Forefront Communications

24 for ’24: Predictions and Insights from Capital Markets and B2B Fintech Leaders

Alexandra Benavides

Alexandra Benavides

Throughout late November and December, Forefront Communications is lighting up its social media channels with daily predictions and insights for 2024 from some of the financial services industry’s most innovative organizations and thought leaders. Follow along as senior executives from buy- and sell-side firms, technology providers, venue operators, market structure consultancies and more share their perspectives on the people, trends and market forces that will shape our space over the next year and beyond.

Pierre Haren, CEO of Causality Link:

“Going into 2024, I believe that at least 10% of these predictions (and others like them) will be written with the help of a large language model. For 2025, it will be 50% or more, as “copilot” systems will make recommendations as easy to consume as spellcheckers are today. This use case is rather harmless, but influence of the same technology leading up to big elections in 2024 may be much more nefarious.” – Pierre Haren, CEO of Causality Link

Dave Barnett, CEO of OptimX:

“In 2024, we expect to see a new breed of technologies that restitch the fractured pathway between liquidity suppliers and consumers. These tools will encourage transparency and enhance the relationship between brokers and their customers.” – Dave Barnett, CEO of OptimX

Rob MacKay, CEO of Regnology:

“As the pace and complexity of regulation accelerates – with heightened requirements demanding more granular data – financial institutions will increasingly embrace the reliability and scalability of hyperscaler cloud technology. AI, the next technology frontier, will unlock potential for further automation and data insights. Greater adoption of both technologies throughout the landscape will empower regulators and the regulated to meet their goals with efficiency.” – Rob MacKay, CEO of Regnology

John Shay, CEO of American Finanical Exchange (AFX):

“2023 was a powerful illustration of why banks – particularly regional and local institutions – need to be ready for anything. In an uncertain environment, efficient, economical access to the interbank lending market is absolutely crucial, and we predict that an unprecedented number of banks will take steps toward securing this access in 2024.” – John Shay, CEO of American Finanical Exchange (AFX)

Jesse Forster, Head of Equity Market Structure & Technology, Coalition Greenwich (A divison of CRISIL):

“As electronic trading (including via SDPs) continues to increase, capabilities such as analytics and measurable execution quality, as well as trade automation (including algo wheels), will become even more important. That means integration ease and reliability will be paramount as more firms across the spectrum adopt a buy, build and integrate approach to their trading technology platforms.” – Jesse Forster, Head of Equity Market Structure & Technology, Coalition Greenwich (A divison of CRISIL)

Sameer Shalaby, CEO of VersiFi:

“2024 will be a year of renewed institutional interest in digital assets, and a crucial one at that. TradFi players were understandably rattled by some of the turmoil of 2022. Now, we are starting to hear less about existential fears around this asset class and more about the structures necessary to help it reach its full potential. With the expected approvals of the BTC ETFs, we are anticipating significant institutional interest and expanded volumes.” – Sameer Shalaby, CEO of VersiFi

Kevin Samuel, CEO of LiquidityBook:

“In recent years, vendors and clients alike have recognized the importance of open architectures and ‘co-opetition.’ In 2024, that trend will only accelerate. Integrations and partnerships will reign supreme as clients rearchitect their trading infrastructure, whether piecemeal with best-of-breed solutions, or via wholesale refit. Organizationally, nimbleness, agility, and responsiveness to client needs will enable smaller firms to innovate and expand their reach, going upmarket as their solutions mature.” – Kevin Samuel, CEO of LiquidityBook

Peter Gargone, CEO of n-Tier fs:

“Regulatory complexity and enforcement ramped up in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, and haven’t let up. Rather than developing custom workflows and solutions for every framework around the world, we expect to see firms continue to embrace a more strategic approach. A core of data governance coupled with flexible, scalable data ingestion/output lays a foundation for success, and that clean data offers ancillary benefits even beyond reliable regulatory compliance.” – Peter Gargone, CEO of n-Tier fs

Jeffrey Estella, Principal of Estella LLC:

“2024 will serve as a reminder of the importance of market participants ‘sticking to their knitting’ – in other words, focusing on their true core competency. Amid margin compression throughout the ecosystem, accelerating industry M&A and the increasing rate of regulatory change, a lack of focus in investment process strategy or product development can be paralyzing and dilutive to any firm’s mission. The C-suite must be honest with itself by leveraging data tools for real insights, outsourcing non-core functions and reassessing legacy oversight and governance models.” – Jeffrey Estella, Principal of Estella LLC

Ann Sebert, CEO of CAPIS:

“As costs increase and the pace of regulation accelerates, buy-side firms – particularly smaller funds and RIAs – will face intensifying pressure to optimize their budgets and streamline their operations. Whether to ensure coverage, extend sell-side access, or solve for hiring difficulties, these companies will embrace outsourced trading like never before.” – Ann Sebert, CEO of CAPIS

Sunny Kim, Head of Global Business Development at Raptor Trading Systems:

“In 2024, fintechs and organizations with recent high-value acquisitions will face continued challenges limiting scale and flexibility. As these firms adapt, we predict that there will be increased collaboration across a wider set of organizations. Banks, brokers and investment managers of all sizes will use these conditions to their advantage by upgrading and prioritizing their foundational technologies and services. This focus on strengthening core platforms will drive practical innovations in the year ahead.” – Sunny Kim, Head of Global Business Development at Raptor Trading Systems

Jen Nayar, President & CEO of Sterling Trading Tech:

“As the competitive environment intensifies and regulation becomes ever more demanding, the need to operate in a multi-asset capacity will only grow. The momentum around options will continue as they become an increasingly important element of many portfolios. That means having the right technology, with advanced reporting capabilities and risk calculations, will be key.” – Jen Nayar, President & CEO of Sterling Trading Tech

Michael Higgins, Global Head of Business Development at Hidden Road:

“In 2024, we anticipate that demand will continue to grow for innovative, multi-asset clearing and prime brokerage providers. Industry consolidation and maturing offerings will inspire both established clients and emerging managers to seek out new avenues to access markets in a capital-efficient way.” – Michael Higgins, Global Head of Business Development at Hidden Road

Cynthia Sachs, Founding CEO of Versana:

“Versana’s mission is to help drive the syndicated loan market’s modernization, and it’s just the very beginning. The foundational early objectives achieved this year have definitely set the stage for an even more transformative 2024. Our real-time digital data platform will be at the center of incredible innovation, and amongst many synergistic tech providers, to redefine the market ecosystem.” – Cynthia Sachs, Founding CEO of Versana

Jonathan Birnbaum, Founder & CEO of OpenYield:

“2024 is poised to begin a wave of transformation across retail fixed income offerings. By the end of the year, most fintech investment platforms will have added bonds for the first time and will start forging superior product experiences that will reset industry standards.” – Jonathan Birnbaum, Founder & CEO of OpenYield

Tony Huck, Founder of Trade Cycle, LLC:

“Today, there are numerous providers of essential products and services whose innovative technology has incredible potential for capital market participants. Although these solutions are next-generation, customizable and highly scalable, they have struggled to reach a full breadth of institutional users. 2024 will see these companies embrace new channels of distribution, disrupting legacy business development models.” – Tony Huck, Founder of Trade Cycle, LLC

Michael Sanocki, CEO of RQD* Clearing:

“As competition increases, broker-dealers will continue to face intense pressure to find customizable solutions that are efficient, economical and scalable. When it comes to clearing and custody, that means using a provider that leverages cloud technology and controls its codebase. With the ability to get started quickly, increase throughput in a matter of seconds and make seamless enhancements – without relying on third-party vendors – broker-dealers that depend on modern clearing firms will be prepared for any business or market shift.” – Michael Sanocki, CEO of RQD* Clearing

Joe Schifano, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs at Eventus:

“Most trade surveillance teams are at the start of their AI journey, but make no mistake: progress is coming. In 2024, an increasing number of firms will make significant AI investments in this part of their business, whether for pattern recognition/anomaly detection or predictive, proactive capabilities. Movement may be slow and deliberate, but the use cases are too compelling to ignore. Combine that with a magnified focus on cross-product events, and it will be a year of substantial innovation and evolution in the trade surveillance landscape.” – Joe Schifano, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs at Eventus

Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto, Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer at EDX Markets:

“In 2024, I expect the crypto markets will experience unprecedented growth due to approvals of BTC and ETH ETFs, improved trading infrastructure that will meet institutional-grade standards from end to end and new regulatory regimes that will finally lay the groundwork for what compliant crypto trading should look like in the U.S.” – Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto, Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer at EDX Markets

Brandon Mulvihill, CEO of Crossover Markets:

“The proverbial guardians of retail crypto flows will begin to change. Whereas historically, the top 50 crypto providers have been native crypto exchanges, 2024 will see traditional online retail brokers adding spot crypto to their multi-asset offerings. Widespread enactment of retail crypto regulation around the globe will slow the onboarding processes of native crypto exchanges and halt their ability to expand to new asset classes. At the same time, regulated retail brokers will introduce spot crypto to their clients, many of whom have been trading crypto elsewhere and will welcome the consolidation and streamlining. By the end of 2024, we will have enough information to know that the majority of retail crypto providers in the future will be TradFi brokers.” – Brandon Mulvihill, CEO of Crossover Markets:

Brian McAllister, Interactive Practice Head at Lab49:

“UI as we know it is slowly going away. As technology progresses and company cultures embrace that growth, there will be a shift from users needing to bear the burden of toiling away in complex software. Systems will rely on oversight, rather than constant inputs. This will free up businesses to focus more on strategy, collaboration and outcomes.” – Brian McAllister, Interactive Practice Head at Lab49

Tony Petrilli, CEO of ViewTrade:

“Technology is what has democratized and streamlined investing – not zero-cost investing. Firms that offer zero-cost investing are simply transferring the cost to trade from their customers to the investors providing them capital. This is unsustainable over the long term, and we have seen this play out as trading volume fell this year.

In 2024, we will see the so-called “zero-cost fintech disruptors” increasingly move toward the very subscriptions and other fee-based services already offered by incumbent firms they had hoped to replace. At the same time, incumbent firms will continue moving toward digitized, streamlined solutions that allow them to reduce costs and provide their already-broad range of services to a greater number of customers. In the end, fee models built around technology and services are what will democratize investing for everyone.” – Tony Petrilli, CEO of ViewTrade

Jim Toes, President & CEO of Security Traders Association (STA):

“With SEC rulemaking ramping up across the board, from equity market structure reform to short selling to predictive data analytics, industry firms will face significant disruption over the next 12 months. The importance of regulatory engagement and gathering industry feedback will be reinforced.” – Jim Toes, President & CEO of Security Traders Association (STA)

Lisa Balter Saacks, President of Trillium Surveyor:

“Emerging trends around industry regulation, operational efficiency and risk detection are forcing market participants to prioritize digital transformation like never before. Demand for solutions that enhance efficiency, automate processes, streamline workflows and ensure compliance has never been greater. 2024 will witness a surge in collaboration between fintech and RegTech platforms, leading to faster innovation and a wider range of integrated solutions for market participants.” – Lisa Balter Saacks, President of Trillium Surveyor: