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Foreign Exchange

Technology vendors 2004: The search for simplicity

Euromoney's first financial technology users' survey polled the market to find the software companies that had hit the heights expected of them by an ever more demanding financial services industry. As Jonathan Turton discovered, it's an industry that has never been afraid to get its programming feet wet, but the stakes are getting higher as compliance demands on financial institutions increase.

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Methodology and results

FROM HIS OFFICE on the sixty-ninth floor of the Empire State Building, John Beckert, president of Cognotec, looked out over New York harbour. "I was transfixed," he says. "The Queen Mary 2 was turning out of her berth, and it was so incredibly slow. In the end I had to tear myself away and go home for some dinner."

Moving 150,000 tons of ocean liner in a confined space is an immensely challenging task. "It's kind of like a large bank changing its underlying technology," Beckert says. "It's going to take a very long time, and it needs to be done very carefully."

He's not wrong. Banking is arguably the only large industry that still writes its own software. This has led to such a fragmented financial technology market that some banks can't take it all in, or can't find a suitably high-quality offering for what they want. But sticking your head in the sand isn't going to help when your competitors steal a march on you because they have been smart enough to introduce a new software tool or brave enough to totally reconfigure their core processing.

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