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Brain Drain at the OCC

By Robert Hunter

Hagay Shefi Enters the Middleware Wars

Earlier this year, Hagay Shefi decided that what the derivatives world really needed was better middleware. In case you've been in Pago Pago for the last 10 years, middleware is the special software that allows different programs and operating systems to talk to each other. As financial institutions try to bolt new programs onto their aging legacy systems, they're bedeviled by the seemingly simple problem of getting data from one place to another.

To capitalize on this problem, Shefi quit his job as managing director at SunGard Capital Markets to become president of Mint Communication Systems Inc., a middleware company that is a subsidiary of OSHAP, a publicly owned company traded on the NASDAQ. "The middleware business is the hottest thing in the market," says Shefi, 31, whose firm has already snagged NatWest Markets and other high-profile investment banks as clients.

Although big players such as Digital Equipment Corp. and IBM are offering middleware products to the derivatives market, Shefi says his experience at SunGard has helped him offer something different. "While other companies require very specific interfaces either to the origin or the destination of data, we allow banks to use the solution with any network type or application," he explains. "We do not require any additional code or any specific interfaces." Shefi says his system goes beyond merely facilitating the transfer of data across disparate operating systems and applications-it allows pieces of information to be manipulated during the transfer based on specific, user-defined rules, and it guarantees successful data transfer. "As far as I know, we are the only company that intelligently provides that," he says.