Heavy weather

[Dave Birch] One of the very first projects that Consult Hyperion worked on was the Bank of England Central Gilts Office (CGO), way back in the days of “Big Bang”. We were subsequently chosen by the Bank of England to work on the Central Moneymarkets Office (CMO) and then CREST, the equity settlement system that they created when the Stock Exchange’s TAURUS project collapsed. These are now part of Euroclear, which makes the card scheme networks look like loose change: it currently handles an average of HALF-A-TRILLION pounds per day in gilt, equity and money market trades. At times of stress, these systems are critical to the economy.

There’s also the interesting fact that on separate occasions during September and October 2008, the UK’s Continuous Linked Settlement system broke its previous record daily volume by over 35 per cent; ‘Crest’ saw a 33 per cent increase in the highest value settled before September 2008; and ‘Swift’ saw new record volume days on four occasions. Essentially, a lot of people moving a lot of money in a very short period of time. [From FT Alphaville » Blog Archive » Financial crisis, UK payment system edition]

All of the systems stayed up, which is a testament to the designers. These systems generate a huge amount of data as a by-product of their operations and I wonder if this data is captured and used effectively? I mentioned before about using the data from payment systems to create a kind of weather map for regulators and supervisors so that they can pick out major “fronts” and see storms brewing. Perhaps the web 2.0 way forward is to anonymise the data in some way and then just put it out on the Internet so that people can see (and mash up) the financial weather for themselves: a picture of where the moving is moving through Europe in real-time might be fun. By the way, we talked about the money forecast, but here’s a money map of Europe that I just love.

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