This book is the third in a set of books that address the trading markets. We use the term “trading markets” because that is the most general term we can find for the portion of the financial markets sometimes imprecisely referred to as the securities markets. (We explained these distinctions in Book 1, An Introduction to Trading in the Financial Markets: Market Basics, and Book 2, An Introduction to Trading in the Financial Markets: Trading, Markets, Instruments, and Processes, when we described instruments, but basically securities are a subset of instruments. Thus, the term “securities markets” excludes a number of instruments that trade in liquid marketplaces. Here, we examine the broader group of all traded instruments.) In this book, we focus on the technology—systems, data, and networks— that makes the markets and the processes supporting the markets work.
The purpose of this book is not to describe how technologies work, but rather to describe what technology does. We look at the activities in the trading markets that have become automated. We explore some of the types of applications that are central to the markets, but we only begin to describe the breadth and depth of the use of technology in the trading markets. Few industries are as automated as the trading markets, and the scope and speed of financial automation are growing at a staggering pace.
If you are involved in technology, our approach in this book may seem strange. We do not focus on specific technologies at all. Instead, we examine what tasks technology is required to perform in support of the trading markets.
In this book, we focus only on technology used by the buy side and sell side. If you read Book 1, you understand that there are a number of other functional entities such as trading venues, banks, clearing corporations, and depositories. Books of comparable breadth and depth to this book could be written about the technology for those entities, but we do not consider them here except to the extent they interact with the buy and sell sides.
We begin our investigation by examining how technology has evolved in order to understand the impediments complicating technological change. When you think that in the late 1960s most firms in the trading markets were only beginning to implement technology, it is startling to realize how very complex the technology in the trading markets has become and the many layers of technology that employ designs from different generations of technological development. Most every technology project must at some point reconcile legacy systems, data, and networks with the innovation the project intends.