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Integrating the financial enterprise


The interaction between investment banks and their clients is one of the last areas of the modern economy not to be served by a plethora of Internet services. This is mainly due to technical constraints, only now solved by the emerging XML standard that enables data to be transported in a secure and consistent manner. Once this standard is adopted there will be an explosive rise in web-enabled trading, resulting in banks' clients clamouring for the ability to drive their own portfolios.

SunGard Trading and Risk Systems, has established a leadership position in advancing XML, through the Network Trade Model (NTM). The NTM is an XML-based language for describing interest rate, foreign exchange, fixed income and equity trades and their associated derivatives, trade details and trade events, consistently between heterogeneous systems within financial institutions. It is compatible with other industry efforts such as FpML for swaps, and FixML for fixed income instruments.

The NTM makes a wide range of trading information readily available. The ability to translate that information into knowledge is served by several new Internet-based products and services from SunGard. They are designed to help our clients maintain and grow their customer base, knowing that in the e-world, the nature of the relationship between bank and client will be driven by the services provided through technology, via a browser, to the client. The bank's ability to provide a one-to-one individualised service giving appropriate knowledge rather than endless information will create the customer "stickiness" essential in a world where competitors are a mouse click away.

TheKnowledgeFactory is a new on-line portfolio analysis solution being developed by SunGard that allows financial institutions to provide a wide range of branded, automatically calculated analysis to their customers over any web-compatible medium. It is aimed at any organisation that can profit from effective on-line portfolio analysis, as it is designed to be as applicable to the corporate treasury as it is to a bank's fixed income sales team. The technology on which it is based can handle the high trading volumes the Internet has been seen to spawn.

TreasuryTrader is an Internet-based transaction and information service from SunGard that allows financial institutions to provide their clients and geographically dispersed branch offices a branded on-line trading and execution service for treasury instruments. This highly scaleable and secure solution provides end-to-end transaction data, one-to-one branded services, customer relationship management capability and straight-through processing to any SunGard transaction system through the NTM.

DerivativeCenter.com is a product being developed by SunGard that will enable mid-tier banks to provide their corporate customers with on-line derivatives pricing, trading and risk analysis. Though these banks have a credit relationship with their customers, they have traditionally been prevented from offering derivatives trading to them due to the high cost of installing and maintaining the required technological infrastructure. DerivativeCenter.com operates on an ASP framework, providing mid-tier banks with a lower-cost alternative to offering the most sophisticated trading and risk functions to their customers.

Using best-of-breed technologies in the e-world is a prerequisite. the KnowledgeFactory, TreasuryTrader and DerivativeCenter.com build on SunGard's proven product line. Since these products can be branded by the client, the Application Service Provider (ASP) framework becomes very attractive. This model enables banks to use our solutions without having to worry about hosting, maintaining and upgrading the software-services all performed transparently by SunGard. The ASP framework reduces the total cost of ownership of the technology. There is a reduction in hardware costs because we serve the solution to the bank and client simultaneously via the Internet. The model also opens up a pay-as-you-go paradigm, so software costs correlate with business volumes opening up derivatives trading to middle and small sized banks by lowering the cost of entry. Clients of the KnowledgeFactory and TreasuryTrader can also opt to use the software via an ASP.

SunGard's back office applications have already been made available through an ASP framework, called eFinity . The service is all-inclusive, and along with sister SunGard companies provides application and system software, server hardware, Internet access, disaster recovery and 24/7 applications and systems support.

As the branded knowledge flows more freely between bank and client the bank might want to encourage the client to use more of the banks products and services. The demand could also come from the client requesting a wider range of products. Banks must therefore be able to serve their full range of products via the same branded browser graphical user interface. However, products are historically managed by product using technology that best supports just that one product. The technology has never been integrated across product lines.

Financial institutions still want to use the best technology for each product, but need a way of integrating those technologies seamlessly across the enterprise. Creating a horizontally integrated e-Frastructure that enables knowledge to flow internally within the bank and out to the client in a consistent and manageable way is fast becoming the fourth agreed-upon e-Commerce model. SunGard allows financial institutions to do just that through the NTM.




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