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Bring back STP!

Have you looked at all the things going on in the market in the September-November period?  TARGET 2 and MiFID are just a couple of the minor road-bumps.  On top of those, different service providers are implementing upgrades, exchanges are launching new feeds, etc.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to looking at things from end-to-end, in a sort of joined up way, to see what the overall impacts are of the different things that have to be done!

A couple of years ago, a journalist (who shall not be named) wrote an article saying that “STP is dead”.  It surprised me how quickly people in the market latched on to that – “STP is old hat”, “STP is no longer the in-topic”.  And yet the industry’s problems remain the same.

I’m starting to see territorial carve-outs developing in the market.  There are moves (again) to ring-fence everything that is in the back office and to make that one world unto itself, working totally separate from and very differently from what’s happening in the front office.  Rather than trying to achieve more efficient straight-through processing, the approach seems to be to put up a demarcation point – a line across the road where the language, the culture and then units of measure change, almost like crossing from one country to another.  And all within the same firm.

That’s unlikely to be in the ultimate interest of the firms themselves, but it would be very much in the interest of vendors that just want to own the back-office space.

STP has always made sense.  End-to-end, front-to-back, from retail right through to wholesale.  “Seamless, automated transaction processing”, as the LSE used to say back in the early ‘90s.

Time that we started talking more about STP – again!


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