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Robert Sales
Robert Sales
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SSB Preps for Decimals, Completes Trading Relocation

SSB has just completed the relocation of its Citicorp traders and is eyeing a migration to a single digital data distribution platform.

Salomon Smith Barney (SSB) plans to use its Y2K integration lab as a test facility for its year 2000 migration to decimals. Separately, SSB--which now houses 2,500 traders at its 390 Greenwich St. headquarters--has just completed the relocation of its Citicorp traders and is eyeing a migration to a single digital data distribution platform.

During a wide-ranging speech he gave at last week's Financial Technology Expo, Tom Moogan--senior vice president of distributed systems integration for information technology operations at SSB--also said that the firm has deployed only a small cluster of flat panel display (FPD) monitors on its trading floors.

Last weekend, said Moogan, SSB was scheduled to migrate the last of roughly 650 traders it inherited via its merger with Citicorp from 299 Park Ave. to 390 Greenwich. Those traders will be equipped with turrets from IPC Information Systems and, for the time being, will use a mix of Tibco Finance's TIB and Reuters' Triarch 2000 to meet their data distribution needs. SSB will, however, eventually standardize on a single data distribution system, said Moogan.

Before Salomon merged with Smith Barney, Moogan recalled, Solly traders used TIB while Smith Barney's dealers used Reuters Triarch 200. At the time of the merger, he said, the firms did not thing it would be wise to convert everybody to a single platform "all at once." But today, incented in part by the fact that Tibco is now owned by Reuters, SSB is seriously contemplating the shift to a standard. Still, Moogan wouldn't say which way SSB is leaning and declined to specify a time frame for such a move.

In terms of the future, SSB, has identified decimalization as one of its key technology initiatives for next year. "We've maintained our Y2k integration labs, and we're keeping those in tact for the next year or so, to test out how decimalization works in our environment," said Moogan. In the lab, he said, SSB will run tests to figure out things such as "how character sets are going to change for applications" after the conversion to decimals. Just as importantly, said Moogan, SSB is going to use the lab to ensure that its trading and communications networks have the capacity to deal with increases in traffic in the post-decimalization world.

Down the line, it is also conceivable that SSB will execute a mass rollout of FPD monitors n its floors. But, to date, Moogan said, the firm has only installed flat panels in support of 60 trading positions. SSB may change its tune in the near future, but Moogan said the cost benefits "just aren't there right now" to justify a wholesale replacement of CRTs with FPDs.

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