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Financial-Services Firms Bank On Peer-To-Peer

Oppenheimer and Credit Suisse First Boston roll out collaboration information system

2 Min Read

Peer-to-peer technology is gaining momentum with investment banking companies as analysts look for better ways to distribute research to brokerages and high-net-worth individuals.

Credit Suisse First Boston and Oppenheimer Funds last week said they'll each install a collaborative information-sharing system developed by WorldStreet Corp. "It's a better mousetrap," says Robert Bonomo, senior VP of investment and finance systems at Oppenheimer, in New York. Earlier this month, Delaware Investment Advisers became WorldStreet's first customer.

The system, WorldStreet Net, provides a peer-to-peer communications channel over which users can share documents directly through a browser, E-mail system, or enterprise resource planning and customer-relationship management applications. The system hooks into existing apps through the open Extensible Integration Architecture, and communications are established via a dedicated HTTP channel. WorldStreet Net sets up a virtual in-box within user applications that filters and prioritizes content--mostly research that investment banks supply to customers.

Oppenheimer is integrating the technology into a larger information portal that it's rolling out during the next several months. Bonomo says that unlike WorldStreet Net, most financial-information systems are flawed because they don't let users prioritize the information they receive. "It's like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose," he says.

Officials at Credit Suisse First Boston say the system will help them improve relationships with customers because clients will be able to access relevant research the moment it's published. "It gives us a priority channel to our customers, and that eliminates a lot of noise," says Thomas Trivella, managing director for equities.

Using existing apps to deliver content makes sense, analysts say. "People don't want to be deploying yet another application--life is complicated enough," says Forrester Research analyst Simon Yates, adding that this approach should make WorldStreet Net popular with IT people. "Generally, IT people can't stand peer-to-peer because it means having to support another infrastructure."

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