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November 30, 1987

NMW COMPUTERS LOOKS TO EUROPE FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATION OF BIG BANG

By CBR Staff Writer

A converted country estate in the heart of Cheshire isn’t the most likely place to find one of the worlds leading computer bureaux. But with claims to process over 50% of all UK Stock Exchange transactions this is where NMW Computers Plc chose to set up office. Formed in 1972 by the Northern, Midland and Western Stock Exchanges – hence the name NMW – the UKP13.8m-a-year bureau reckons that as long as it has communications and transport it can function perfectly well without the dubious advantages of the City. In 1972 NMW used batch processing, by 1974 it was network controlled and in 1977 it went on-line in a real-time environment. More recently, during the latter part of 1986, it replaced its ICL 2976 systems with ICL Series 39 mainframes to run its X25 network and main bureau services. In fact NMW is one of ICL’s Financial Services success stories. It provides total support for the Nantwich-based company whose nationwide X25 data network is the first of its kind in the UK securities industry. The transition to the new ICL machines was not easy. Old and new computers had to be linked to relay information to the existing star Network – based on a Ferranti dual processing system and British Telecom connections – until the X25 network was complete. Currently, four top-end Series 39 Level 80 mainframes are installed. Two sit on each of two physically separate sites connected by ICL Macrolan high speed fibre optic links. International marketIn turn these link to the nationwide X25 network and to a baby Series 39 Level 20 in London, which is used for communications and printing out statements. In the event of failure additional Level 80 nodes can be switched from development and test activity to live operation, data being automatically re-routed. Uninterruptable power supplies have also been installed. Complete systems, including equipment, packages and bespoke software, training and maintenance for broking operations are also to be had from NMW which numbers 110 UK brokers among its clients. Among NMW’s services is Capital which runs on a multiprocessor ICL 39/80. It processes share transactions and provides the necessary contracts and account statements for clients as well as statutory information for regulatory authorities. A new product is Brokertab, the on-line enquiry service which allows half a million records to be accessed from a central database giving, says NMW, a stockbroker the power of a mainframe on his desk. This takes advantage of ICL’s DRS 300 terminals and DRSnet links. Broking Services Ltd, a rapidly expanding subsidiary, takes over the work usually done in the broker’s back office. Looking to the future NMW wants to move into the international market. Deregulation still hasn’t happened in many countries and NMW hopes the experience it gained during Big Bang will put it one step ahead of other bureaux in the international stakes; it says it can already handle up to 140,000 bargains a day, the record achieved on a daily basis by the Stock Exchange. It also has designs on increasing its market share in this country by providing further services including in-house systems based on Capital. Putting the stockbroker in complete control is yet another goal as is the 24-hour network. NMW is currently in talks with a number of people to expand its network into Europe and the Pacific.

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