The needs of energy trading companies have expanded over the years, increasing the importance of Middle Office functions, such as P&L, mark-to-market, and Risk. There is also a desire to have these functions performed at greater speed and visibility for Middle Office, Trading Managers, Investors and Fund Administrators.
The Middle Office function has transitioned to playing an increasingly important role in energy markets. This function is the conduit between the front office/trading function and the back office accounting. The primary functions that the Middle Office performs are risk management, position management, cash flow management, settlements and marking open positions.
Understanding your mark-to-market (MtM), and the risk associated with all your positions, is particularly important on the heels of FERC order 741 and the GreenHat default. FERC order 741 aims to protect wholesale markets from default by market participants. The result is that if participants have to adopt certain risk practices, and if their positions degrade enough, they have to post more collateral to mitigate market risk, or liquidate the position.
A common accounting method used to assess risk associated with future positions is MtM, which compares the value you purchased a given position for with the current value of the position. Calculating MtM for one or two positions is fairly straightforward. However, if you have to calculate MtM on thousands of positions, particularly FTR positions, things can get messy quickly. Market participants historically have needed to either build an internal system/process or manually mark the books. This process also needs constant maintenance due to ISO node re-maps and changes to how auctions are processed/posted by the ISOs.
Companies that have implemented effective Middle Office systems and controls see efficiency improvements in performing their day-to-day activities, their FTR MtM calculations and have greater confidence in the risk being taken by the front office. By utilizing an automated system, monitoring positions, P&L calculations, FTR MtM and risk metrics can be done in real-time.
Stephanie Staska is a Senior Product Manager overseeing the Position Management initiative at Yes Energy. She is new to the Yes Energy team, but brings 20 years of Middle Office experience in energy and commodity markets. Outside of work Stephanie enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and daughter.