At the recent flurry of Treasury Management Conferences, online money market fund trading portals remained a hot topic. Below we discuss some of the new developments and points of interest for those unable to make it to the traditional spring treasury trade show tour (or for those too busy to actually attend any of the sessions).

At Treasury Management of New England's Conference, Goldman Sachs' Managing Director Jesse Cole presented on "Understanding and Evaluating Money Market Portals". Cole discussed the history of and trends in the portal marketplace, and educated attendees on how to evaluate various trading platforms. He said, "Everyone has the wrapper, the window, but behind there are two models -- fully disclosed and omnibus." What is important, Cole tells us, is "understanding what and how things happen behind the screen".

Cole predicted, "It's only a matter of time before there's consolidation" and said the "next stage" in portal development is "integration with treasury, auto-money movements and multi-product". On online commercial paper (CP) trading, he says, "We have historically not seen very much adoption. He says the market preference seems to be for a "multi-dealer solution" like the one Tradeweb already offers.

Goldman's Cole mentioned the difficulties some treasury workstation users have had integrating their trading portals, though he mentioned that Peoplesoft and SAP are looking at the sector. This brought a response from one audience member, Scott Montigelli of Kyriba, who disagreed and suggested that Kyriba would be entering the space in the near future.

Finally, he says to evauluate providers, "Know what you or your organization wants to automate or access, because not all the bells may be needed." He adds, "Understand the provider's commitment to the business. Do they really have the experience and depth?"

Other portal discussions at recent treasury conferences included: Institutional Cash Distributor's (ICD's) John Geary's "The Future of Money Market Portals," who discussed future enhancements at TMANE, including the rollout of Clearwater Analytics "transparency" initiative, and Mellon LMS's Kirk Black's "Transforming Treasury Investing with Portal Technology," which discussed "streamlinging the short-term investment process" at the New York Cash Exchange.

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