Why”Wall Street” and “Trading Turret” Don’t Mean What They Used To

When you see the term “Wall Street” what does it bring to mind? Of course, besides the film that captured the zeitgeist of 1980’s excess?

A quick read of the entry on Wikipedia states:

Over time Wall Street came to signify a geographic location encompassing a commercial downtown Manhattan neighborhood as well as signifying the historical financial center of the United States. The term has become a metonym signifying New York-based financial interests.

That word metonym really stands out. A metonym is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. We know that physical proximity to Wall Street is no longer critical for the reasons it once was (physical exchange of stock certificates among trading partners) and that no matter the actual address of the NYSE, it exists as much in data centers that are many miles away from the iconic exchange floor we see on CNBC each day.

Another example of a metonym in finance is “hedge fund.” This term is now broadly applied, by many in the circles in which I travel, to any boutique-size financial firm, irrespective of whether the company is a hedge fund or not. And finally, we have the word “trader.” A catchall really for any person involved in the capital markets.

The word “trading turret” is becoming a  metonym for whatever communications instrument is on the desk in the various types of trading rooms around the world. Just as the term “trader” is loosely applied to everyone from floor brokers to portfolio managers to research analysts and anyone who may work on a trading floor. If the trading turret is to remain relevant it will come to mean many things to many people.

It is fairly certain that trading turrets will remain a specialized device designed to enable effortless communications. But as dominance in the financial industry continues to tilt toward electronic trading, the buy-side and complex trading strategies the evolution of trading devices and how they connect market participants must follow.

Thinking about the convergence of various types of communications further blurs the line on what a turret is or will be. The communications continuum may now include: instant messaging (IM), indications of interest (IOI), email, audio/video conferencing, plain old voice (POV?) originating from a land line or wireless device, texting, et al.

As we say at WCS, the “one size fits all” trading turret is no longer a sustainable product strategy for vendors. This is one reason why we introduced The Crossover Series of IP Trading Desktops in order to create a seamless communications capability among all employees involved in the trading process, whether on or off the trading floor.

We therefore have an already dynamic industry in a major business shift (sell-side to buy-side) and major technology shifts (electronification of trading and converged communications).

How will this all play out and what does it mean for those responsible for buying, supporting and using telecommunications in the capital markets?

Communications paradigms are no longer static
The revolution in consumer technologies has, by definition, changed how end users think about communicating. Traders expect to be able to communicate with colleagues, customers and counter-parties by any means, at anytime, from anywhere. The emphasis here is that the idea that you will give a trader a turret with a bunch of ring downs and speed dials and everyone goes on their merry way no longer applies.

Communications must be integrated
Not only will traders expect to be able to use the device of their choosing, they will expect it to be synchronized with all other devices and applications forming a single, virtual communications pod. This means that your vendors of choice better be offering open architectures and broad interoperability with other vendors in your ecosystem (unless it is Apple of course to whom the rules don’t really seem to apply).

Communications applications should be context-sensitive
Productivity in communications is driven by simplicity. The trader’s measure of satisfaction in communications is how quickly  it happens and how much useful data can I have at my fingertips while I am communicating? This will manifest itself in requests for integration with CRM tools, call histories and automated desktop search to name a few.

Communications infrastructure must be flexible and dynamic
Demands to be connected from home, from other offices and while traveling just as if they were at the trading desk are the order of the day. In order to meet these requests the communications systems must be offer the flexibility to connect securely over broadband, WAN and cellular and via a multitude of devices or applications.

At Wesley Clover we have embraced this vision since Day One. We recognized that a unified communications platform with powerful integration capabilities and an orientation toward interoperability with other leading technologies would be the first priority of our customers and collectively, we strive to make this our first priority everyday.

 

 

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Date: Friday, 25. March 2011 13:12
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Buying A New System, The Turret Market

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