Sunday, November 18, 2007

Information Technology Awards in Financial Services 2007

Winners of our fifth annual Waters Rankings 2007 - excellence in the field of financial technology.

Best Brokerage: Goldman Sachs

Best Crossing Network: ITG

Best Sell-Side Clearing: Goldman Sachs

Best Investor Services: JPMorgan Chase

Best Sell-Side OMS: SunGard

Best Buy-Side OMS: Bloomberg

Best Portfolio Management System: Charles River

Best Execution Management System: Bloomberg

Best Enterprise Data Management: Accenture

Best Streaming Data Management: StreamBase

Best Exchange Data Feeds: Nasdaq

Best AML Solution: Mantas

Best Messaging Compliance: Symantec

Best Risk Management Provider: SunGard

Best Trading Turret: BT Trading Systems

Best Financial Network: BT Radianz

Best Networking Infrastructure: Cisco

Best Business Process Management: Tibco

Best Server Virtualization: VMware

Best Grid Infrastructure Solution: IBM

Best Consultancy: Accenture

Best Outsourcing Partner: Infosys Technologies


Goldman Retakes Gold

1st Goldman Sachs (32.6%) 2nd Morgan Stanley (12%) 3rd Merrill Lynch (7.6%)

A guiding principle at Goldman Sachs is "complacency can lead to extinction." The investment banking giant shows no signs of straying from this maxim in its institutional brokerage services this year after it increased its lead over the nearest rival to an impressive 20.6 percent of the vote.

The investment firm's multi-product electronic trading platform REDIPlus offers buy-side clients access to a wide variety of asset classes and markets across the globe. The system can be adapted to suit a variety of trading styles, providing a complete front-to-back office technology solution that enables clients to trade equities, options, futures and foreign exchange. Over the past year, Goldman has updated the platform's multi-broker service to include routing to other brokers' algorithms in both the US and Europe, allowing clients to route and trade from a single front end. The system is designed to provide a flexible solution to Goldman's broad client base, which has a variety of system and infrastructure needs.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs' Algorithmic Trading (GSAT) offering provides a suite of proprietary algorithms, trading strategies and pre-trade, real-time and post-trade analytics. This trading technology offers an anonymous portal to tap into hidden liquidity using small orders, block orders and algorithmic orders. With industry analysts predicting that more than half of buy-side firms will use algorithms by 2009, Goldman's offering matches where the market is heading.

Global markets participants are demanding access to ever faster and sophisticated routes to transact. The investment bank offers institutional investors a broad and deep set of offerings, providing customized solutions to start-up funds and long-established money managers.

Rounding out the brokerage race, Morgan Stanley moves up to second place by displacing Lehman Brothers, which has fallen from the top three. Merrill Lynch claims the third place spot with 7.6 percent of the vote.


ITG Finishes First

1st ITG Posit (40%) 2nd Liquidnet (14.8%) 3rd Instinet (12.6%)

Agency brokerage and technology firm ITG bounces back to scoop this new accolade for its crossing networks, despite slipping off the rankings in 2006. In the rapidly changing trading landscape, where off-exchange trading is gaining wider traction, ITG's Posit enables large, anonymous executions that minimize market impact.

ITG's flagship product, Posit Match, operates on a call market basis, batching orders and comparing and matching them 12 times daily, including two after-hours matches at 4:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. EST, on the price in the stock's market at the time. In Europe, the platform crosses equities eight times daily within normal market hours.

ITG launched Posit Now, a continuous, intraday, anonymous crossing network for equities. The product crosses orders at the midpoint price of the underlying market, offering a 50 percent saving on the bid/offer spread.

The Posit networks can be accessed through an ITG portal as well as FIX, Bloomberg or directly through the user's own order management systems (OMSes).

As well as Posit Now and Posit Match, ITG also offers a crossing service for global block orders. Formed in 2006 as a joint venture with Merrill Lynch, Block Alert uses the bank's global distribution to provide an enlarged liquidity pool for block orders.

Besides its crossing networks, ITG offers a full suite of products from pre-trade to direct market access to order management and post-trade analytics.

Founded in 1999, rival Liquidnet offers institutional investors an off-market, negotiation trading venue, and in 2005 added its H2O service that also allows sell-side participation. In third place is Instinet Crossing, which can be accessed through any third-party OMS. ITG also took first place in the Waters 2005 ranking for best transaction cost analysis.


Goldman Gains Ground

1st Goldman Sachs (20%) 2nd Bear Stearns (10%) 3rd Barclays Capital (7.9%)

After narrowly missing the top position in the sell-side clearing space by 1.5 percent in last year's Rankings, Goldman Sachs Execution and Clearing (GSEC) musters an impressive 10 percent lead over its competitors.

Formed in 2000 after the acquisition of Spear, Leeds and Kellogg, GSEC provides clearing and execution services to traders on all major US exchanges across different markets and asset classes from equities and options, to futures and foreign exchange in the US, Europe, and Asia.

The global clearer prides itself on offering cost-effective and technologically advanced clearing solutions through economies of scale and straight through processing. GSEC's diversified client base includes pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, corporate institutions, proprietary trading firms, other broker-dealers and central banks. The firm's Web-based customer access system enables clients to track historical data and information that can then be customized and sorted according to personal preference.

JPMorgan Securities, one of the largest global euro clearers, was voted number one last year and was in third place in 2005, but this year is bumped off the list altogether. Climbing into second place is Bear Stearns Global Clearing Services, which provides clearing to prime brokers and broker-dealers as well as hedge funds and independent investment advisers on the buy side. Futures clearing is an integral part of Bear Stearns' prime brokerage business. The firm has been active in the clearing space for 25 years.

Meanwhile, London-based Barclays Capital, new to the Rankings in this category, comes in third place with 7.9 percent of the vote. The firm provides execution and clearing brokerage services for exchange-traded derivatives and is a member of all the major futures exchanges.


JPMorgan Jumps Ahead

1st JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services (33.4%) 2nd State Street (18.4%) 3rd Bank of New York (12.8%)

Holding its title for a second successive year, JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services (JPMWSS) remains on top of the pile as far as institutional investors are concerned. As custodian to an asset stash of $14.7 trillion, the firm provides custody, fund accounting and administration and securities services to institutional investors, alternative asset managers and debt and equity issuers in more than 90 markets.

Founded in 2005, JPMWSS continues to grow and develop its services and offerings. In April, it launched two new investment tools to help investors boost returns on their portfolios. One is designed to rank investment managers on the consistency of risk-adjusted performance, identifying those who generate consistent alpha over time. The second enables investors to explore different levels of risk and return that could result from changes in asset allocation or investment manager. New clients also continue to file in as the firm's services develop. Boston-based buy-side firm MFS Investment Management went live with JPMWSS in January for custody, fund accounting and securities lending services. And after reviewing its custody arrangements, the £3.6 billion ($7.2 billion) London Pensions Fund Authority re-appointed JPMorgan as its custodian in February.

Chasing JPMorgan's lead again this year is investment servicing giant State Street. With $12.3 trillion in assets under custody and $1.8 trillion under management, the Boston-based firm is not far behind. Operating in 26 countries, State Street's services include fund administration, custody and securities lending to asset managers, pension funds, hedge funds, insurance companies and mutual funds. In March, State Street was appointed sole custodian to the foreign currency insurance funds of China Life Insurance Company, the largest life insurance company in China.


SunGard Stays on Top

1st SunGard (33.1%) 2nd Fidessa (23.7%) 3rd Lava Trading (15.3%)

While the technology that powers order management systems (OMSes) continues to develop, the industry's view this year of the OMS provider that deserves to be on top is the same as last year. Financial services giant SunGard remains the most popular sell-side OMS vendor in the Waters Rankings, boosting its share of the vote from 26 percent last year to 33.1 percent in 2007.

The vendor's Brass OMS—used by more than 170 sell-side clients worldwide—manages and routes orders, and provides detailed execution reporting, trade analytics and customer relationship management. The Broker Direct U2 direct market access tool set includes specialized front-end profiles for market-making, and agency and proprietary trading. Launched last year, Brass' EnGard integrates compliance support with strategic business management capabilities.

Two new sell-side clients hopped onboard the SunGard bandwagon last October: New York's Prudential Equity Group and Pennsylvania's Susquehanna International Group. Prudential, which executes trades on behalf of more than 2,000 institutional clients, installed the system as its trading platform for listed and Nasdaq securities. Susquehanna adopted the Brass solution as its platform for trading, market access and compliance of its OTC and listed securities trading business.

Remaining in second place is London-based Fidessa, formerly known as Royalblue, which took top honors as best OMS provider in 2004. Fresh from its headline-grabbing acquisition of buy-side OMS powerhouse LatentZero, Fidessa has increased its share of the vote from 18.9 percent to 23.7 percent. Last year, the vendor launched Fidessa BlueBox, a fully integrated, scalable algorithmic engine that offers industry standard models out of the box and a comprehensive framework to design and deploy proprietary algorithms. Clinging onto solid third place, which it secured last year, is New York's Lava Trading, a subsidiary of Citi.


Bloomberg Steals the Show

1st Bloomberg (26.6%) 2nd Charles River Development (16.4%) 3rd Advent Software (13.3%)

Waters readers in financial firms have voted Bloomberg best buy-side OMS provider for the second year in a row. Two years ago, Charles River Development attracted almost twice the number of votes as Bloomberg, its nearest competitor. Fast forward to last year when the tables began to turn, as Bloomberg squeezed a narrow victory. This year, Bloomberg is furlongs in front with more than 26.6 percent of the vote. Charles River Development, in a solid second place, brings in 16.4 percent of the vote, while Advent Software carries third with 13.3 percent.

Bloomberg's OMS offering consists of two products. The Portfolio Order Management System (POMS) is a front-end asset management tool with pre-trade, trade and post-trade analytics and compliance functions, including an array of global compliance templates. POMS supports all asset classes and ticketing for all types of securities from a single platform and is seamlessly integrated with Bloomberg market data, news and analytics.

A version of POMS is also available for alternative investment firms, called POMS Alternative Investment Manager (POMS-AIM). It is a front-end platform providing solutions for order management, position management and P&L, compliance and audit trail, risk management, disaster recovery, trade settlement and integration. Some 350 customers currently use POMS and POMS-AIM worldwide.

Despite losing ground to Bloomberg in the last two years, Charles River is currently expanding its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and recently relocated its Asia-Pacific headquarters to a new location in downtown Melbourne, Australia, to accommodate its growing product and service offering for clients in the region.


Charles River Stands Firm

1st Charles River Development (28.1%) 2nd Advent Software (20.7%) 3rd ITG Macgregor (14.9%)

Charles River Development claims top spot in the best portfolio management system (PMS) category for the third consecutive year. The Boston-based vendor's Charles River Manager, a module of the vendor's Investment Management System (IMS), once again proves to be a valuable tool for enabling investment managers to create and implement ideas across portfolios.

The system consolidates all of the data, tools and connectivity required for successful and efficient portfolio management, with services ranging from modeling and rebalancing to "what if" analysis and order generation. Charles River Manager assists managers with decision support and order generation and efficiently communicates information to the dealing desk. The system allows investment data to be efficiently organized and offers tools to support investment decisions, from their inception to execution. This can be done whether the driver of portfolio activity is a contribution or withdrawal, gain or loss harvesting, sector or country exposure, or a periodic portfolio rebalance.

Charles River Manager has been updated over the past 12 months to support credit and interest rate derivatives with exposure management tools, relevant analytics, and compliance/deal capture features. Furthermore, the portfolio management analysis tools—delivered via Chares River Anywhere, the new Web-based portal to the vendor's IMS—allows managers to obtain access to their enterprise portfolio management system and order management system remotely. Charles River has this year enhanced model and benchmark analysis and rebalancing features, real-time market data integration and real-time decision-support capabilities in an effort to retain its position.

Meanwhile, Advent Software, founded in 1983, which provides technology to firms in 60 countries managing investments worth almost $14 trillion, more than doubles its share of the vote from last year to earn second place with 20.7 percent of the vote. This year's Rankings marks the first time ITG Macgregor breaks into the top three, garnering 14.9 percent of the vote.


Bloomberg Takes Off

1st Bloomberg (20.5%) 2nd ITG (11.4%) 3rd Lava Trading (9.1%)

Execution management systems (EMSes) continue to be the big thing in the buy-side trading world and Waters readers rank Bloomberg the top vendor for the second successive year, leaving ITG and Lava Trading in the dust by a strong margin.

Launched in 2005, the Bloomberg EMS provides order analytics, handling, execution and transaction cost analysis to enable clients to seek best execution on their orders. It is available at every Bloomberg terminal at no additional cost to existing customers and can handle both equity and fixed-income executions. The system is connected to 1,500 FIX and non-FIX broker-dealer destinations worldwide through the vendor's high-speed order routing network. The platform allows buy-side traders to create their own custom trading blotters and performance benchmarks, and analyze their executions every step of the way. It also offers custom index creation, performance and execution graphics, and a real-time sorting and filtering option to identify orders that need special handling.

While Bloomberg stays on top, ITG bursts into the EMS rankings, elbowing last year's runner up, Lava Trading, into third place. ITG's two EMS offerings, Triton and Radical, have both been gaining traction over the past year. In February, the vendor introduced broker algorithms to Triton, which gives clients access to proprietary algorithms from 10 top sell-side firms, in addition to ITG's own algorithmic trading suite, through the Triton trading blotter. In March, the firm's EMS, Radical, acquired options routing capabilities so that users can now execute options as well as equities from the same platform. Jack-of-all-trades Lava Trading misses the top prize again this year, but it is a top contender in more than one field, coming in third in our rankings for sell-side OMS provider as well as EMS.


Accenture Achieves Victory

1st Accenture (24.3%) 2nd IBM (21.4%) 3rd SunGard (18.4%)

Stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements as part of anti-money laundering regulations have made enterprise data management (EDM) more important than ever. Business leaders recognize the necessity for clean reference data and EDM has made its way up the prioritization ladder. But sorting out siloed data warehouses and data quality issues is no easy task and the competition between vendors is fierce.

In one of the closest votes of this year's Waters Rankings, Accenture comes out on top of the EDM category, knocking IBM off the top perch it attained last year.

Last year, Accenture sponsored independent research from the Tabb Group to survey 50 buy-side and sell-side firms in the US and Europe to find out how they regarded the quality of their data and the need to improve their processes. The survey found that firms are more willing now than ever before to consider outsourcing their data management.

Accenture's Data Management Services offers a managed service for acquiring, validating, consolidating and publishing reference data. The solution is an all-in-one replacement for fragmented, in-house data management operations that populate many investment firms. Accenture woos potential clients with an emphasis on time and cost savings, reduced business and operational risks and improved efficiency.

After dominating the EDM category for the past two years, IBM and SunGard are elbowed out. Missing the top position by less than 3 percent of the votes, IBM's EDM service enables firms to synchronize data and supply chain operations on their existing infrastructure. In third is SunGard's ReferencePoint, an open technology platform for the enterprise-wide consolidation, management and integration of data that sources reference data from more than 100 third-party locations. SunGard took the top position in 2005.


StreamBase Rides a Wave

1st StreamBase (30.4%) 2nd SunGard (28.4%) 3rd Vhayu (9.8%)

To the list of life's constants—death and taxes—those in financial services can add one more inevitable event: rising data volumes. Thanks to compliance regulations that aim at increasing transparency and advanced trading strategies, industry observers predict that the volume of market data will explode in the coming months.

Managing that flood of data will be an ever important job for today's data and IT professionals. Data is the lifeblood of any financial services organization. If an investment firm needs to prove that it adhered to "best execution" guidelines in a client or regulatory audit, it must produce every bit of data that factored into its decision to execute the trade. At these moments, streaming data can become a true flood. That's where StreamBase comes in.

In June, this year's winning firm announced StreamBase 5.0 of its Complex Event Processing (CEP) platform. This version introduces major new functionality and addresses many customer feature requests related to developer productivity, out-of-the box application frameworks, end-to-end application development, expanded support for advanced data types, flexible pattern matching, enterprise-class security, and high-capacity tickstore support.

This release builds on the industry-leading performance of previous releases–and is the fastest CEP server available today, according to the company. The enhancements further speed the development and delivery of CEP applications that address the rapidly growing real-time processing demands of customers worldwide.

As data volumes climb, the race for the best streaming data management solution has become tighter. Last year, industry behemoth SunGard won in this category but this year manages a close second place, two percentage points behind StreamBase. Meanwhile Vhayu, despite a solid year, comes in a distant third with less than 10 percent of the votes tallied.


Nasdaq Leads the Way

1st Nasdaq (31.8%) 2nd NYSE (20%) 3rd CME (15.5%)

For a sector that is centuries old, the competition among exchanges has never been more fierce. At this time, consolidation among the major players—from Frankfurt and London to New York and Chicago—is driving the race for the best market data originator.

In a vote for the best exchange data feeds, New York-based Nasdaq clinches victory for the second year in a row with a convincing 11.8 percent lead over the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which rises from third place last year. Nasdaq's core data feeds incorporate the combined functionality derived from its acquisition of SunGard's Brut ECN in 2004 and the Inet ECN in 2005. Last September, Nasdaq introduced new features from Inet to its feeds, including BookViewer, which provides Inet order book depth for securities listed on NYSE and the American Stock Exchange.

Nasdaq's feeds use Inet's ITCH protocol, which distributes orders as they are presented in the matching engine rather than aggregating orders at the same price point as Nasdaq did before its ECN acquisitions. Nasdaq clients say that the ITCH protocol is reliable and scalable, and they confirm their trust by voting Nasdaq top dog.

Meanwhile, despite a fresh-faced, new feel after the completion of its merger with Euronext in April, NYSE trails behind Nasdaq, according to Waters readers. NYSE distributes data through the Consolidated Tape Association (CTA) feed of its subsidiary, the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC). Last year, it developed a new feed, known as NYSE Level 1, to be delivered independently of SIAC. The move was designed to meet the need for low-latency data by avoiding the process by which SIAC consolidates feeds from different exchanges to create the CTA feeds. With 20 percent of the vote for best data feeds, the transatlantic exchange giant is gaining ground.


Mantas: On the Money

1st Mantas (79.9%) 2nd SAS (6.5%) 3rd SearchSpace (3.2%)

As regulators step up their requirements for anti-money laundering initiatives, one AML-compliance solution provider stands out from the crowd, according to Waters readers. After relatively close races between Mantas and second SAS in the last two years, Mantas storms to victory this year with nearly 80 percent of the votes for best anti-money laundering (AML) solution provider. Last year's winner, SAS, slips down into second place with 6.5 percent of the votes and SearchSpace remains in third place, with 3.2 percent.

Mantas' AML solution provides automated, comprehensive and consistent surveillance of accounts, customers and correspondents across all business lines for suspicious activities and possible money laundering. The mission critical solution supports all business units of a financial institution in multiple geographies. This comprehensive world view allows investment firms to leverage their compliance investment across business lines in order to ensure a common level of compliance throughout the enterprise.

Mantas was acquired by i-flex Solutions last October and launched version 5.0 of its suite of behavior detection solutions in February. The system analyzes the behaviors of customers, employees and partners in every transaction across the enterprise. It detects sudden significant changes in the transaction activity of an account, as well as tracking transactions by suspect parties or those in high-risk areas. The system also tracks secret or hidden relationships between entities and accounts, and monitors other behavioral parameters that suggest illegal activity. For this version, the vendor upgraded the graphical user interface and document management features, and added enhancements to facilitate upgrades and integration with middleware from Oracle and IBM.

SAS' bespoke, risk-based solutions work alongside rules-based monitoring systems to identify high-risk entities whether or not a suspect transaction has occurred, and are available as hosted solutions. Formed in 1993, SearchSpace solutions for fraud management and anti-money laundering enable financial institutions to track, analyze and act upon all customer transactions to reduce risk.


Symantec Stays Strong

1st Symantec (23.8%) 2nd EMC/Legato (22.6%) 3rd Orchestria (17.9%)

Symantec retains its title as best messaging compliance solution, but just by a hair. The California-based software giant's lead whittles down to just 1.2 percent as last year's rival EMC/Legato continues to gain ground. Clearly, the message compliance space is heating up.

As the tidal wave of e-mails and instant messages (IMs) continues to rise, capital markets firms still turn to Symantec IMlogic's best-of-breed IM management and compliance software to stay afloat of today's regulatory and corporate governance policies.

As IM use grows, so does the number of potential security attacks that target IM networks. Firms must ensure that systems are watertight against the threats posed by messaging viruses, worms and other forms of malware. Symantec is a robust defense against these cyber threats.

The platform supports a plethora of major IM networks, including AOL Instant Messenger, GoogleTalk, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger. It also supports enterprise IM offerings such as Microsoft Live Communications Server, IBM/Lotus Sametime and Jabber.

The IMlogic Real-Time Threat Protection System (RTTPS) provides a threat protection system for predictive, automatic threat identification, and prevention. The RTTPS technology proactively prevents IM virus, worm, and malware outbreaks before they become threats. The RTTPS passively monitors all enterprise IM traffic and looks for network anomalies and potential malicious behavior. Once a potential threat is recognized, the solution identifies the new threat signature and stops the potential outbreak by blocking it at the propagation point.

Symantec is well-positioned in the market as a vendor offering a complete security and archiving solution to help banks manage all their messaging requirements. Meanwhile, Orchestria, which claimed first place in the category in 2005, sees its share of the vote fall to 17.9 percent.


SunGard Tackles Risk

1st SunGard (29.5%) 2nd Riskmetrics (17%) 3rd SAS (11.4%)

SunGard's holistic approach to managing risk helps grab the top spot for the software and processing solutions provider. The vendor's flagship products Adaptiv, a credit and market risk management and operations solution; and BancWare, an operational risk management, corporate governance, regulatory compliance and internal audit solution, continue to be favorite tools for risk managers.

This year, both SunGard platforms have been implemented by financial services firms across the globe. The solutions address internal and industry-wide risk management challenges, such as the breaking down of silos between risk management functions at financial institutions, and meeting regulatory requirements.

In the US, Tennessee-based financial services provider FTN Financial implemented SunGard's Adaptiv 360 solution earlier this spring to help streamline the management of its over-the-counter derivatives transactions. In South Korea, Daewoo Securities integrated SunGard's 360 enterprise risk management solution to help manage regulatory requirements for new and complex derivatives.

Adaptiv enables capital markets firms to deploy technology to meet both internal and regulatory requirements for risk management and operational control through the use of Intel architecture and Microsoft's .Net software environments to provide flexibility and scalability in development and implementation. Adaptiv has a customer base that includes banks, hedge funds, asset management firms and insurance companies in more than 20 countries.

Italian bank Gruppo Bancario Credito Emiliano chose BancWare Capital Manager to help implement the standardized and IRB foundation approaches for Basel II compliance. BancWare offers scenario analysis functionality, operational risk loss data collection, key risk indicators, and risk control and self-assessments.

Riskmetrics Group completed its acquisition of Institutional Shareholders Services in January of this year.


BT Tramples Top Turret Tier

1st BT Trading Systems (50%) 2nd IPC (33.3%) 3rd Siemens (8.9%)

The trading turret run is over. For three straight years, IPC won the best trading turret category in the Waters Rankings from 2004 until 2006. This year, however, close rival BT Trading Systems takes the honors with a solid 50 percent of the votes.

A trader's turret is more than a telephone with extra extensions—it is command central for every broker-dealer around the globe. Even in this age of electronic trading, where deals are struck in milliseconds, the human trader needs a trading turret to juggle multiple deals in every financial center in the world. He or she must work harder in essence to become relationship managers. Enter the ITS Turrets from BT Trading Systems.

Backed by BT's Internet Protocol technology, ITS.Netrix is also available in time division multiplexing (TDM). The turret offers multi-media support for voice, video and data and comes in both push button and touch screen. Designed for demanding users with flexibility in mind, ITS.Netrix features an intuitive user interface with simple controls and color displays, along with modular desktop arrangements to accommodate various needs across a trading room. BT also offers a soft version of its turret called ITS Anywhere, which extends access to BT's ITS platform from a range of devices, allowing traders to securely log in from remote locations, such as home or workplace recovery sites. The soft turret can also be enabled on BlackBerrys, mobile phones and IP phones. BT just launched a hosted version of its ITS platform for firms, such as hedge funds, with little in-house technology infrastructure.

Second-place IPC remains a strong presence in this hotly contested space, so this two-vendor race is likely to continue. However, this year the winner is on Line One.


BT Radianz Blazes On

1st BT Radianz (30.8%) 2nd Swift (28.2%) 3rd ITG (12%)

Four years of Waters Rankings have meant four straight wins for BT Radianz in the category of Best Financial Network.

Connectivity is a challenge for investment firms of all stripes—whether they are 100-year-old, white shoe establishments or up-and-coming hedge funds. With the BT Radianz network, firms can pipe into any exchange, ECN, transfer agent, market data vendor, broker-dealer, global custodian and others on a secure network. The days of building your own individual pipe to these venues are long gone. Originating in 2000, when Reuters and Equant teamed up to form what was billied as "the largest IP network for financial services," Radianz was acquired in 2005 by BT.

BT Radianz has a shared market infrastructure and a neutral platform that provides turnkey access to a broad array of pre-trade, trade, and post-trade applications from leading content and service providers across the straight-through processing (STP) chain. In terms of STP, Logicscope, a provider of multi-asset data management and STP solutions, has signed onto the BT Radianz shared market infrastructure to offer hosted access to TradeSTP, its multi-asset trade notification product.

In the realm of direct market access (DMA), BT Radianz offers its Radianz Proximity Solution for flexible, scalable, and low-latency connectivity to major market data, execution centers and trading venues around the world. Just look at some recent BT Radianz news: RSJ, a Czech specialist brokerage, is exploiting BT Radianz's low latency connection from its Prague headquarters to exchanges in London.

This year it's a tight race for best financial network. BT Radianz crosses the finish line with 30.8 percent of the vote, while second place winner Swift earns 28.2 percent of the vote. Swift operates a secure and reliable financial messaging network for its member banks and other financial institutions and recently introduced a secure person-to-person messaging service, SwiftNet Mail, on its IP network SwiftNet. Third place's ITG earns 12 percent of the vote.


Cisco Rocks

1st Cisco (47.2%) 2nd Verizon (24.1%) 3rd BT (14.8%)

Cisco Systems wins a landslide victory in the Best Networking Infrastructure category, commanding 47.2 percent of the vote.

The California-based networking giant, which this year went head-to-head with Apple over the name of the computing giant's iPhone, continues to demonstrate its mastery in developing intelligent information networks that are scalable, adaptable and cost effective.

Cisco's Intelligent Information Network (IIN) turns the traditional IT "cost center" into a strategic tool that seeks to enable sophisticated IT functionality, such as virtualization, telepresence, application integration, and optimization that streamlines IT processes.

Investment banks continue to turn to Cisco when they seek to create an architecture roadmap to build a more resilient, adaptive and intelligent network.

Capital markets firms also value Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC), a set of technologies and solutions built on an industry initiative led by Cisco. Cisco's NAC uses the network infrastructure to enforce security policy compliance on all devices that can obtain access to network computing resources. As investment banks become ever more dependent on handheld mobile devices such as PDAs, Cisco's NAC will play an increasingly valuable role in providing security. Customers using NAC can allow network access only to compliant and trusted endpoint devices and can restrict the access of noncompliant devices.

Meanwhile, New Jersey-based technology specialist Verizon should not be too disappointed with 24.1 percent of the vote and a second place finish. BT comes in third, garnering 14.8 percent of the vote. The UK-based telecommunications giant has a wide network infrastructure offering including datacenter storage and services, enterprise security, local area network and private circuits.


Tibco Takes the Crown

1st Tibco (40.7%) 2nd IBM (27.5%) 3rd BEA Systems (11%)

For the third year in a row, Tibco Software takes first place in the Best Business Process Management category. This year Tibco garnered an impressive 40.7 percent of the vote, while IBM retained second place with 27.5 percent.

Tibco's acquisition of Staffware's Process Suite in 2004 has allowed the vendor to carve out a leading role in the business process management (BPM) market. Tibco offers products that span the full range of BPM services, such as event management, human-centric functionality, monitoring, partner management, process modeling, and business rules support.

This spring, Tibco announced plans to release Tibco Business Studio 2.0, a standards-based modeling environment designed to enable seamless collaboration between business and IT users to develop executable business process models. It will be rolled out next year, and promises to deliver a single platform focused on usability for creating next-generation infrastructure applications, enhancing the managing and modeling of business processes.

Tibco's consolidation of its service oriented architecture (SOA) product, BusinessWorks, with its suite of BPM services—which combines risk management, exception handling and compliance tasks with access to reference data and other tools via an SOA—has proved popular with capital markets firms. This enables investment firms to map libraries of business processes alongside services.

IBM's continued investment in BPM helped it retain second place with a respectable 27.5 percent of the vote. The computing giant has developed a variety of solutions based on SOA that help firms to build business processes that are able to adapt to the fast evolving pace of the market.

Meanwhile, BEA Systems takes third spot. The San Jose, Calif.-based company continues to expand the reach of its BEA AquaLogic product line, which helps capital markets firms reduce the complexity of IT systems and deploy service-oriented architectures to improve efficiencies in BPM.


Real Returns for VMware

1st VMware (34.1%) 2nd GemStone (29.7%) 3rd GigaSpaces (17.6%)

Your firm has built a grid network and two changes are so inevitable that they are practically written in stone. First, you must prepare to grow your grid. That thousand CPU-server farm might be fine for your high compute needs right now but it will be a chugging and wheezing laughing-stock in five years. Second, you will have to virtualize your grid.

And both of these to-dos should be started now.

But first, a quick lesson in Virtualization 101: Virtualization allows network managers to separate the operating system from its physical hardware to free up more IT resources for the entire enterprise. Now, multiple virtual machines and heterogeneous operating systems run in isolation, side-by-side on the same physical machine. Each machine has its own virtual hardware—memory and chips—with the operating system and applications loaded on top of that.

The benefits are clear. IT staffers can manage multiple applications and operating systems within a single physical system. Servers can be consolidated into virtual machines on either a scale-up or scale-out architecture. Finally, computing resources are treated as a uniform pool that can be doled out to virtual machines in a tightly managed manner.

This year's winner was VMware, an EMC company, which repeats its win from last year. The firm's client base includes Merrill Lynch, Mechanics Bank, CommerzBank, Russell Investments Group, UMB Financial Corp., and others. Along with virtualizing the server farm, VMware also aims at the datacenters where CPUs lay idle, awaiting orders and missions. The VMware Infrastructure 3 suite consists of VMware ESX Server and VMware VirtualCenter, and now has distributed services, including VMware HA, VMware DRS and VMware Consolidated Backup.

In this fast-rising category, VMware beats out GemStone, which clocks in second place with nearly 30 percent of the vote, while GigaSpaces, a hard-charging virtualization solution provider based in Israel, grabs 17.6 percent of the vote.


Big Blue and the Greater Grid

1st IBM (46.2%) 2nd DataSynapse (17.6%) 3rd Microsoft (15.4%)

As Waters and Dealing with Technology's recent Street#Grid and City#Grid events have shown, grid computing is white hot. The investment firm that has yet to implement a high-computer grid server farm is living in denial. Its competitors are about to leave it behind in the dust.

Taking a first place win last year in the same category, IBM leaves little doubt that it is the top dog in the Grid Infrastructure solution provider kennel. With an impressive 46.2 percent of the vote—IBM's competitors have a way to go before challenging the network giant.

Clearly, gird networks are maturing and are designed to accomplish more these days. Nearly a decade ago when the first grids appeared on Wall Street and in the City, the connected CPUs in the server farm were bare bones and basic, to say the least. Now, managing a grid is a job that requires an entire team of experts, third-party vendors, and consultants in order to create a grid network that can tackle complex structured products and derivatives.

For financial firms' infrastructure needs, IBM offers its Grid and Grow Express Implementation solution, which aims to boost the performance of mission-critical applications and provides fast, efficient grid technologies at a reduced risk. Big Blue's offering includes hardware—such as IBM's line of blade servers—software, and services for deploying a solid grid environment. According to an IBM white paper, user firms must address grid networks in terms of security, resource management, information services and data management. Big Blue offerings address all of these needs.

DataSynapse lays claim to second place for the second year in a row with 17.6 percent of the vote, while Microsoft garners third place with 15.4 percent of the vote.


Accenture Brings IT Home

1st Accenture (22.8%) 2nd Deloitte (15.8%) 3rd McKinsey & Co. (12.3%)

Global management consultancy firm Accenture jumps from third to first place in this year's Rankings by knocking household name McKinsey & Co. from the top position.

Accenture helps financial services firms adopt a "high performance" business strategy to enable them to enter new markets, increase revenues in existing markets, improve operational performance and deliver products and services more efficiently.

Accenture's capital markets consultants advise financial institutions about minimizing their focus on non-core corporate and securities operations along with maximizing their efforts to transform how trading operations are executed and information is delivered. Services include application outsourcing, business process outsourcing, corporate strategy, customer relationship management, finance management, human resources management, IT strategy, infrastructure outsourcing, research and innovation, strategic transformation and supply chain management. The consultancy has also developed sophisticated research methodologies to help firms in capital markets deliver high levels of performance.

This year, Accenture announced plans to increase its global reach by hiring more management consultants in offices across the globe. As expected, India plays a key role in these plans and Accenture will have up to 2,000 consultants in Asia by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, Deloitte breaks into second place with 15.8 percent of the vote. The accountancy firm has carved out a suite of specialist consultancy services in technology integration. These include application transformation, business continuity management and security, business event integration, business intelligence, enterprise content management, enterprise portals, IT optimization, optimization for SAP R/3 and Sarbanes Oxley/SEC compliance and control.

Surprisingly, McKinsey & Co. drops to third place with 12.3 percent of the vote. The global management consulting firm combines knowledge of wholesale and retail banking, asset management and payments with expertise in managing IT operations, infrastructure, architecture and costs.


Infosys Draws a Crowd

1st Infosys Technologies (35.5%) 2nd EDS (15%) 3rd IBM (14%)

The rapid development of the outsourcing industry shows no sign of abating, with Infosys Technologies this year becoming the preferred partner among Rankings voters. Infosys, which is headquartered in the outsourcing hub of Bangalore, helps capital markets firms build new products or services and implement business and technology strategies.

Infosys uses a global delivery model to accelerate schedules with a high degree of time and cost predictability. The consulting and IT services firm, which this year earned more than twice the votes of its nearest rival EDS, offers outsourced application and infrastructure, enterprise, research and development, consulting, and business process outsourcing services. These services include supply chain management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, identity management, testing and automation, and corporate performance management.

Zurich Financial Services last summer implemented Infosys' Finacle Universal Banking Solution to replace its legacy systems with Finacle core banking and CRM solutions and to standardize its processes and systems across all its business lines.

Finacle has provided Zurich Banking with a powerful next generation technology platform, which has enabled it to expand its business by attracting new customers and enhancing cross-selling and up-selling opportunities with existing clients. The platform offers multi-entity, multi-currency capabilities and the ability to define and track service level agreements. The Zurich-based banking group has also significantly reduced costs by improved process efficiency, reduced duplication and straight-through-processing as well as faster time to market for new products.

Infosys' Finacle investment banking solution highlights the vendor's ability to leverage a repository of global skills and resources to provide solutions across a wide spectrum of technologies.

Meanwhile, EDS and IBM exchange places from last year in a close battle, which sees EDS claiming second place with 15 percent of the voters, while IBM falls into third place with 14 percent.

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