A palpable sigh of relief was issued by all Swift types early this month when the organization reassured exhibitors, presenters and delegates that its SIBOS conference will go ahead as planned next month. SARS reared its ugly head (hopefully, one last time) with a case in Singapore, raising the spectre that SIBOS Singapore might be cancelled a second time – the first being two years ago, immediately after the September 11 atrocities. Happily, that’s not the case, and Swift moved quickly to state that the show must indeed go on.
With Singapore 2001 having been cancelled, Singapore 2003 has it all to prove and, despite the SARS scare, expectations are running high. Part of this also relates to the mild recovery many are starting to feel in the marketplace. Could SIBOS be the catalyst for an increase in tempo generally for the messaging, STP and reference data aspects of the overall financial IT business? Meanwhile, closer to home, in London and New York, we continue to focus on more mundane ponderables. In discussions with information management types at firms on both sides of the Atlantic, we’ve noticed a common irritant: the lack of clarity on where in the financial institution responsibility for reference data strategy and implemenation rightfully resides. On several occasions in the past month, market data managers – those most typically associated with the management of real-time information services for the trading room – have complained that reference data strategy and, more uncomfortably in some cases, administration is increasingly falling upon their already-overburdened shoulders. Intrigued, we asked more of our data management friends, and the answer was the same; or rather, it was different: there is no recognized function type that is seen as the reference data silo from one institution to the next. Curiouser still, we added a question to our interviews for this issue of Reference Data Review: when you sell product into institutions, we asked a number of vendor product managers and sales people, who is it you sell to? The answer, consistently, is that it could be just about anyone and everyone. So where should reference data responsibility lie? So far, we’ve met CTOs, market data managers, STP project heads, all with assumed responsibility for descriptive data. It will be interesting to see how that responsibility shakes out as reference data projects gain more momentum. Meanwhile, back in Europe, that old chestnut ‘Telekurs Financial is for sale’ was doing the rounds. Every two years or so, this story sweeps through the marketplace, usually when Telekurs teams up with some or other vendor (we seem to remember talk about Standard & Poor’s being interested in an acquisition around the time the two got together on a co-marketing and sales agreement). Anyway, sorry to disappoint: Honcho Beat Koch, through a spokesperson, says it ain’t so. We’ll let you know if the situation changes. See you at Raffles!