Page 4: THe Financial Market Place
Advances in information technology have made the world a smaller place and enabled organisations to operate globally. In the financial sector, information technology allowed investment, ie. capital, to enter foreign markets freely and investors to gain the best returns regardless of national borders. It has also made it possible for capital to exit a country just as easily. This was demonstrated in 1998 by the virtual collapse of the Asian economies, which, with links between economies world wide, created volatility and general uncertainty. The forces of globalisation have increased the complexity of the financial marketplace. They have also created wider opportunities. The ability to trade across national boarders can bring higher returns, diverse products and a wider variety of sources of finance. The sheer number of products and financial strategies has added further complexities to markets.
Information technology has brought its own set of complexities, by increasing the speed of transactions and creating a broader flow of information. The merger of Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter consolidated both organisations' strengths, increased their collective product range and scope of distribution. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is dependent on information systems in order to compete globally in financial services. It has a combination of software applications that allows it to trade on the world's stock markets, giving it access to market news and data from around the world. Telecommunications in the form of the Internet, e-mail and the telephone allows exchanges of information between clients and colleagues. With such a dependence on information systems, support and back up services must exist to maintain those systems.