Category Archives: Uncategorized

Calypso and SAP

I could have thrown couple of other names and this post would start to be list of competitors. But found the following article:

Interesting article

Initially, I was like “Wow, that’s a big one” (announcement effect), but then before drifting to sleep (couple of hours not later, and not at work!), rethinking about it, I did not see massive synergies.

For instance, posting Calypso entries to the GL (provided if SAP is the GL), is a simple question of report formatting. If SAP is managing business banking, the activity itself due to its pure volume needs to be completely outside Calypso (or whichever trading system) and just send aggregates once or couple of times a day to the trading system for liquidity and risk management. Again it is another interface (and really not a tough one) which would take couple of hours to be codded in Murex.

So I struggle to find big synergies. Even during selection processes, it is not such a game changer (to me).

I know that SAP is like a giant octopus, reaching into far places into companies, so I might forget something. If someone would be kid enough to correct me or expose his point of view, I’d happily discuss it further through the comments here or the forum!

Holidays coming up

Some of us are lucky enough to get some holidays soon. During that time, I’ll still post to the blog but only once a week compared to twice a week at the moment (posts will be on Tuesdays). Again if you have some topic you’d like me to cover, let me know.

Otherwise an article from 2 weeks ago that I forgot to post before. This topic is something I hear more and more about, so a short but informative article.

Business wire article about Murex collateral management

Friday quizz!

How well do you know Murex and its history? It’s time to find out!

Murex history

  1.  What was the first product made by the founders of Murex which triggered the creation of Murex?
  2. What was the previous version before the “java” version?
  3. When did commodities merge into MxG2000?

Murex Front

4.  What functionality lets me, in a rate product, see/build the payout graphically?
5.  What vol nature is most appropriate for caps?
6.  What is the simulation functionality you lose with User definable simulation?

Murex Processing

7.  What function to use to check PL and accruals by leg?
8.  How are counterparties SWIFT details saved in Murex?
9.  How many trade validation status can Murex have?

Bonus question (to make it to 10 questions)

10.  Which file on the application directory stores the fileserver port?




  1. A Black-Scholes pricer!
  2. 117.5
  3. With the 2.11 version (called for a short moment 3.1). About 2005
  4. Linear payoff builder
  5. Trick question (check the previous post) but lognormal, normal, yield all good answers
  6. No new trade refresh (even if you pick a portfolio, or any very general criteria)
  7. View PL (accounting breakdown)
  8. UDF of course!
  9. No limit, go crazy and then back to reason with just a couple
  10. (yes still call like that today!)

If you have your own quizz questions feel free to post here or in the forum!


Dealing with angry users

This is actually quite an important topic, especially when one is more junior. Indeed, the business often relies a lot on Murex and it is a major source of revenue for the bank.

So when something goes wrong and given the high stress levels it gets sometimes quite violent. The first times, it’s a bit surprising but then you get used to and start to learn how to deal with it.  If you’re in a rush, you can simply read the last paragraph 🙂

In this line of work, you will one day or another be exposed to this sort of behaviour and you can choose how to react to it. As I can’t speak for you (well I can, but that would be a wild guess), I’ll share as to how I see things.

My state of mind starts as: we’re in all of this together. There is a problem, the enduser is frustrated: what can we do to solve the issue. I’m setting my mind into assistance/problem solving. At first, there is no point being in taking any side, you need fact, you want to solve issue. If one is angry, frustrated, etc… I don’t mind so long it does not impede solving the issue. I had a colleague once standing a full hour of complaint about Murex from one person, I think the only positive outcome from this was that the trader could vent all his frustration (in this case he was actually quite right to be). But that did not help a bit into improving the situation.

As we covered in an earlier post, you need to work out your problem solving skills and depending on the criticality, raise the issue higher.

When people are so angry, they stop making sense, I calmly explain that I just want to solve their issues and I need their help. It works 99% of the time. Once, I had a guy that told me there was no point, all was bad, etc… I asked what help I could provide. He replied none. I then left. Talked with other people and they actually brought him back to reason. We could then work it out.
Most of the time, you need information to do problem solving. Without it, you cannot do anything so make it work your way.

They usually just want a solution that works. Myself, if I know some solutions which are quick to test with limited impacts on other parts of the system. I suggest we try them first. If the solutions are more complicated or harder to find, I then ask for some time. Some people prefer to work it out and fully test it out before giving an answer, I’m not the patient type and explain that we’ll try some solutions. If they prefer I can do it offline and come back with the results. People in this line of work tend to be quite smart and quick thinkers, so leave them the choice (you work on their PC or on your own), they’ll appreciate being involved.

In short, be constructive and keep your eyes on the prize (the solution).  You’re bound to face one day someone with whom it won’t work. Forget the constructive part with him, work with someone else. As we say in french: “Le con ne perd jamais son temps, il perd celui des autres.”

XML Macros

If you’ve never heard of them, that’s probably for the best but they’re always worth discussing.

Most actions in the system that needs automation can be done through processing script (changing the date, running a report, checking DB results, etc…) or through the workflow or specific interface (importing trades, market data, etc…). But in some cases, you might need a function in the system to do something automatically and it is not automated at all.

It usually ends up in a meeting where people look for solution till someone mentions: XML Macros.

What are XML macros? XML macros allow to automate a certain path in the application as if someone was entering all the relevant information and clicking on the appropriate fields. Recording your macro generates an XML file that you can then load via a script (on paper sounds perfect for automation).
The extra bonuses of XML Macros are that you can modify the XML yourself (for instance, username/password groups or any other typed fields) very easily AND that they can open up a session up exactly at their very end. (For instance, choosing a portfolio and loading the simulation).

On paper, looks great and feels like a bulletproof solution. Unfortunately, I tend to run away when they’re mentioned for quite a few reasons:
– They each have their own JVM. So if you plan to use them to ease the user access into the system, the user machine might end up out of memory as each session will eat up 250-500 Mo (depends a bit as to what the user is doing)
– They’re completely dependent on path built: if the path changes for whatever reason (change of version, change of configuration), the macro will need to get rewritten to adapt to the new version
– If username/password changes, one needs to look into it as well and update them.

Automation is often a set and forget solution, but in the case of XML macros, at each change (and on a regular basis) they need to be checked as they might stop working.
If automation is absolutely required and XML macro is the only solution, you need to consider an extra check post the XML macro run to ensure that the job was done properly (usually a good old DB check processing script is perfect).

If you have stories or tips about using them, feel free to share below!