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May 31, 2002

Facing A new Realitly: The SIA Conference addresses changing technology needs in a changing world.

By Editorial Staff

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  • Facing A new Realitly: The SIA Conference addresses changing technology needs in a changing world.

Every summer, the best of the best in the trading industry gather in New York to talk technology. This year, the Securities Industry Association's annual Technology Management Conference will take place from Wednesday, June 19, through Friday, June 21, in New York City. The theme is "The New Reality," and attendees will hear securities industry experts and technology providers address topical issues in financial services and technology.

Just a few years ago, Y2K and the dot-com boom drove the industry's technology innovations/adaptations. Today, the industry is faced with budget constraints and a new set of business priorities that dictate its technology needs greatly impacted by a cooler economy and the events of September 11. These new priorities now "drive" the industry's technology changes and resources.

The New Priorities

Among the new priorities is establishing business continuity plans (BCP) for potential business disruptions. Firms must establish back-up plans, which requires a reallocation of money and time. In fact, the National Association of Securities Dealers recently issued for comment a proposal that would require firms to have BCP plans in place.

Meanwhile, the "playing field" is rapidly changing. Gone are the days when investors bought securities through an auction or through dealer markets. Not only are there new players, but the traditional lines that demarcate exchanges and electronic communications networks have blurred. And there are other factors that affect technology and financial services, too such as decimalization, new regulations and the industry-wide initiative of straight-through processing and T+1. As a result of all this, technology providers are confronting new, even unforeseen, changes in the industry's technology needs. Providers will need to adapt, evolve and provide technology solutions to these problems as well as future ones. This new challenge faces us all and reflects the "new reality."

Risk Management

Due in part to events over the past year, both political and economic, risk management technologies have increasingly come under the microscope. The market has been inundated with firms that are offering new systems and new technologies geared precisely to protect trading firms from the predicaments that can be brought on by unforeseen circumstances. "Anything to do with continuity planning/disaster recovery will be of great interest," says Art Trager, SIA vice president and managing director of Technology and Operations and staff adviser for the Technology Management Conference. "Security will be big, too (such as monitoring networks, intrusion detection, etc.). People are looking for ways to be more efficient and to save money, so the vendors are trying hard on all fronts to do that and help their customers do that."

Creating operating redundancies and secure contingency plans that can be seamlessly adopted in the event of a tragedy are crucial to many firms going forward. Firms that offer these kinds of technological solutions will be well represented at this year's SIA Conference.

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