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IBM this week debuted its latest industry-specific, pre-packaged software platform to help speed the execution and analysis of high-speed securities trading for the financial-services market.
The Financial Markets Framework is an open, standards-based compilation of multiple applications tethered to IBM's (NYSE: IBM) cornerstone WebSphere application server. Company officials said the framework will allow large financial services firms conducting thousands of transactions per minute to receive and analyze real-time information from more than 100 data feeds.
Using the business intelligence functionality of the IBM Cognos financial analysis software, high-volume trading systems will be able to filter through these various data feeds to find specific events to trigger the execution of buy or sell orders.
IBM has developed similar software platforms for the retail, health-care and petroleum industries. This particular offering features what IBM described as "ultra-low latency" performance, ensuring that analyses and transactions are conducted swiftly and accurately.
According to analyst firm Celent, the worldwide securities and investment software market eclipsed the $14 billion threshold last year and figures to surge in the next few years as financial services firms actively search for a technological edge over competitors in this competitive and extraordinarily time-sensitive market.
In fact, the speed and ease of technology was to blame for precipitous decline in Dow Jones component stocks Proctor & Gamble and 3M in May. While the Securities and Exchange Commission is still investigating the trading irregularities that sent stocks worldwide into an instantaneous nosedive before recovering almost as quickly, the combination of human error and lightning-quick trade execution software sounded alarms from Wall Street to the White House.
IBM says the Financial Markets Framework platform includes an algorithmic trading program designed to speed automated trading while reducing risks and a "next-generation" trading infrastructure capable of executing millions of orders per second.
In addition, it incorporates a market surveillance and trade monitoring feature that tracks and analyzes activity in real time through its iLog business rules management software to identify and investigate erroneous trades and possible violations of SEC regulations.
Company officials said plans are already in the works to add more applications developed either by IBM or other third-party vendors.