New Front Office Systems Drive Demand In IT

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Financial technology hiring in 2006 will be driven by a need for new and improved front-office systems, say information technology specialists.

Paul Thomas of London's Garthorne Associates predicts investment banks will be investing on pre-sales systems that pull together the information sales traders need to respond to customers or sell deals. "A lot of people are building proprietary systems, so they will have vendor systems that they mix with in-house systems. We are talking about Java and C#, and .NET for the GUI side," Thomas says.

In New York, CodeStreet has built a platform that allows fixed-income traders and sales people to share information. Company founder Howard Pein says CodeStreet's products are designed to help traders and sales people develop ideas they can present to clients and drive revenue. That ability should solve a problem Thomas hears about from banks, who struggle to get the right information to sales traders while they have prospects on the phone: "If the client asks for more complex-type products, they can't bring up the information they need because it can be spread across several trading desks," he says.

Thomas expects several banks to start building systems that allow sales traders to call up information and request quotations immediately for specific products within their own region, Asia or Europe.

Because the U.S. has more C# and .NET programmers than London or Asia, this could present a wide range of opportunities for Americans who want to work in London, says Carmine Nigro, operations/sales director at Snelling Personnel Services in New York. Some banks, such as Credit Suisse, are taking candidates from outside of banking if they have good academic backgrounds and C# skills. Salaries are always rising, he adds, and senior developers in London can expect to earn $156,000 to $165,000, while team leaders' salaries can reach nearly $175,000.