Keep war games out of the dealing rooms
Thursday 16 January 1997
So is BZW deploying the same management strategy in its new war games project with the Defence Research Agency? It sounds like it, with all the talk of dealing rooms as battlefields and the link with the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency of the Ministry of Defence. The idea of a City trader using the same electronic display screen as a fighter pilot to decide when to drop his stock on the market, rather than his bombs on the enemy, sounds as crazy as using Sun Tzu to plan a new factory extension.
However, there is a seed of commonsense within this madness. There is a large number of engineers working in the City, including a real rocket scientist at CSFP. They have brought the computing and mathematical skills essential to their own disciplines to bear on complex market movements and especially the pricing of derivatives. Since much of modern war is to do with rapid evaluation of risk, the disciplines do overlap and there probably is something the City can learn.
But there is also a danger. If all traders acted on the advice, if not the orders, of a computer display, it could bring a new form of instability into the markets. Remember programme trading, and the havoc that wreaked in 1987 when everybody moved the same way at once?
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