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January 29, 2013


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Cobol is not a bar to on-line transactional systems. We were doing this back in 1983 with considerably less CPU horse power than today. However I do take your point that monitoring system should be close to Real Time processing.

Thomas O.

Well, nobody invests in realtime systems because it is cool, because it's the 21st century, or because someone believes it is best practice.

Trading is real-time (and collocated at tremendous cost) because you want to be the first to react. Risk management is going real-time, because you want to see the impact on exposure before you commit to a trade.

Settlement happens after the fact. Sure, getting down the settlement cycle reduces the exposure to settlement risk, but that's not what is driving your reg capital requirements through the roof. If you want build fraud detection into the process (and everybody does so) - feel free - it's just one step in the process, and as it does not need to be real-time, you have time to sort out any potential issues you might detect.

Today, regulators do an investigation based on evidence which is collected in a tedious process. So why waste the tax payer's money?

Would the regulator want to do real-time market surveillance of the OTC markets? Maybe some time, but that has major impact for the whole market infrastructure, not just for one COBOL platform.

So yes, real-time is coming - but you still have to make the case for it in each single instance.

Fritz Thomas Klein

Like so often we jump far too fast to an 'either - or' debate. Either real-time or over night. And like so often the full answer is missed. It is both! We need real-time and we need over night, everything at the time appropriate from a busines, regulatory and due diligence perspective.

John G Bullard

And Real-Time requires an instantaneous and fully interoperable underlying multi-purpose Trust Framework which can provide the necessary Privacy, Authenticity, Integrity and Non-repudiability of each transaction. Borderless (like the internet) not nationstate by nationstate...

Roger Boak

This is an on-going debate with many antiquated IT departments who will argue on many topics that near real time is ‘good enough’.
When the next question is asked then their heads go back in the sand:
So when I get my cash out of the ATM and the ‘Near real time’ checks don’t highlight a problem – then how do they get the cash back.? The same applies to goods at a POS counter.
Fraud checks are often done in near real time – too late the deal has been done.
Please can we get ‘Near Real Time’ out of the vocabulary – before it’s too late !!!!


Real Time computing has been around for years in the shape of analogue computers and industrial process control systems, but they rarely include transactional features such as roll-back and complete audit trail. Many of the MSDOS/Windows and UNIX type systems are arguably not Real Time operating systems, but are effectively timesharing.

Real Time systems are not required for compliance and regulatory controls, however such control systems should be very fast systems, perhaps termed "Near Real Time". They are similar but not the same.

Nick S

I would like someone to explain what "near real-time is, one day. I know what real-time is: synchronous end to end transactions. Usually these are fast, but this is not the key criterion...which is that everything necessary to that transaction - including calls out to decision support systems such as fraud protection - takes place at the transactional level. At the end of the transaction its success or failure is known, and all parties can move on to the next thing on their agenda. With a payment, perhaps the simplest transaction, this means the money is with the beneficiary and available for use. Not "in transit" or "guaranteed" to be paid, but available for use. Simple. If you didn't have technichal restrictions (like you did in the sixties)why would you design it any other way?

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