Covering the technology side of the financial services space has always been a roller coaster. Not only are bank's technology strategies influenced by trends coming out of Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of IT innovation, but financial firms are also, obviously, affected by financial cycles — boom and bust, growing and shrinking economies, and, yes, financial crises.
In short, Wall Street & Technology has had a front-row seat on this roller coaster for the past 32 years, witnessing bull and bear markets, the October 1987 stock market crash, the first World Trade Center attack, the 9/11 attacks, a host of new technology trends and more.
However, all good things must come to an end. Wall Street & Technology, along with Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, will no longer be producing daily news stories. The websites will remain and all of the content will remain in place, as we realize that WS&T and its sibling brands have a wealth of historical information for the financial services community. Stories from our other InformationWeek brands will be posted to the site when it is relevant to a financial services audience.
The reason the financial services brands will stop publishing new content is our parent company, UBM, is embarking on an event-focused strategy that leverages some of the leading technology events in the world, including Interop, BlackHat, the InformationWeek Conference, Game Developers Conference, and more. The financial services brands, unfortunately, have always been very vertical and niche-oriented brands and have not been able to find a place in the larger enterprise-wide technology events listed above.
The long wild ride
Along the way, WS&T and its editors were witnesses to a lot of change. The dot-com boom and bust shook the economy and delivered many new technologies that financial firms adopted and perfected over the next decade. Earlier technological advances — green screen desktop PCs, client server and more — changed the way financial firms approached their business and technology strategy. Wall Street & Technology, which started as Wall Street Computer Review back in 1983, has witnessed almost all of these advances. WS&T covered the early days of electronic trading back in the 1980s as brokers sent baskets of stocks electronically to the NYSE via superDOT. Later, the brand — which was completely print until about 2000 when it launched newsletters — covered almost every major event, including the development of ECNs, ATSs, modernization in the back office, the end of trading pits at exchanges, evolution of soft dollars, SuperMontage, the online retail brokerage boom, Reg NMS, Dodd-Frank, and more recently mobile investing technology and social investing networks.
For me, the ride has been absolutely incredible. I started my financial services journalism career during the beginning of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s covering financial startups, such as E*Trade and Ameritrade. The dot-com bust, which shook the economy and high tech space, also altered the publishing world for good. Many media brands, such as InternetWeek and The Industry Standard, flourished during the dot-come boom, but failed spectacularly following the bust — going from hundreds of pages per week to almost nothing overnight as advertising revenue vanished. Publishing companies, including Wall Street & Technology’s parent (now UBM), looked for ways to build strong businesses in a media world that was becoming completely digital. For instance, in 2005, almost 95% of Wall Street & Technology’s revenue came from our print products. Today, just 10 years later, WS&T has no revenue from print, as customers increasingly wanted online media, lead generation programs, and events, which makes up the largest part UBM Americas’ (Wall Street & Technology’s parent company) business today.
When I look back, I really feel as if I have "grown up" at my current company, both professionally and personally. I learned to report, cultivate sources, write features, build websites, navigate the world of “new media" (who uses that term anymore?) and develop industry leading conferences and events. While working for UBM, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some places that I may not have otherwise at this point in my life, including Sydney, Hong Kong, Vienna, Dubai and yes, even Detroit (I joke). On the personal side, I got married, had three kids, bought two houses, and more. During my past 15 years at UBM — which also included stints at sibling brands Insurance & Technology and Bank Systems & Technology — I have met professionals from all parts of the financial services and technology space, including bank CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, CFOs, CROs, regulators, venture capitalists, start-up entrepreneurs, technology experts, traders, portfolio managers, data management gurus and so on. It has truly been a job that has touched on almost every part of the financial service business, and for that, I am grateful.
As for me, and my wonderful, talented and dedicated colleagues from the financial brands (and more importantly people who I now call friends) — Kathy Burger (who has been with BS&T and I&T for more than 25 years), Ivy Schmerken (who joined WS&T in 1985), Becca Lipman, and Jonathan Camhi — we will be moving on to the next stage of our careers. My time at Wall Street & Technology has shaped me as a professional and as a person and I have no regrets or hard feelings. I’ve worked with some amazingly talented people in our small financial services group: John Ecke, Kerry Massaro, Les Kovach, Jen Iannucci, Anthony Guerra, Penny Crosman, Felissa Kaplan Light, Felicia Goldberg Aronov, Peter McManus, Jack Walsh, Paul Way and Peggy Schechter, to name a few. There are many others who have come and gone from the financial services brands (too many to mention). I’m sure our paths will cross again.
For my friends who remain at UBM, including Chris Murphy (who once filled in as editor-in-chief of Wall Street & Technology for an editor who was on maternity leave), Doug Henschen, Charlie Babcock and Stephanie Stahl, I wish them the best as they chart a new and exciting course for the company. As with everything during the past decade in the media world, it will be a challenge, but I have confidence in their abilities to move their brands into a new and exciting event model.
Until we meet again.Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio