Excelian recently launched the 21 Club – the inaugural event was set in the old Masonic Lodge at the Andaz hotel, Liverpool Street. The 21 club pulled together industry leaders from investment banking and e-gaming into a roundtable discussion about challenges in their respective industries; the idea was to look for shared solutions to shared problems by learning from the innovative approaches taken in these related, though distinct industries.

The key takeaways form the discussion were around the different levels of maturity and the human dimension. Investment banks are ahead of the curve in adoption of technology, driven by high volumes, latency requirements, scale considerations and significant regulatory pressures. E-gaming is still in early stages of development and while the sports betting industry is much closer, with trading and back office systems with some degree of risk management, these systems are typically in need of re-architecting for the future growth. On the one hand, the focus of e-gaming is a rich consumer experience, whilst on the other, investment banking has a much stronger B2B emphasis. This focus for e-gaming pushes resources into rich content, mobile and web - away from core systems which investment banks rely on for real time activity.

When investment banking and e-gaming say "real time" they mean very different things. In play betting is at most, a minute by minute process because the bottleneck is the human consuming the information made available (while also enjoying the event!). However, in investment banking, the race for sub millisecond execution is driven by automated algorithms reacting to constantly fluctuating markets.

Regulation was also brought up as a common driver for change; investment banking regulation focuses on increasing the depth and frequency of Risk calculations whist e-gaming is currently in an expansion phase where compliance with country-specific regulations will open the door to new markets. From a technology perspective for e-gaming, this means trying to deliver a consistent end-user experience whilst avoiding building dedicated systems per country. One key similarity was identified as the location and security of data – for investment banking, the issue focuses again around regulations regarding client data whilst e-gaming has a keen interest in “striking” bets in low tax regions. This inevitably lead to some conversation around Cloud which we have decided will be the focus of the next 21 Club on the 2nd May 2012.

In conclusion, good relationships and contacts were forged, many key ideas emerged and it was clear that the industries had much in common and yet much to learn from each other. Investment Banks are moving to a more consumer oriented focus and e-gaming is looking at the development and delivery of automation, lower latency, feed and API interfaces among others.

All who came thoroughly enjoyed the day, the discussion and the company and went away replete, satisfied and yet with food for thought.