If bankers thought they were alone in their struggles with new financial services technologies, they need only look to the Securities Industry Association's annual conference for companionship - and for hints of strategy.
The three-day show, which begins in New York today, reinforces the idea that banks typically are less savvy than Wall Street firms about technology.
But it also confirms what some already suspect - that even the best of financial firms are grappling with product development.
Formally known as the Information Management Conference and Exhibit, the conference is a "once-a-year opportunity to investigate the latest in cutting-edge telecommunications, data processing, electronics, and management information systems," according to SIA president Marc E. Lackritz.
Mr. Lackritz said the conference, which is expected to draw 400 exhibitors and about 7,000 attendees, covers a wide range of topics, including forming alliances with vendors, deciding how and when to outsource, and making use of the Internet.
Several vendors planned to use the gathering as a launching pad for new products and services.
Reuters America Inc. said it will preview its real-time news and price information service, called Reuters 3000, which it expects to begin selling later this summer.
The system will use data bases for price histories and will give users access to archived news clips.
It will also perform analytical functions to help traders sort out market information flowing into their computers.
Octavio Morenzi, a securities technology analyst at the Tower Group, Wellesley, Mass., said the glut of trading-floor information services
has placed pressure on technology providers to offer value-added services.
Reuters and its competitor, Bloomberg Business News, have been pushing each other into offering more advanced services, and the results have been positive for end-users.
"Reuters has been saying for a while, 'We will come out with this product,'" Mr. Morenzi said.
Competitive pressures have led both Reuters and Bloomberg to incorporate more risk management technologies into their value-added products.
"Bloomberg came in with a new approach that said, 'We will sell you a lot of historical data, a lot of analytics, and we are going to charge you a big premium.'"
The strategy has been "very successful in a relatively short period of time," he said.
Officials at Cats Software Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., a maker of derivatives and risk management software, said they would announce the sale of the Catalyst trading system to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.
The Dallas Home Loan Bank is one of 11 Federal Reserve institutions that provide short-term credit to savings and loans.
The Dallas bank will integrate Catalyst, a front-end system, with another Cats product, called Credit Analysis and Risk Management.
David Gilbert, vice president and general manager at Cats, said the combined systems, which deal with hundreds of "exotic and complex financial instruments," would give the bank current valuations and future credit exposure estimations.
British Telecommunications PLC, London, plans to unveil a new version of its Open Trading System, which features touch-screen telephone turrets.
The system lets traders link with up to 1,600 counterparties.