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NatWest Markets, the UK investment bank, has said that the next stage of its integration with Google Cloud will be the integration of Kubernetes containerisation technology with its risk management app development.

Kubernetes Engine is Google’s cluster orchestration system, built on the open-source Kubernetes container management system originally developed by Google in 2014.

NatWest Markets is already using BigQuery, Google’s multi-cloud data warehouse to unify its risk management data into a single source, simplifying reporting to regulators and increasing the speed of its overnight risk calculation algorithms by 60%.

NatWest Markets decided to migrate to the Cloud in 2019, when it was faced with ever-increasing amounts of data and ageing servers for its risk applications.

"As the volume of data we need to process continues to increase, the regulators become more demanding, … it became clear that it wasn't enough for us to speed up processes and carry on as usual", said Chris Conway, Head of Risk and Finance Technology at NatWest Markets.

NatWest Markets is looking to extend this data simplification to predictive models for customers, Conway added. "Our goal is to have all risk modelling, surveillance, and supervision powered by machine learning on Google Cloud from 2022 onwards, where we can better connect the dots from different data sources."

The development testing of algorithm-based apps for risk management and trading has become more complex with the Basel Committe’s Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB), which describes new rules on how financial firms manage trading risk, and which is due to come into force in 2022.

"We aim to speed up our release cycles from 12 months to 2 weeks for the XVA (valuation adjustments required by the FRTB) desks, and we're just touching the surface of what we're able to do with Google Cloud," said Conway.

Microservices and their virtualisation have been seen to dramatically reduce software development times, shown in a recent QA Financial research report completed on behalf of Parasoft.

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