As Finalis approaches its third year as a regtech startup disrupting and revolutionizing an unglamorous but essential corner of the investment banking industry, its identity as a product-led company is coming into sharp focus. The product underpins a robust and evolving platform serving close to 200 boutique investment banks largely focused on the burgeoning lower middle market space of the private securities industry.
The Finalis platform’s growth over the past several years—during which the world economy has been rocked by exogenous, black-swan events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s attempted annexation of Ukraine, this year’s global banking crisis, resulting in recessionary and inflationary conditions roiling markets worldwide—has been nothing short of spectacular, occurring as it has in these fraught times.
The work of getting to this enviable position is a result of the trust that Finalis’ banker clients have in their relationship with the broker-dealer; and a key element in the structure of that relationship is the soundness of Finalis’ tech-enabled, web-based solution—its product, which we’ve come to call the FinalisOS.
At first blush, it might seem a superfluous matter to locate a “voice” in a fintech or regtech software product serving the investment banking industry—after all, the platform and its product isn’t geared towards the glitzier domains of web-commerce, social media, or the various infotainment industries, to cite a few key examples. Investment bankers are laser-focused on the work of consummating deals, and require user interfaces that let them get to the point, do what they need to do, get the deal done as efficiently as possible.
This, however, does not mean a product has to be bland and faceless. We’ve come around to the principle that it’s in fact a good thing to establish the unique qualities of the Finalis brand, via the look and feel of its product. As such, what we in the company’s design team have been up to lately, is precisely the development of that unique characteristic—coming up with a “voice” for its product and platform, the FinalisOS.
As Finalis operates in the financial world at large, and in the investment banking industry specifically, the voice we want for our product is what one might call the “banker’s voice.” In very general terms, this is a voice that conveys confidence and professionalism, and a sense that one is highly educated and knowledgeable about the industry. It is a voice that, because it uses “bankers’ language”—employing the idioms and technical terms germane to the world of finance and investment banking—is straightforward and direct.
As such, it is basically a conservative voice. It is more formal than informal; more staid than fancy. It gets to the point. And to say the obvious—since the interface and UX is a visual one, it looks conservative. Having said that, we’ve been designing the product language to have flashes of panache and wit, perhaps at the most unexpected places.
Thus, while FinalisOS has a voice that conveys undeniable competence and skill, it also comes across as friendly, thoughtful and approachable; we imagine this voice as a perfect amalgam of the company’s key stakeholders, including most notably its early customers. These personas combine industry savvy and sophistication with a humane and affable core—a perfect blend of mind and heart. And, steeped in the whole, a deep well of integrity.
The project of developing a voice for Finalis’ platform has been an intrinsically creative and exciting one for us. It is a delightful challenge to infuse a complex, sophisticated product with a ‘personality’ that we want to be engaging, approachable, and deeply useful for our client base of bankers who are intent on nurturing and expanding their own investment banking empires. We are currently evolving and transforming our platform product from its original, fairly prosaic beginnings, into a 2.0 version that will be possessed of this voice.
If you’re at all intrigued by this notion, contact us and we’d be quite happy to show you a glimpse of it.