Magazine article CRM Magazine

Ringing the Opening Bell: A Financial-Trading Facility Gets a New Recording System in Less Than Two Weeks-And Saves $292,000

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Ringing the Opening Bell: A Financial-Trading Facility Gets a New Recording System in Less Than Two Weeks-And Saves $292,000

Article excerpt

We typically only hear--and write--about the consumer-facing side of the financial-trading market. The unsung heroes are the companies recording the busy phone lines traders use to close deals to ensure accuracy. Enter Cross Check Communications, founded in 1993 by former floor trader and telecommunications manager Catherine Oliven. Her company focuses on the needs of Chicago's trading floors, verifying thousands of recording channels every week to ensure audio files are clear and correct.

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"I'm in the business of revealing truths," Oliven says. "Background noise can be a factor when traders are trying to communicate over the phone. Was it 15, or was it 50? You have to get it resolved because the markets continue moving.... There's a lot of money flying around down here."

After the merger closed between the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), now known as the CME Group, Oliven had a monumental challenge. Cross Check already had been doing business for the CME floor, but with the merger the CME was moving to the CBOT's floor. "This was a 'work well under pressure' scenario for us," she says, adding that she was told that keeping the business meant accepting a two-week deadline for setting up 500 lines for recording on the new floor. "It was very high expectations [with] extreme risk," she recalls.

Oliven admits she believed she had a competitive advantage already, because traders using CBOT's existing technology couldn't listen to a conversation on the trading floor--they had to burn the recording to a compact disc (CD) and take it with them. "You'd have to wait for a CD to be burned and you wouldn't be able to watch the markets, which is a loss of both time and money," she says.

Oliven needed a solution to implement a line-checking and voice-recording system--in two weeks. After looking at larger vendors--including Nice Systems and Verint Systems--Oliven decided on a local player, Chicago-based open-source provider OrecX's Oreka TR Total Recording system. Within a day, she had a conference call with the vendor, her Linux programmers, an analog-to-digital converter vendor, and her telephone-installation company.

"I had to place an enormous amount of trust in OrecX and the people on my team," she confides. …

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