Bad things have been happening at the Singapore Stock Exchange

Bad things have been happening at the Singapore Stock Exchange

Image Credit: Reuters

Stock exchanges are challenging businesses to run. The people who use stock exchanges, stock traders, banks, brokers, etc. move very fast. The phrase “time is money” was invented to describe these people. They have a desperate need to be able to communicate with other people in a very rapid and very reliable way. Literally millions and perhaps even billions of dollars depend on their ability to do this. Lately over at the Singapore Stock Exchange they have not been able to do this and the person who is ultimately responsible for their problems is the stock exchange’s CIO – Bob Caisley.

What Has Gone Wrong At The Singapore Stock Exchange?

On its surface, a stock exchange is a fairly simple thing. People who want to sell their stocks show up. People who want to buy stocks show up. The stock exchange’s IT systems allow these two groups to exchange information about what is available to be bought, how much someone is willing to pay, etc. If both parties are in agreement, then the deal is electronically completed and both stock and money exchange hands. This process is not currently working correctly over at the Singapore Stock Exchange.

On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the Singapore Stock Exchange delayed its opening by more than three hours. In the world of finance, fortunes can be both made and lost in milliseconds – three hours is an incredibly long period of time for a stock exchange to be down. The reason that the stock exchange was kept closed was because bad data had been distributed by the stock exchange to brokers. What had happened is that the stock exchange had upgraded some software on one of its backend systems over the weekend. This system had then created faulty data that was then distributed to brokers. The exchange had to be kept closed while the affected brokers reconciled their systems.

This is not the first technical snafu that the Singapore Stock Exchange has experienced. Back on November 5th, an IT technical glitch caused trading in both the securities and derivatives markets to come to a halt for over two hours – once again an eternity in the world of finance. Just to make things even worse, trading in the derivatives market was halted for two and a half hours in April because of IT hardware problems. Clearly the Singapore Stock Exchange’s IT shop has some serious problems.

The Importance Of Trust

One of the things that it can be all too easy for those of us in the CIO position to forget is that the relationship between IT and the rest of the company is a relationship that is built on trust. The rest of the company believes that they don’t have to worry about IT issues because we’ll take care of them. As is the case with the Singapore Stock Exchange, when we don’t keep our part of this bargain, all of a sudden life starts to get harder for everyone else and trust can be lost.

In Singapore, the central bank regulator has been keeping track of what has been going on over at the Singapore Stock Exchange. He has stated that it is “unacceptable”. To make things even worse, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has instructed the exchange to review “…the shortcomings that led to the lapse…” and they’ve even gone so far as to threaten that they will “… not hesitate to take supervisory actions…” if it turns out to be necessary. Clearly, the actions of the Singapore Stock Exchange’s IT department and their CIO are causing the firm to get unwanted attention.

The CIO works for the CEO. The CIO’s job is to make sure that the company’s IT infrastructure is able to support what the CEO wants the company to be able to do. In the case of the Singapore Stock Exchange this is not happening. The exchange’s CEO, Magnus Bocker, was forced to release a statement in which he said that the exchange was going to have to work to rebuild the trust with its customers that the outages had lost for them. This situation should never have happened and preventing it is the job of the firm’s CIO.

What All Of This Means For You

Having the CIO job means that you have been given a great deal of responsibility by your company. They have entrusted the IT assets of the company to you because they understand the importance of information technology and they have the expectation that you’ll make sure that the company is provided with the reliable computing resources that it needs in order to meet the needs of its customers. Over at the Singapore Stock Exchange their CIO is not fulfilling his part of this bargain.

Recently the exchange performed a software update. This resulted in bad data being sent to brokers. The exchange was forced to remain closed for three hours while the bad data was removed from all of the broker systems that it had been loaded into. Clearly the proper quality controls have not been implemented in the IT department. Even more disturbing is this is not the first major outage the Singapore Stock Exchange has experienced. The level of trust between the brokers and the exchange is at an all-time low and rebuilding this now needs to be the primary focus of whomever is in the CIO position going forward.

The importance of IT to a company’s success has never been more important. It can be all too easy to forget about the complexity of running a modern IT department until things start to go very wrong. This is exactly what has started to happen over at the Singapore Stock Exchange. It is the responsibility of their CIO, Bob Caisley, to identify what is wrong in his IT department and move quickly to fix it. The good news is that this can be done, the bad news is that there is not a lot of time before the exchange will have used up all of the remaining trust that it has with its brokers.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that the Singapore Stock Exchange CIO should be replaced?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Joel Manfredo was the CTO of Orange County, California a while ago. When he first came into office, he discovered what most CIOs discover when they start their job: he had a lot of problems on his hands that had nothing to do with the importance of information technology. The Orange County IT department provides IT services for over 18,000 employees who work in over 30 different government services. As Joel took over as CTO he realized that he had a bit of a mess on his hands, what was a CTO to do?

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What CIOs Need To Know About (Social) Networking

by drjim on December 10, 2014

Networking is all about meeting new people

Networking is all about meeting new people
Image Credit: Freelancers Union

As CIO you know that despite the importance of information technology, networking is so much more than just connecting servers with cables. It turns out that it has a lot to do with meeting new people and expanding your social network. This is valuable stuff. Now the big question is how to go about doing it correctly…?

Networking 101

Ok, so I’ve gotten you to agree that this networking thing is important. That’s an important first step. Now what? The first thing that you need to realize is that the next time that you attend an event in which you’ll have a chance to do some networking, you need to understand that you goal must be to connect with the people who are there. Just exchanging business cards is not enough!

The way that you can connect with someone is by expressing an interest in them. Ask them questions about what they do for a living, where they come from, and where they went to school. These are all fairly safe topics because they’ll easily be able to answer them without a lot of thought.

Your goal needs to be to get them to tell you their story. You want to understand what their passions are and what drives them. The great thing about doing this is that we can all easily remember stories and so you’ll forever be able to recall what they tell you when you meet them again.

Networking Warning Signs

If only I could tell you that every networking opportunity would turn out well for you. I mean, you’ve got the CIO job so everyone should want to network with you, right? Well, no. You need to be aware when your networking is not going so well.

When you are in a conversation with someone, you need to pay careful attention to them. What you are looking for are signs that the conversation is over. If you can detect these, then you’ll need to wrap things up.

Specific signs that the other person is done talking to you include when their eyes start to wander around the room looking for someone else to talk to, or when the conversation that you are having with them no longer comes easily. When either of these things start to happen, excuse yourself from the conversation and go find someone else to network with.

What All Of This Means For You

Having the CIO position can be a lonely job. In order to make sure that you are not alone, you need to get good at doing that networking thing. In order to be successful at this, you need to make sure that you know what you need to do.

The first thing that a CIO needs to know about networking is that you want to really connect with people, not just exchange business cards with them. Take the time to discover what makes them tick. If they start to look off into the distance or seek a way out of the conversation, wrap things up and move on.

Networking is a critical job skill that none of us were ever taught. To get good at this we need to be willing to get out there and practice it. No, we won’t always be successful, but we will be getting better and in the end, that’s what really counts.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think that a CIO should be practicing his or her networking skills?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Here’s a quick question for you: what is more important for a CIO to do – cut costs or boost revenues? I think that it’s fair to say that because of the importance of information technology, we are called on to do both at the same time; however, they can’t both be of equal value. One has to be more important than the other. Which one should we be spending more time on?

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