January 28, 2014

Financial firms are going beyond monitoring the performance of their front-office applications and are reaching further into applications such as risk management, to gain visibility into complex systems.

As a sign of this trend, yesterday, ITRS, a performance monitoring and technology management company, announced that it had developed a real-time monitoring solution for Murex, a global provider of risk management to the sell side, hedge funds, asset managers, utilities, oil groups, corporations and trading groups.

“Increasingly customers are not just asking us in the front office; they are increasing what they do with monitoring different parts of the trade lifecycle, said Kevin Covington, CEO of ITRS Group Ltd., based in London.

Murex wanted to add that technology stack into their overall view and instrumentation, said Covington. “What’s critical with these applications is that you have a complete understanding of these complexities and that you have a real-time metrics on system performance.” One of the core differentiators of ITRS is that it builds specialist adaptors or plug-ins to ensure it can provide in-depth monitoring, he said.

ITRS partnered with Excelian, a consultancy specializing in the financial and commodities sectors to collaborate on the interface for Geneos, ITRS’s product. “Working with ITRS has enabled us to offer clients an end-to-end and real-time view of their Murex landscape,” commented Excelian’s CEO Jeremy Ward in Monday’s release.

ITRS developed the Geneos interface for a customer who wanted to monitor their application stack, which in this case included a Murex installation. According to Covington, ITRS has been developing this kind of monitoring tool for many years around Fidessa, Trading Technologies and Ion. “Now the customer want to look at their risk management platform in the context of real-time monitoring. Murex is one of the ones that have come up,” said Covington.

“Therefore, demand for a more real-time view of the post-trade environment, and the drive to ensure that risk systems have the highest possible availability have lead to an increasing demand for ITRS monitoring of these systems,” said ITRS’ CEO in the release.

Most of the initial demand is coming from large, tier one and tier two sell-side operations, which over the last few years have received more scrutiny on compliance with regulations. “These systems have to be clearly demonstrated and they’ve got policies in place to deliver services in real time,” said Covington.

As a result of that experience, Covington said that people are applying to the front office what traditionally has been a considered the middle office and back office. Risk management systems are being seen as real time. Time deadlines related to confirmations of payments before end of day and tracking the movement to positions are critical, he said. “So [issues] like availability, performance, the delivery of service levels, and delivering reports, all matter. In the same context, there’s also a need to understand what the components of a system are connected to upstream and downstream. For example, the problem may not be with Murex, but it’s important to know the upstream and downstream dependencies and the potential impact these might have on end-of-day or overnight processes, he said.

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Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in ...