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Tea with Giovannini

Some of us sad people actually have to read chunks of regulations and directives and consultations.  Most of us commute, which leaves little time to get past Page One of a heavy document without falling asleep and trying not to drool on the shoulder of the person in the next seat.

So Giovannini is best read with a large mug of very strong tea in your hand.  Parts of it can make you gasp.  In his blog this week about FIX, Chris Skinner started to point out the difference between a communications protocol and a messaging application.  Most of us would probably think of a communications protocol as being a bit of software that sorts out how a message gets from one bit of hardware to another bit of hardware, eg “a set of rules governing communication between electronic devices”, as per Wikipedia.

In the Giovannini Consultation, a different proposal was put forward for a “protocol” – a proposal that looked not at all like a protocol as we might think of it, but as a combination of hardware, software, network, service and accreditation.  A “protocol” that seems to look uncannily like a vendor’s messaging application service.

Interestingly, the consultation wasn’t addressed to brokers or exchanges, but to banking organisations.  However, it seem that word did get about that a consultation was going on, so some of the missing parties did manage to get their opinions noticed.

As the term “The Giovannini Protocol” is now being used, if you haven’t read it already you might be interested in taking a look.  Its aim is to change the shape of all of the post-trade environment across all asset classes across Europe. It uses the word “mandatory” a lot.

But make sure that you have a large mug of very strong tea in your hand first.


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