of third party financial products, wealth management, and investment banking services to the entire spectrum of market participants, ranging from retail investors, HNIs, Corporates to institutional investors and government.
Leveraging AWS Services for Flexibility, Scalability, and Performance
Icicidirect.com, the trading platform at ICICI Securities, must perform consistently well to ensure that its ~9 million strong customer-base have the information and access they need at their fingertips to make insightful and quick decisions.
Initially, I-Sec had a large data center running multiple on-premise compute-heavy workloads. Time to market, scalability, and bandwidth became potential roadblocks as activity in the capital markets industry and I-Sec started growing rapidly.
To start with, I-Sec decided to move an independent but important part of its trading platform to the cloud to gain the scalability and bandwidth required to support expansions. Specifically, the firm turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS), whose Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region would ensure that data stayed in India, in line with financial regulations.
Subhash Kelkar, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at ICICI Securities notes, “AWS was already well established as one of the most comprehensive cloud providers in India. Further, our trusted implementation partner- Oneture Technologies had a demonstrated track record when it pertained to capital market expertise as well as AWS cloud skills and capabilities to help I-Sec scale to the next level. We do not believe in lift and shift for cloud. It has to be planned and justified. We have identified a clear roadmap of what pieces need to be moved to cloud and when”.
A real-time high-performance market data dissemination platform
“Our aim was to move much faster – scale and adapt at speed to develop new digital services — accelerate innovation, drive business agility, streamline operations, and reduce costs and build platform capability to execute thousands of trades in seconds,” says Subhash Kelkar.
The first piece taken up in this direction was to disseminate data as soon as it arrives from the exchanges. I-Sec worked with Oneture team to modernize market data dissemination system for greater efficiency and burst handling to serve millions of retail traders and partners across markets.
Tech-savvy retail investors and Algo traders are now looking for a personalized investment experience. I-Sec collaborated with AWS and Oneture to develop a set of core APIs and SDKs that provides capabilities required for third parties to build and run proprietary investment strategies at scale.
“Through API-fication, we exposed legacy services and data in a standard reusable format. This allowed our customers, third-party and internal apps to consume business functionality in a secured manner,” says Subhash Kelkar.
Historical market data dissemination for Algo Traders and Technical Analysis
Historical and real-time tick data has become increasingly important for research, back-testing of strategies, and verification of internal data. However, collecting, storing, and disseminating such large data sets at a high-frequency in real-time requires substantial infrastructure and resources.
I-Sec’s historical Data-On-Demand provides easy and flexible access to high-quality and reliable historical data across exchanges – across equity, derivatives, commodity, and currency markets — all through the cloud.
I-Sec along with Oneture conceptualized and built a highly scalable and robust architecture that allows I-Sec’s Web and Mobile App as well as API and SDK users to consume the OHLC candle data via both API and WebSocket.
KYC process transformation using AI/ML
Due to stringent regulatory requirements and due diligence, customer on-boarding became increasingly complex. Delivering a flawless onboarding experience from start to finish became our key priority, working backwards from our goal of delivering a seamless user experience.
I-Sec improved this process by collaborating with Oneture and AWS ProServ team to reduce leads drop outs by transforming its Non-Resident Indian (NRI) customer onboarding platform leveraging AWS native AI/ML services such as Amazon Sagemaker and Amazon Rekognition to automate data extraction and verification of documents like Aadhar, PAN, passport, and voter id.
Subhash quotes “Our vision is to evolve as a ‘Neo Financial Services’ marketplace and create a platform that will act as a one-stop shop for all our customer finance needs across their financial lifecycle journey- starting from investments, insurance, to loans. Hence, we are preparing our platform and re-architecting it. Over the next 3 years, we will be on this journey as well, alongside the host of new launches / business deliveries planned. This will make our platform ready for the future.”
As a result of its partnership with AWS and Oneture, I-Sec continues to innovate for the benefit of its customers.