SwedBank First To Test Reuters FX Rates Management System

TECHNOLOGY

Stockholm-based SwedBank will go live next month with the latest version of Reuters Holdings PLC's Triarch 2000-based Rates Management System (RMS), which provides decision-support and contribution facilities for internal and external foreign exchange and money market rates. The bank, which is about to begin beta-testing the latest version of the system, is currently the only test site for RMS.

RMS provides a range of decision-support facilities, such as calculation of cross rates, broken dates and FRAs. It also includes a facility for performing user-defined calculations and incorporates limit-minding, alerts and what-if modeling functions. In addition, RMS also provides facilities for contributing rates to multiple information services.

According to Leif Carlstrom, trading support manager at SwedBank, the bank tested an earlier version of RMS at the end of last year. But it has been awaiting delivery of a new version of Reuters' IBM PC-compatible Triarch 2000 Personal Trader Workstation (PTW) software before resuming the beta-tests at its 70-position dealing room.

Carlstrom says that SwedBank is distributing only Reuters datafeeds via Triarch 2000, adding that the cost of a Telerate datafeed in Sweden is "even more expensive than Reuters, if that's possible." Although SwedBank will use RMS's standard calculations, Carlstron says it may set up some simple calculations of its own. But he says it's currently too complicated to define complex calculations using RMS and will run Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet package to facilitate those calculations.

A Reuters spokesman declined to comment on RMS, except to confirm that SwedBank has been using the Phase-1 release of RMS, which can only extract market rates from page-based datafeeds. The spokesman also confirmed that the bank will soon begin testing Phase-2 of RMS, which will also be able to handle logical datafeeds.

SEMA Gets Royalties

Developed by Anglo-French software house SEMA after Reuters' own attempt at development ran aground, RMS is being positioned to compete with the likes of FOXI from Ascom Banking Systems and Financial Infotec's FXPAD package. RMS is being marketed exclusively by Reuters; SEMA receives royalties on sales.

But observers say that Reuters is planning a soft-launch for RMS, which it doesn't want to push until a fully tested Phase-2 release is available. Part of the reason for the soft approach is due to the product's somewhat spotty history, observers speculate.

Sources say that Reuters began developing RMS in the U.K. in 1988 and by mid-1989 had produced a prototype capable of handling both page-based and logical datafeeds. These sources say that the Luxembourg branch of SOGENAL, a French bank, was lined up as a beta-test site.

But the project was disrupted by an internal reorganization of Reuters' trading-room systems group, which resulted in the hitherto geographically dispersed Triarch development team being centralized in Chicago. Sources say that before the reorganization, RMS was designed to use a U.K.-developed version of the ASE. The reorganization dictated that RMS use Chicago-developed ASE code, which was both incompatible with the U.K. version and less advanced in its functionality.

According to sources, in the aftermath of the trading-room systems reorganization, Reuters considered selling the source code of RMS to an external software house, which would complete the development and market the product independently of Reuters. However, after exploring such a deal with SEMA, the two firms entered into a traditional development/marketing agreement, under which SEMA took over the RMS code and completed the development, sources add.

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