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10 Reasons to Get to Work

No one ever said life on the Street would be easy. But after years of trying to do more with less, financial firms began to renew their focus on growth in 2005, and 2006 promises even more opportunity for innovative players.

In 2005, the markets continued to improve (although maybe not as quickly as some would have hoped), and many firms posted record profits. With such financial success in 2005, one would expect IT spending to increase in 2006. Most CIOs, however, still report flat IT budgets for the coming year or low-single-digit budget increases similar to those seen in 2005. Still, financial firms are continuing to focus on growth, as they did for much of 2005 -- when they weren't focused on stringent compliance demands. CIO after CIO tells Wall Street & Technology that business demands; growth objectives; and improving value-added, client-facing services are among their top priorities this year. That is refreshing to hear, as 2005 was dominated by compliance-related objectives and projects that only marginally improved service to customers, according to WS&T readers.

So in this issue, you will find 10 critical topics on which firms will be focusing in the coming months. Each topic -- including alternative investments, information security and managing compliance costs -- has been condensed to a single page, a cheat sheet of sorts, that gives you the information you need at a glance. And since it is hard to do each of the 10 topics justice on a single page, expect to read in the pages of WS&T throughout 2006 about how financial players are dealing with these issues.

But our Vision 2006 coverage doesn't end there. You also can read what five of your peers say -- in their own words -- they will be focusing on this year (page 39). And if that isn't enough, you can hear more from these industry executives in our special Visions 2006 podcast (short audio MP3 files) series at www.wallstreetandtech.com/podcast.

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