Not every innovation in finance is an instrument or a portfolio management tool. Sometimes what seems a change in speed is really fundamental change. NationsBank, for instance, is currently building an intraday cash management tool that allows both itself and customers to micro-manage their accounts.

NationsBank svp for global payments Jay Butler is building an internal, Intranet-based system for wire transfers that the bank is simultaneously offering its clients under the name Real Time Wire.

The system monitors all of the customer's accounts and relays the information onward as it appears on the bank's books, allowing an instantaneous, micro-managed look at the customer's cash positions across its inventory.

This will allow the broker-dealer customers it's intended to serve a chance to cover overdrafts, for instance, or grab a fleeting arbitrage position. In the process, it will change business operations.

"We think that in the future, Fortune 500 companies are going to be running a small position management operation in their treasury areas," he says. "The Fed and others are driving us to look at money on a minute-by- minute basis; we used to look at money as having a value in months-now it's minutes and hours."

NationsBank says it expects to hit the street with Real Time Wire this summer; an unnamed national broker-dealer is the customer.

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