Buy Them! Buy Them All!

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ICE's acquisitive mood and T2S lead this week's coverage.

Ask people what they'd do with three wishes, and most would say they'd ask for three more wishes. Ask the IntercontinentalExchange Group (ICE) what it will do with one company, and it'll buy another handful of them. Its shock acquisition of SuperDerivatives, an outspoken little vendor specializing in the over-the-counter and electronic trading sides of the derivatives market (just, for God's sake, don't call them a SEF), adds to an impressive tally over the last few years. Algo Technologies, after all, was brought into the fold in order to bolster the technology of this century's banner acquisition to date, in the form of NYSE Euronext.

While the Euronext part is being spun off, Sprecher has shown himself to be an acquisition machine ─ a machine ─ with a number of finely timed and exquisitely targeted pick-ups.

Something of a reverse scenario for Michael Bloomberg, however, formerly of the big chair in New York City, and he of the apparently unfounded presidential race rumor mill. Bloomberg is returning to the company that bears his name, with Daniel Doctoroff reportedly giving him a hard time over coming back, brow beating one of the most powerful men in America into submission until finally, just so tired of the whole thing, Mike threw his hands up in the air and said: "Oh alright then."

Or something like that, if chummy news reports are to be believed. A quick conversation with a sales trader from a prominent Wall Street firm about the move yielded a blank look, and "no kidding," before they went back to their IBs.

Either way, Doctoroff will leave at the year's end, making way for the big man to come back.

Settlement
There's pretty substantial food for thought in the idea that a regulator-driven project proceeding on time is, in fact, a front-page splash these days. But that is the case, and so with the news that the European Central Bank is ready to begin its user acceptance testing for Target2-Securities... well. Life goes on.

At the very least, it should provide a swift boot to the rear end for those firms who have assumed that it will be delayed ─ and I know for a fact there are some of you out there ─ and they don't need to do anything yet. The first wave of migrations is next year, you do.

Indeed, it's not the only area of settlement that's going to result in profound changes across the European (and American) landscapes, with T+2 coming into force from October, and various shifts towards that across the Atlantic. Interesting times, and an area to keep your eye on.

For readers of this column interested in the other side of the Street, don't forget that the Buy-Side Technology Awards closes for nominations this Friday.

And on a side note, if you're involved with academic programs regarding financial technology, or have something to say regarding the quality of education in this area and how new graduates perform in the workplace, then drop me a line. I'd like to discuss that with you.

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