A Post Card for SIFMA 2011


Another Sifma technology conference has come and gone, and I’m looking over my reporter’s pad to make sense of it all. Each year I’ve gotten the general vibe of the show within a few hours of walking the exhibit floors. This year was a bit different. I have noticed that the market data and reference data vendors were out in force, but those firms supporting the trading floor seemed to be fewer in number.

I’m chalking this up to Dodd–Frank’s pending deadlines, even though the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will probably kick back the implementation deadlines by at least six months.

The best description I can come up with is the calm before a storm. I’m not sure whether, from a technology perspective, this means putting together the necessary infrastructure to meet Dodd–Frank requirements, or from a business-line perspective, how the market will weather a possible default in Greek sovereign debt. Either way, attendees seemed to have their thoughts someplace else this week.

I did meet up with some very interesting vendors pitching low-latency, cloud and compliance wares—three fields that are not going away anytime soon—so stay tuned.

One trend I did notice is that the term “cloud computing” has become so diluted due to marketing speak that it is being used interchangeably with managed services. It feels like the entire industry is replaying the straight-through processing (STP) and automation trend of the start of the last decade.

Now that Sifma is over, let summer truly begin.


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