Chemical Banking Corp. is near completion of a multimillion-dollar installation of high-performance workstations at its foreign exchange, derivatives, and government-bond trading desks.
The project by the $171 billion-asset New York money-center, to be completed this month, involves over 200 computer workstations from Sun Microsystems Inc. for use by a number of Chemical traders.
Chemical joins a group of top banks, including Bank of Boston Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp., that have spent tens millions of dollars in the past year upgrading their trading systems to stay competitive on Wall Street.
Banks also are making better use of technology in managing trading of complex derivative financial instruments, which have burned a number of corporations and financial institutions recently.
The powerful Sun workstations, which utilize the Unix operating system, will allow traders to quickly analyze market data in "real time," through the use of sophisticated spreadsheet software from Westboro, Mass.-based Applix Inc.
The Applix spreadsheets are integrated with digital market data feeds from Reuters Ltd. and specialized financial calculation software from New York-based Tech Hackers Inc.
The Tech Hackers software, called "macros," give traders instant access to a variety of industry-standard financial calculations, augmenting the traditional row-and-column approach common to spreadsheet programs. The miniprograms also are used in the bank's in-house developed application software.
Chemical officials said the systems overhaul gives traders the ability to act faster when markets turn, or to glean an undervalued investment inside a blizzard of information transmitted to their desks every day.
"Our goal in every technology decision is to help our traders concentrate on their primary responsibilities," said Jose Cadalzo, vice president of market data services at Chemical.
"The inclusion of the (Tech Hackers software) in our new real-time market data systems will help our traders focus on the meaning of the data, and not on the mechanics."