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Fixed Income Trading: New venues ( How many new Fixed Income trading venues are there? )

How many new Fixed Income trading venues are there?  [155]  A simple question came up recently in a conversation – how many new Fixed Inco...

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Fintech Innovation, Improvisation and Kelly's Heroes

Fintech Innovation within large companies can be challenging. Why? 

The mindset of heavily regulated financial firms is generally that the default answer to any question is a resounding no.  This brought to mind the film Kelly's Heroes...

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Web Assembly & Streaming Data for Financial Markets (HTML5, OMS, EMS, Market Data): proof-of-concept

Following on from Web Assembly & Streaming Data for Financial Markets (HTML5, OMS, EMS, Market Data) decided to build a proof-of-concept for a simple C++ application.  And of course, first off, we start with "hello world!".

The plan will be to serve up the hello world wasm within a node.js/express.io framework.  Once validated, will update the C++ application that is converted to wasm and back-end this with a very simple streaming C++ data server...

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1, Bootcamp, APFS and Windows 10 Build 1709 problem

So, if you have a MacBook Pro and run Bootcamp with Windows you are used to switching between OSX (macOS) and Windows.  Either by using the Windows system tray silver diamond and selecting the "restart in macOS" option or by switching off the PC and then restarting to see the Startup Manager.  But, after upgrading the mac to macOS High Sierra and then upgrading to Windows 10 build 1709 this "restart in macOS" no longer works. First thing to try is to downgrade back to the previous Windows version.  But that doesn't work.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Fixed Income Electronic Trading, MiFID2 and Jarvis Cocker

"Is this the way they say the future's meant to feel?
Or just 20,000 people standing in a field?
And I just don't understand quite what this feeling is..."
--Jarvis Cocker (Pulp, Sorted for E's and Wizz)

Fixed Income Leaders Summit Amsterdam 2017

This year is shaping up to be superb.  I am really looking forward to the Dragon's Den session - I am delighted to see a "graduate" from a previous year join us as a Dragon and I'm very proud to say that the three firms pitching are all firms I have found through my consulting work.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

KYB – know your broker vs the order routing enigma

To judge the efficacy of smart order routers buy-side traders are urged to stay on top of brokers
"How many of you, based on data flow, expect positive commission flow – or are brokers making money off your flow?” John Greenan, global multi-asset connectivity manager, BNP Paribas Fortis Investments, asked, summing up a session on how to judge the effectiveness of smart order routers.
Opening with Deep Throat’s exhortation in All the President’s Men to “follow the money”, he offered three efficacy tests. The first uses consolidated data supplied by the broker, broken down by market index and ADV bands. “At least simple statistics on broker and venue, with standard deviation, show you what they’re doing with your flow,” he said. A second and more sophisticated plan involves sector-based benchmarking. Traders use their own OMS to support Tag 30 on executions and gather their own data in-house. Those choosing this option must be prepared to normalise the data – to treat it in-house by placing identifiers on it for brokers, for example. The third, ‘gold-plated’ solution offers depth of book for every venue – including every parent order sent to the broker, every child order – and cancellation – the broker sends to the venue.
“The pursuit of perfection is costly and perhaps inappropriate for many buy-sides,” said Greenan. “On the other hand, vendor-supplied solutions may store some data but not clean it up and make sensible analysis out of it.”
The message was simple: know your brokers – and keep on top of them. “Question brokers. It isn’t something you do every day but it needs to be part of the quarterly, half-yearly or annual review,” said Huw Gronow, head trader, Principal Global Investors.
Broker selection
“Where brokers execute and where they have the capability to execute are completely different questions,” noted Greenan in response to an audience question on latency. “The amounts spent on low latency systems are vast but an easier starting point is to ask where the broker did execute, rather than where they could execute.”
The lack of a state-of-art smart router won’t necessarily rule out brokers, despite the MIFID requirement for best execution. “But you could see it as an extension of buy-side due diligence whether brokers have a router or not,” observed Greenan. “You could use those without as niche or speciality brokers and exclude them from certain elements of your flow.” Ayn Rand’s dictum – “Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others; the creator is the man who disagrees” – raised the possibility that the ‘right’ broker may in fact be the outlying one.
“That’s for buy-side to determine,” said Greenan. “All of us have to think about how we interact with the market and how we trade.” Likewise, despite the dominance of big banks with sizeable technology capacity, small operations – such as those with a specialism in small-caps or expertise in liquidity – still have something to offer, he said.
Widespread adoption of smart order routers begs the question: so what happens if you – or your broker – routes orders the old-fashioned way? Not much, acknowledged Gronow. After all, there has been little measurement to date – and what you don’t measure you can’t manage. The real loss will be in terms of opportunity cost. “These trades are very hard to measure. Smart order routing gives you the potential for a better price for the trade,” said Gronow.
Coming storm
In the meantime, the proliferation of dark pools and vigilant regulators make further regulation almost inevitable. Given the opportunity to regulate, regulators are unlikely to stand back and leave well alone. “The political will is there to regulate at the moment. Regulators, having got a sniff of this, are looking to regulate,” said Greenan. “The SEC might feel brokers are not very transparent. The question is what they’re going to do about it. Dark pool flow is much less here than in US but any proposals brought in the US will have an impact in the EU.”
“The volume of regulation will go up and we, as an industry, will have very little impact on that. Bashing the banks is the new black. Don’t try to argue with a storm. More regulation is coming: get used to it.” 

Quoted from the original published in 20th April 2010

Compare with the excellent article "The order routing enigma" by Hayley McDowell in The Trade - the abstract reads:

"The majority of brokers do not provide the buy-side with full order routing transparency. Hayley McDowell asks whether the buy-side should be probing their brokers to find out where unfilled orders are being sent."

Was that original piece really seven and a half years ago?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Big data methodology for the buy-side

Within an institutional asset management context there is a huge amount of data available to organisations.  We see repeated instances where firms do not have the capability to actually use that data in a meaningful way.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

VirtualBox: After upgrading guest Windows OS, reinstall GuestAdditions

Title says it all really.  If you are running a guest instance of Windows 10 with GuestAdditions installed in the guest and then upgrade the guest Windows OS, you must re-install GuestAdditions.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

Disaster Recovery, von Moltke and Schrödinger

Further to our earlier post FIX, Electronic Trading and Disaster Recovery it's worthwhile to emphasis some points.

Helmuth Von Moltke was a Prussian general and military theorist who followed in the footsteps of Carl von Clausewitz (as an aside, if you can invest the time, reading "On War" is a powerful experience).

One of his famous aphorisms was:

"No plan survives contact with the enemy"

Erwin Schrödinger created the thought experiment that took his name - Schrödinger's Cat

Until you look in the box the cat is neither alive nor dead but in a quantum superposition of both alive and dead.

So - combine these two concepts with FIX, Electronic Trading and Disaster Recovery and what do you get?  Some rather tortured mixed metaphors for which the author apologises, but here we go...

No Disaster Recovery plan is actually real unless it faces the enemy and is seen to function.  An untested Disaster Recovery plan is very likely to turn out to be a dead cat in a box.

When looking at a DR plan - ask this question:

"When was the plan last executed?"

If the answer is one or more of

  • more than a year ago
  • before a big application upgrade
  • before a hardware refresh
  • before an office move
  • before a change of personnel running the execution of the DR plan
  • before any merger or acquisition
  • before any divestment or closure of a business line
Then it's time to run it again and look at what's in the box...

Friday, 9 June 2017

FIX, Electronic Trading and Disaster Recovery

An often overlooked part of Electronic Trading implementations is the world of high availability/disaster recovery/business continuity.

Why?  Simply put, because it's hard and expensive.  Let's look at this more closely...

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Visual Studio for Mac

Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac. Had a minor issue with installing, after manually installing the Mono framework and restarting the installer this worked ok.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Fintech: What is an OMS?

This is post that has been requested several times, but we have never been able to write about this topic without producing a "War and Peace" tendency article.  And so today, here's the long version of the answer to that question...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Blackberry KEYone: Where are the USB drivers?

Regular readers will know that we retain a fondness for all things Blackberry. With the release of the KEYone - we thought it worthwhile to give a brief review.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Apple: How not to do eCommerce - sell me the cable I want!!!

You are a consultant travelling all round the world and you spend a lot of time in Europe.  So a set of adapters for electrical sockets are really useful...

Monday, 20 February 2017

Exchanges and their matching engines

Another list based blog post, this time on Exchanges and their matching engines.  This will be a work-in-progress and will be updated over time. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

FIX Orchestra: RC1 out now - next steps and looking ahead

As published recently here the release candidate 1 for FIX Orchestra has been released. A lot of work from a number of good people has gone into this (I take credit for the name, as a play on my original implementation of FIIDL - pronounced "fiddle").

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

FIX: Co-located onboarding?

FIX testing is very much regarded as an unglamorous part of the financial technology landscape.  But it's essential for most electronic trading relationships to work (yes, other protocols are available such as ITCH/OUCH, but I would suggest that in value terms traded per day FIX is king of the hill).