The financial crisis has challenged today's technology leaders in the capital markets like never before. While most financial firms have returned to the robust profits of years past, technology leaders still are under pressure not only to tightly manage costs but to continue to reduce expenses.
Until the credit crisis derailed the financial markets in September 2008, for many years CIOs' main goal was to provide the technology to support business growth and drive revenues. In 2009, for the first time in memory, CIOs and CTOs were faced with a new and unfamiliar business priority: cost containment. And cost control remains the No. 1 priority today -- with growth running a distant third (behind compliance).
So when we started our search earlier this year for the industry's most innovative IT organizations and their technology leaders, we too were faced with a different mandate -- seek out the firms that still manage to innovate while reducing expenses and costs.
Luckily, few industries spend as much money on technology and focus as much effort on innovation as Wall Street does -- even in budget-lean 2009. High-performance computing, virtualization, low latency and data center efficiency are just a few IT areas in which capital markets firms are ahead of companies in other industries.
Are there other strong IT leaders on the Street? Of course. We've profiled many of them in the past, and we will continue to write about them going forward. But for this year's Gold Book we selected a small group of forward-thinking executives who we feel have taken innovation over the past year to new heights (see honorees, at right).
In the course of our research, we turned up plenty of evidence of our honorees' IT innovation, including these highlights:
- Goldman Sachs has improved trade throughput 1,000 percent. According to Joseph Squeri, the firm's global head of equities technology, by re-architecting order management connectivity and routing for trading, the firm reduced latency by 90 percent.
- NYSE Euronext co-CIO Steve Rubinow says the exchange will roll out a universal trading platform, which will enable trading across all asset classes and geographies, in the U.S. next year.
- By the end of next year, the default deployment for Morgan Stanley's 100,000 desktops will be virtual.
- At Fidelity Investments, Joseph Ferra, perhaps the only chief wireless officer in the financial services industry, says users may one day be able to text their trades.
- TradeKing's IT staff of 12 developers builds all of the firm's social networking tools (including common interest forums, micro-blogs, leaderboards and more than 600 investor blogs) using the open source Ruby on Rails platform.
For the full story on all of the technology initiatives from this year's Gold Book honorees, read on.
Wall Street & Technology's 2009 Gold Book Advisory Board
Peter Delano, Research Operations Director, Securities & Investments, TowerGroup
Mayiz Habbal, SVP, Securities & Investments Group, Celent
Sang Lee, Managing Partner, Aite Group
Tom Price, Independent Consultant
Larry Tabb, Founder and CEO, Tabb Group
The Selection Process
- WS&T editors compiled an initial list and critiqued nominees.
- WS&T's Gold Book Advisory Board recommended additional candidates and provided background information.
- Editors contacted the nominees to request more information on their firms and technology projects.
- Editors compiled detailed nominations for each firm.
- Advisory Board and editors voted on nominations.
- Top vote-getters were selected.
- Editors interviewed executives for Gold Book profiles.