Automation in Stock-Brokerage Firms
BY PAUL W. PINKERTON PARTNER, NEW YORK OFFICE
Presented at the Automation Seminar Sponsored by The New York Association of Stock Exchange Firms — March 1956
One of our brokerage clients recently completed a study of the possible use of electronic data-processing equipment In connection with this study the outline of a plan for processing purchases and sales of securities and for handling customers' accounts and the stock record was developed. The firm has given me permission to describe this out-line for you.
The plan embodies the thoughts of many people, principally the operations and procedures people of the firm. In addition, representatives
of three manufacturers of electronic equipment, IBM, Radio Corporation of America, and Remington Rand, contributed freely of their own ideas, based on studies of the firm's operations.
Early study indicated that the use of electronic equipment might be considerably simplified by certain changes in processing which might, however, provide less satisfactory service to customers. One change considered, for example, was the preparation of customers' statements on a cycle basis, such as is commonly done by department stores. Under this plan about 1/20th of the customers would receive their statements as of the close of the first business day of each month, another twentieth on the second of each month, and so on throughout the month. It was promptly decided that consideration would be given only to changes which would increase customer service, not those which might decrease customer service.
It was also realized that after more careful study many changes in routine would be necessary to provide better information to management
and to branches. In order to avoid prolonging the study, however, the firm decided to stay as close to present procedures as possible unless
the electronic equipment offered some obvious improvement not practical with present equipment.
The plan I shall describe was developed for large-scale equipment.
Only a few firms can afford equipment of this size. This same plan, however, with only minor modifications, could be used for small-er-scale equipment, provided that magnetic tape is used. The princi-