As the financial crisis continues, many banks cutting back on spending are targeting their IT budgets. Despite this, IT teams around the globe are performing admirably under great pressure. The Banker's Innovation In Banking Technology Awards recognises those who have excelled in times of unparalleled adversity.

It is a widely held truism that the global financial services industry is well-served when it comes to IT budgets. But this year the IT function, as with many other areas of the business, cannot hope to escape unscathed from the dramatic budgetary constraints that have followed in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Indeed, The Banker's own research, as outlined in its IT Investment Intention Survey 2009 (published in May), has shown that a significant proportion of global financial services IT budgets have been cut dramatically - sometimes by as much as 40%.

Never before in the seven-year history of The Banker's Technology Awards have the industry's IT chiefs felt so much pressure to cut costs, to implement complex projects on a shoestring, and, most importantly, to demonstrate fast and effective return on investment.

Yet these pressures were not, it transpired, to the detriment of this year's awards - quite the opposite: although there were a number of excellent long-term projects, such as JPMorgan's credit risk infrastructure implementation, that were several years in the making, there were many others that had been inspired, planned and executed under severe financial pressure.

In these examples, up-front and ongoing costs were often mitigated by the imaginative combination, application and re-use of existing infrastructures and software. Elsewhere, established technologies were redeployed to build out innovative services, successfully executed through new implementation methodologies.

 It is such creative lateral thinking and strong problem-solving skills that The Banker's Innovation in Banking Technology Awards are designed to celebrate, as much as the brave use of so-called bleeding-edge technologies.

This year, The Banker received more than 200 submissions from financial services organisations, including retail, commercial and investment banks, brokers, mutlilateral trading facilities and asset managers, scattered across the globe. From Mexico to Kuwait, The Banker enjoyed a privileged insight into the global financial services industry's technology deployments.

The highlights

As ever, the retail entrants did not disappoint. Each year, the global retail banking industry, particularly institutions situated in young developing markets, serves up a vast array of new, interesting and thoughtful projects. New delivery channel technologies, payments and customer service and marketing projects were by far and away the most popular and competitive categories, garnering a huge number of submissions.

The creative deployment of often well-established technologies characterised several submissions in 2009, as it had in the 2008 awards, with BBVA Compass' 'Virtual Banker' and Garanti Bank's cardless remittance projects being key examples. Both projects reflected the growing need to service customers in a globalised marketplace, characterised by vast distances that may only be practically bridged through the deployment of increasingly sophisticated and, in the case of BBVA Compass, increasingly personal, distributed technologies.

In the case of Garanti Bank, the project also reflected the convergence of the globe's banked and unbanked populations, whereby technology plays a vital role in enfranchising unbanked rural populations within the domestic economy at the time and place of their choosing.

Meanwhile, some players, most notably Citibank's retail Hong Kong operation, focused their efforts on the ever-important retail mission to build customer loyalty, accurately predict customer needs, and to capitalise upon those needs in near real-time.

New Forces

Elsewhere, the traumatic dislocation of the financial crisis was also reflected in submissions. The all-important question of liquidity management, for example, was underlined by Credit Suisse's regulatory system migration (RSM) liquidity project, which, although not a winner this year, receives special mention for its strong forethought.

The complexity of processing over-the-counter derivative trades, from the moment of trade capture through to confirmation and settlement, has also become a topical and, in some instances, highly controversial industry problem. Both JPMorgan's DerivClear project and Credit Suisse's Document Optimisation implementation set out to address parts of this problem area.

Once again, The Banker would like to congratulate the winning entrants and those whose efforts have been highly rated, as well as all parties that took the time and effort to enter. We look forward to receiving further, excellent new submissions in years to come.

Judging Panel


Michelle Price chaired the judging panel and is the trading and technology editor of The Banker. In her role at The Banker, Ms Price covers a range of areas, including capital markets and retail banking.


John Barr is a research director at independent analyst company The 451 Group, where he covers IT early adoption and innovation in the financial markets. Mr Barr has 25 years of experience in the IT industry.


PJ Di Giammarino is founder and CEO of the JWG-IT Group think tank, prior to which Mr Di Giammarino served as the global IT chief operating officer at investment bank Barclays Capital.


Clive Hawkins is global head of foreign exchange and money markets technology and co-head macro-IT for UBS Investment Bank, prior to which he served as European head of equities technology at UBS.


Trevor LaFleche is a senior analyst for Financial Insights. Mr LaFleche's expertise ranges from capital markets messaging to core systems transformation, as well as treasury systems.


Nick Masterson-Jones is director of IT at VocaLink, where he is in charge of all IT programmes. Previously, Mr Masterson-Jones served as deputy-general manager at an investment bank in the City of London.


Damian Atkinson is the UK CIO for ING Wholesale Banking. Among other areas, he is responsible for equity and financial markets development as well as local infrastructure and market data.


Michael Drexler is global head of strategy and planning, investment banking and wealth management, at Barclays Capital, where he is responsible for all aspects of business development, including acquisitions and business expansion.


Simon Barrows is the lead architect for consumer banking at Lloyds Banking Group, where he is responsible for technology strategy and architectural governance across several of the bank's major UK businesses.


Catarina Cardosa leads the financial services sector accounts for the Carbon Trust, where she manages relationships with some of the UK's largest financial services companies. Previously, Catarina worked for WWF-UK.


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