Waters USA 2010 - NYC

This year’s Waters USA December 6th, 2010 Conference was one of the biggest and best attended conferences I have been at all year. Held at the Marriot Marquis, which is in the heart of Times Square, was truly a great preview in terms of shedding light on where the Financial Services Industry will be heading in 2011. The show’s focus was on how FS firms continue to leverage technology to achieve their trading and business strategies as well as deal with new and pending regulation. Platform Computing was one of the event sponsors, along with IBM and Microsoft, HP and Bloomberg, which shows who they look to when trying to meet these tough challenges.

The event’s
program read like a who’s who in terms of the major FS firms in the industry. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase all had experts on hand to discuss their most pressing issues around High-Frequency Trading (HFT), Risk Management and Controls and how firms can drive revenue and still meet regulatory guidelines using technologies like Platform LSF and Platform Symphony grid computing and Platform ISF cloud computing.

The keynote address, given by Andrew Silverman who is responsible for electronic trading at Morgan Stanley, explained effectively how the “regulatory pendulum” is starting to swing back towards regulatory mandated rules from organizations like SEC, Federal Reserve Bank, FSA (Financial Services Agency) and Japan FSA. Mr. Silverman felt FS firms needed to wake up and self-regulate before regulators mandate rules that are more costly to implement and ineffective to boot. He explained how technology is an enabler that firms could not do without it. He also noted firms need to use technology ethically, such as by putting the client’s needs in front of the brokers such as in the use of smart order routing technology to achieve best execution.

At the CIO/CTO roundtable which followed, Peter Kelso (Global CIO, DB Advisors), Michael Radziemski (Partner and CIO, Lord Abbett & Co), Scott Marcar (Global Head Risk & Finance Technology, RBS) and Peter Richards (Managing Director and CTO Global Head of Production and Infrastructure, JP Morgan Chase) strongly agreed that improving their existing infrastructures is a top priority. They all felt that their firms need to continue to break down their operating silos and change their infrastructures to increase efficiency, utilization, and to lower costs. All participants stated that their IT budgets will remain “flat” in 2011, even though they are expected to “do more”. They agreed this would only by possible by leveraging existing infrastructure better, with technologies such grid and cloud computing products, which will be a key focus for all their firms.

One other panel worth mentioning was the “Past the cloud computing hype: Constructing a safe cloud environment”, where two FS technology executives: Michael Ryan (Director, Bank of America) and Uche Abalogu (CTO, Harbinger Capital Partners) and two vendors: Dr. Songnian Zhou (CEO, Platform Computing) and Matt Blythe (Product Manager, Technical Computing, Microsoft) discussed the merits and challenges of cloud computing. In summary, the panelists believe FS firms are first looking at better utilizing their existing infrastructure resources by building their own private clouds. While firms are exploring hybrid clouds and expect that this is eventually where they will head, security, data management and latency remain key issues in their adoption.

In summary it seems that building private clouds was where the focus was now and that partnering with a vendor like Platform who has experience in leveraging existing infrastructure to maximize efficiency and utilization, while still being able to meet business service levels is key in being successful.


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