Poor vendor data delays BofNY securities ‘master’ project

The database, which already holds more than five million securities, is now in its final phase following a three-year implementation, said Ahmed Sharif, senior vice-president and head of investment management outsourcing technology at the Bank of New York, at the Waters 2002 financial and risk management technology conference in New York last week. The next phase includes the incorporation of primarily corporate events data and is due for completion by mid next year.

Sharif said only Bloomberg stood out as having relatively clean data, but declined to name the worst providers, saying only, “there were several of them”.

The project involved comparing prices from different sources, and collecting and disseminating static data, pricing data and corporate events data on securities ranging from stocks, bonds, securitisations, futures and indexes. It was mainly managed in-house, with some help from consultants, Sharif said. He would not disclose how much the project cost, but admitted it had run 50% over budget, mainly because planners had not anticipated the cost and degree of testing that would be required.

But the biggest surprise of the project was that vendor data sometimes proved to be less reliable than expected, and the data could not be completely standardised – it needs to be maintained at many levels of granularity to meet different clients' needs.

The database is used by all areas of Bank of New York’s businesses, including custody. To date, the bank has one external client – the European investment management arm of JP Morgan Chase. Merrill Lynch’s asset management unit is also being hooked up and more outsourcing is expected.

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