Stock exchange to move to new IP-based network



Nick Huber

The London Stock Exchange is to overhaul its network and introduce a new user group as an olive branch to disgruntled IT...



Nick Huber

The London Stock Exchange is to overhaul its network and introduce a new user group as an olive branch to disgruntled IT users.

Talking to Computer Weekly for the first time since the aborted merger with the German stock exchange earlier this summer, Jonathan Wittmann, the London Stock Exchange's IT director, launched a robust defence of the exchange's electronic trading system Sets and its ability to develop new technology services.

A move to an Internet Protocol (IP)-based network and an upgrade of the Sets trading platform will form the centrepiece of the stock exchange's IT revamp.

The IT blueprint was unveiled just weeks after the failed hostile takeover bid by Swedish technology supplier OM Group.

The exchange will move to an IP-based network from its proprietary network X25 in a bid to facilitate the distribution of information services to stock exchange members across the world. All member firms will have to migrate to the new network.

"The X25 network has major limitations for the services you can run over it," said Wittmann. "IP will be more scalable and probably more consistent with users' own internal environments."

The London Stock Exchange is currently talking to a number of potential suppliers about the project, which is due to begin in the first quarter of next year.

Its other major IT project is the upgrade of Sets. The upgrade - from Tandem K servers to Tandem S servers - should treble the system's trading capacity and take about seven months to implement, said Wittmann.

The exchange came under fire from some of its members this summer for its handling of IT issues. Analysts estimated that the larger stockbrokers would have faced up to £500,000 in IT conversion costs if the merger between the London and Frankfurt markets had gone ahead. The London Stock Exchange rejects the costing.

London Stock Exchange members would have had to scrap Sets and migrated to Xetra, the system used by the Deutsche Borse market.

The stock exchange has set up a new group of exchange members to consult firms on key proposed changes, including IT issues.

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