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On the heels of Y2K, Morgan Stanley’s treasury knew it was time for a technology makeover. Its cash forecasting system was old and straining under the weight of more volume, and its programming language, SmallTalk, was rapidly becoming obsolete. But given its size and scope-assets total $500 billion and cash flow is in 29 currencies-Morgan Stanley’s treasury managers knew that the solution was unlikely to be any off-the-shelf system. A replacement would require the investment bank to embark on an immense and time-consuming project to create a totally new system, but treasury decided it had no alternative. “We weren’t able to find any outside vendors able to meet our needs,” says Alexander Frank, Morgan Stanley’s treasurer. “Our environment is complex. As a result, we needed a level of customization that led us down the [in-house] path.”
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