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Operations Newsflashes: FIX Exits Agreement with SWIFT, Amber Capital Selects Gravitas for IT Outsourcing, and more

FIX Withdraws from Agreement to Support ISO 15022, Amber Capital Outsources IT Operations with Gravitas, Sungard Creates New Enterprise Business Unit

FIX Backs Out of Agreement With SWIFT

FIX Protocol Ltd. (FPL) announced its withdrawal from an agreement it entered with SWIFT Standards in July 2001 in which FPL was to support the development of the ISO 15022 XML standardization format. The memorandum of understanding was originally created as a means to streamline pre-trade/trade and post-trade communications. FPL has decided to direct its efforts toward supporting its own standardization, the FIX Protocol.

FPL cites changing industry conditions as the reason for breaking the agreement. The disbanding of the Global Straight Through Processing Association (GSTPA), the cooling of the T+1 initiative and the widespread adoption of FPL’s FIXML 4.4 have been contributing factors.

FPL said in a statement that it “believes that this new set of messages is redundant and perceives little demand for this from the financial industry.” Since the agreement was entered into in 2001 FPL has seen significant growth in the adoption rate of the FIX protocol both in the number of user organizations and in the number of supported asset classes in middle- and back-office functions.

Amber Capital Outsources IT With Gravitas

Amber Capital, the investment advisory company responsible for managing the $1.5 billion Amber Fund, signed Gravitas Technology to provide its IT services.

Gravitas designed and implemented technologies required on site for business operations such as network infrastructure and security as well as applications support, telephony, market data and compliance and disaster recovery needs.

“We are not a start-up fund so there was no ramp-up period and all IT services, day-to-day management and special software programs had to be running day one of the launch. Gravitas provided this seamlessly,” said Michel Brogard, managing partner of Amber Capital, in a release.

“We plan to use the expertise of Gravitas for our technology functions, including the upcoming selection of an order management system and a portfolio accounting system, back-office processing and IT functions. By outsourcing IT functions to Gravitas, Amber Capital can remain entirely focused on its core business of fund management and servicing investors,” Brogard continued, in the statement.

Amber Capital was formed this year as a spin-off of the Amber Fund, Ltd. from SG Corporate & Investment Banking, a division of Societe Generale Group. The firm invests 70 percent of its assets under management in European equities and 30 percent in U.S. equities on behalf of over 50 institutional investors.

SunGard Creates New Enterprise Group

Wayne, Pa.-based SunGard announced the creation of an Enterprise Solutions Group within its Financial Systems business unit that will concentrate on the marketing and sales of enterprise-class software and processing solutions to SunGard’s global accounts. The Enterprise Solutions Group will bring together SunGard’s offerings in global account management, product management, off-shore services and consulting services.

Ron Lang will head up the new unit as Group CEO. Lang reports to Michael Muratore, executive vice president of SunGard’s software and processing business.

“This is a very important strategic and organizational change. The motivation for creating an Enterprise Solutions Group is to expand our relationships with our largest customers. We intend to honor and thrive on the entrepreneurial approach taken by our many business units while creating a collaborative and customer-driven approach to leverage the ‘One SunGard’ that our largest customers are demanding,” said Lang, in a release.

The Enterprise Solutions Group will initially focus on implementing solutions for architecture renewal and integration, compliance, enterprise data management, prime brokerage and alternative investments. SunGard expects that the new business group will ultimately include a combination of products and professional services, on- and off-shore consulting services and partner offerings.

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