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July 27, 2005

New Initiatives at BRASS

By Nina Mehta

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SunGard's BRASS trade order management system earned its stripes on the back of its OTC market-making ability. For more than a decade, it has been the leading platform for market-makers. About 70 percent of Nasdaq orders currently go through BRASS. But with the trading landscape changing and competition gearing up among sellside OMS's, BRASS has had to emphasize its strengths.

(Traders Magazine, July 2005) -- Patrick Lynch, president of BRASS, a SunGard Trading Systems business unit, admits that BRASS has not been effective in telling its story. "BRASS has 200 clients and is the market-leading entity in sellside OMS's in the U.S.," he says. "With our Universal Market Access and Broker Direct U2 products, we're also the largest in the direct market access space as well."

Lynch recognizes that BRASS has competitors, but says the firm is well positioned. In the last year, BRASS has emphasized increasing its attention to compliance and compliance-related issues. In addition, BRASS has launched a number of user groups to provide input on various aspects of the ASP model, its testing services and other development initiatives.

In the DMA arena, BRASS's new-generation Broker Direct U2 (which uses Microsoft's .Net platform) and UMA products are being expanded to offer broker-sponsored algorithmic trading to sellside clients and their customers. To extend its reach, BRASS recently struck up an arrangement with Advanced Financial Applications' IMPACT Pro to integrate its sponsored DMA capabilities into AFA's suite of trading tools oriented toward small- and medium-size hedge fund clients. Last month BRASS also unveiled BRASS Buy-Side Direct, a broker-neutral DMA platform that brokers can extend to their buyside clients.

Lynch took over as president in April when James Leman left SunGard Trading Systems to become head of execution trading for HSBC Securities. Lynch, who was COO until then, previously served as CEO of Sector Inc., the telecom services division of SIAC, the Securities Industry Automation Corp.

Mark Clark, executive vice president, heads the BRASS DMA effort. Last year BRASS also hired Andrew Cinquina from Goldman Sachs as head of development. He oversees product integration, product expansion, and the development of new technologies, and will focus on global - not just U.S. domestic securities - markets. Lynch notes that BRASS is primed to win market share overseas because of its OMS and DMA strengths, despite a relatively flat market.

Overall, BRASS execs stress that they are focusing on initiatives to benefit brokers and other customers, address compliance obligations and increase efficiency. Traders Magazine Contributing writer Nina Mehta spoke with Lynch and Clark about how BRASS plans to do that.

Traders: Give us an overview of what you're currently working on at BRASS.