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The Irregular Newsletter of Z/Yen Group Limited

Catch up with current projects, new ventures and see some very bad puns (Editor: bad metaphor) via Z/Yen's blog or the eagerly awaited newsletter.

To receive your copy electronically, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Z/Yen Group is delighted to announce that Linda Cook, who has been our Practice Manager since the last century (1999 to be precise), has been appointed a Director of Z/Yen Holdings Limited.

Linda has taken a metaphorical pickaxe to the metaphorical glass ceiling and smashed that ceiling to smithereens. 

Now & Z/Yen wanted to show you a picture of the secret initiation ceremony which took place on the day of Linda's appointment, but we are unable to do so because, apparently, the secret initiation ceremony is...secret.

In any case, even if photographs were not prohibited, we are reliably informed that it would be utterly impossible to take a dignified photograph at that initiation ceremony.

So here is a dignified picture of Linda at work:

Linda Cook Dignified, At Work 

There are rumours in the Z/Yen camp that Linda has become a little grumpy and aloof since her appointment to the Board, but Linda assures Now & Z/Yen that there is no veracity to such claims.

"That is fake news...sad," she said. "In any case," she continued, "my door is always open". That's probably because the metaphorical door, like the ceiling, was glass and has been smashed. Or because the actual Z/Yen office is open plan, as it has been since the beginning of time.

Seriously, many congratulations to Linda Cook on her promotion.


On 26 September the City turned Red. It was the annual giving day in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. This year's appeal supports LSO Discovery, St Paul’s Music Outreach and Music in Hospitals, enabling them to continue their valuable work into the future.

Z/Yen, as one of the supporters of the City Giving Day, was up with the lark for the photo call at the Guildhall. Michael Mainelli was there as one of the local Alderman and Linda Cook joined him representing the company.  Back in the Z/Yen office, everyone got into the spirit and wore something red.

This event was one special day of raising funds for the Lord Mayor’s appeal, but Z/Yen's staff continue giving on a regular basis throughout the year by Payroll Giving, obtaining a Platinum Quality Mark Award for our ongoing efforts.

ZYen Staff City Giving Day 2017
Z/Yen Staff Having Fun on City Giving Day


We were delighted with the reception of the press release – “Researchers Bring Atomic Clock Timestamp Precision to Stock Market Trading over Distributed Ledgers”.  This was the culmination of many months work by Professor Mike Smith, Ben Morris, Bikash Kharel, Xueyi Jiang, Marc Morris, and Alan Simpson.  And that was just the Z/Yen team.  The project required much aplomb, “self-confidence or assurance, especially when in a demanding situation”, because of the complexity of the software and the hardware, both cutting-edge, as well as the data volumes, exceeding 20 million transactions in just a single hour on a single node at one point.  We’re particularly pleased that this demonstrates the ability to exceed 1 trillion transactions per day comfortably if the need and resources are there.  Below is a photo of the quantum timing it’s all about, a crystal oscillator fed by atomic clocks at the National Physical Laboratory disseminated by NPLTime®:


Here are links to some of the various mentions in the press:

Researchers Bring Atomic Clock Timestamp Precision To Stock Trading Over Distributed Ledgers Finextra
Blockchain 'Atomic Ledger' Experiment Records 20 Million Timestamped Stock Trades International Business Times
Researchers Bring Atomic Clock Timestamp Precision To Stock Market Trading Fintech Finance
Researchers Bring Atomic Clock Timestamp Precision To Stock Market Trading Over Distributed Mondovisione

However, we had hoped for a slightly different ‘ribbon cutting ceremony’.  We had ribbons and scissors and headed over to the Interxion data centre on Brick Lane.  Here is the Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, our dear friend Michael Stewart, who genially came over to lend some ‘gravitas’ to the event on precision timing.


And here’s our group photo, kindly, but amateurishly, shot by security (sic). 


From left to right: Professor Michael Mainelli wearing his Senior Warden badge of the Worshipful Company of World Traders, Michael Stewart wearing his Past Master badge of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Daniel Broby of Strathclyde University. Alan Simpson of Hyperneph and Z/Yen, Mark Parsons of TMX, Neelesh Seetul of ICE.

Having sent these to Tom Goddard of Interxion, he showed real aplomb and knocked up the one below.  Now & Z/Yen readers might just understand why that was the one to go with the press release.

Security Forward-Risk and Intelligence Forum’s quarterly meeting  was held at 85 Gresham Street in the City of London on 9 October 2017.  Our first speaker was our Senior Advisor and Speaker in Residence, Lt Col. Crispin Black, whose presentation was entitled "North Korea - A Grown-Up's Guide To The Future".  Crispin tried to ground Korean complexities in reality rather than the hyber-ventilating hyperbole of current media coverage.   The situation is dangerous but some aspects of it have been overstated, such as the threat of North Korean entrenched artillery and rockets against the South Korean capital, Seoul, 35 miles from the border.  Most North Korean 'tubes' in artillery jargon would struggle to reach further than the northern suburbs of Seoul, if that.  25% of North Korean ammunition is probably dud.  Even deeply entrenched positions are vulnerable to USAF interdiction using conventional rather than nuclear explosives such as the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) bomb detonated in Afghanistan in April of this year - that particular munition destroys through overpressure rather than penetrative effect.  Crispin drew some valuable lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Crucially, there are signs that the Chinese government is beginning to understand that North Korea is also its problem and the days of tweaking the US lion's tail by proxy (however enjoyable) are over.  China has made it clear publicly that if North Korea attacks the US or its allies,  China won't intervene in response to any US retaliation (highly unlikely to be nuclear in any case - the US can flatten most of the DPRK with conventional explosives alone).  This is a huge diplomatic development and makes sense in response to President Trump's policy on North Korea - the only thing he is interested in is removing the nuclear threat - nothing else.  Finally, it's clear after 25 years of negotiation and prevarication that whoever was in the White House would have little choice but to try to bring this issue to a head or be prepared for the Continental United States to live under a constant threat of nuclear attack from a rogue regime - air raid drills in LA?  Unthinkable. 

Our second speaker was Andrew Donaldson, Deputy Head of Risk Analysis at Pool Reinsurance Company, who is responsible for the management of threat intelligence and the assessment of threat reporting and terrorism incidents. Andrew joined Pool Re after a distinguished career with the Police, where he spent most of his service in counter-terrorism, managing covert operations and investigations on national security issues.  Due to his considerable experience managing Islamist extremist threats, Andrew was invited to support the FCO and was deployed to India.  On returning from India, Andrew undertook various senior roles with the Ministry of Defence, including official duties in the USA representing UK interests at The Department of Homeland Security

Andrew gave a presentation entitled "Terrorism & Threat Mitigation" and all those present were given a copy of the Pool Re "Terrorism Threat And Mitigation Report, January - July 2017".  As we operate under ‘The Chatham House Rule’, Andrew was able to go into great detail and share his  impressive knowledge with the group who in turn were able to add their own experiences and observations.  This was a rather good session and added considerable value to the meeting.

Our  ‘Sharing Your Current In-Tray’ session highlighted key concerns and allowed participants to describe areas of interest for them.  We adjourned for cocktails at The Members Dining Room, Guildhall, courtesy of Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen.  Our traditional cocktail aperitif was an Aperol Spritz, echoes of bitter bubbling from the Cuban Missile Crisis.   We dined, enjoying the elegance and history of our venue, with a second dose of Crispin Black an encore, this time as our after dinner speaker on his thriller, "The Paris Trap: A Daniel Jacot Spy Mystery".  Everybody present was given a copy of the book, after which the usual networking took place, as much added value is obtained from the connections and friendships made.

The next meeting will take place at HSBC on 11 January 2018; our Easter Meeting will take place on 22 March 2018 at The Fusiliers Museum at The Tower of London (NOT 28 March as given in some communications).