RE: Are You Sure? (Fri.)

Subject: RE: Are You Sure? (Fri.)
From: "Neumann, Eileen" <ENeuman -at- franklintempleton -dot- ca>
To: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "John Posada" <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "List,Techwriter" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2005 14:42:38 -0500

Yes, that's a problem. For simple mistakes where for instance a number is switched, the mistake may not pop out even on second reading, and sometimes not even if a second person looks it over. And software is carefully designed so that some kinds of transactions will be rejected automatically, but sometimes you need the human touch to realize that something may be 'logically' OK but still be pretty strange.

I'm writing a procedure for a second quality check of high value transactions, done to prevent just these kinds of 'disasters'. The employees who do these are more experienced than the regular processors and know to also look for anything that just 'seems unusual', as well as for mechanical mistakes. That's something software can't really do.

I work for a mutual funds company, and we do have an advantage in that our shares are priced once a day, instead of throughout the day as company stocks are, so there is time to fix any errors before a trade settles.

There are just a ton of issues raised by this story, and financial services people will be shuddering. Pretty funny too though...


I am of the opinion that a simple "are you sure?" dialog would not
have assured prevention of this, as most people will look at an
error they've just made and not notice it. The SW would have
to actually compare the price entered to the current market price
and then pop up an "are you crazy?" message.

Gene Kim-Eng

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