LFP082 – Collateral Management, The Cloud and Scaling-Up Fintechs with Steve Husk CEO CloudMargin

Steve Husk has decades in IT and FS and in this tour d’horizon we dive into his experience of delivering IT solutions from design through to sales, why the Cloud as a technology enables a totally different service proposition and what it means to scale in Fintech.

Collateral management has been assuming an ever increasing importance in banking driven in large part by massive (and somewhat inconsistent across continents) regulatory changes as well as innovative approaches to IT being able to far more simply deliver firm-wide solutions rather than the formerly un-joined-up “per silo” basis. Its also been elevated from a back-office issue to a middle-office issue of importance to risk management, compliance.


When I first met CloudMargin back in 2014 (folks don’t believe me enough sometimes when I say the queue to be on this show is long…) there were three founders and about half a dozen staff. Now only one of the founders remains and the firm is 50 strong and manages collateral worth an amazing $2.5trn on behalf of its buy-side and sell-side clients using its SAAS/Cloud solution.


Topics discussed on the show include: 

  • History, relevance and irrelevance; continuous change and discontinuous change; how freedoms are always salami-sliced away
  • current thinking amongst the cognoscenti that Central Bank independence may have past its sell by date and why…
  • Steve’s career journey
  • phase changes in growing Fintechs – startups, scaleups, adding structure; model of a relay
  • structure in terms of teams in Asia, the US and Europe; partner strategies and focus
  • marketing vs sales – stories, messages, on-message
  • “pray and spray”
  • knowing the market in order to focus
  • collateral management traditionally silo-ed and “on premise”
  • firmwide in one place and covering many more products to reduce counter-party risks
  • banks often deliver not the cheapest but the easiest collateral to deliver due to having excess information inadequately organised
  • differing regulations worldwide
  • the major change in collateral was post-2008 when Lehman’s pool of collateral was hard to access and not as large as thought
  • regulation has come in a rush; one Tier 1 Bank has seen an increase in margin calls of 20x in 6mts!
  • comparison of podcast hosting bandwidth management and managing these changes in volumes in banks
  • the relevance of Cloud in this context and pricing based on volume
  • disrupting the incumbent IT providers; adding new functionality via new mechanisms – not just new or better but providing clients with a new type of service they couldn’t access before
  • the Cloud as well suited to seller and buyer both accessing the same information
  • vapourware
  • “live in five” – five days to be live – more than an order of magnitude improvement on standard solutions
  • the problem of legacy IT systems compared to new approaches
  • Amazon’s east coast cloud outage ; redundancy; CloudMargin’s 100% uptime (not counting planned downtime for maintenance)
  • what was seen as “nice to have” is now a “must have” due to new regulations
  • CloudMargin has a single solution used by all clients no matter what the size of client

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!