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Risk Management for a Volatile Market: Prepping for 2016

As we begin 2016, there is once again a lot of intrigue in the markets. High volatility, uncertainty in China and an election year in the U.S. are just a few factors holding sway over the economy. Simply put, there’s a lot to think about for those who earn a living in the markets.

That’s why we, in conjunction with Advantage Futures and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), brought together leaders in the field to offer insight and predictions on how the year will play out. We co-hosted an event at our Tech Tap entitled, “Risk Management for a Volatile Market: Prepping for 2016." At the center was a panel discussion moderated by Jay Caauwe, managing director of CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE). I sat on the panel along with:

  • Larry Schulman, CEO, Cheiron Trading LLC
  • Henry Carter, Head of U.S. Index Trading, IMC
  • Euan Sinclair, CEO and Co-Founder, FactorWave

The conversation covered a wide range of topics and included a number of interesting points that I wish we had more time to discuss. If you were unable to attend, read on for some of the key takeaways offered by our panelists.

The New TT Autospreader®: Changing the Rules

Amidst the rapidly unfolding story happening in and around Trading Technologies, Autospreader, a tool invented by TT over a decade ago for executing the industry’s defining trading algorithm, has been quietly going through a major overhaul.

Regardless of the products being traded or the strategy being deployed, execution speed is critical to successfully trading synthetic spreads. With this in mind, we took all of our accumulated knowledge and expertise and rebuilt Autospreader from scratch, leveraging best-in-class colocation facilities; a streamlined, consolidated, modular code base; cutting-edge networking technologies and real-time performance monitoring. The result is a synthetic spreading engine that is twice as fast as anything we’ve ever released—with the flexibility to execute in ways never possible before.

When we say things like “modular code base” and “flexible architecture,” we’re not just throwing out buzzwords. We’ve built Autospreader to allow the user to override the default spreading logic at critical decision points. In the past, service providers like Trading Technologies would deliver tools with a list of features. Users could mix, match and tweak how they use those features, but they were always confined to the capabilities built into the product.

The introduction of Autospreader Rules in the new TT platform gives users the ability to build their own custom Autospreader features. The days of take it or leave it software development are gone. More than ever, we at Trading Technologies want to empower our users to engage with us in a partnership to help us deliver the tools they need to run their businesses. We recognize that we can’t always give every trader exactly what they want all the time. By making Autospreader customizable, we’re not trying to create more work for our customers—in fact Autospreader will come with a longer list of features than ever before. Rather, we’re trying to give users the ability to easily take control if they want to do so.

TT CampusConnect™: Growing the Next Generation of Commodity Marketing Professionals at North Dakota State University

NDSU TT CampusConnect

By Drs. William W Wilson and Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University

The job market in agriculture has been particularly robust over the past 5-10 years.¹ This is partly in response to the retrenchment that happened in many companies about 10 years ago along with the evolving demographics of many agricultural firms. There are a multitude of other reasons for this including the escalation in economies of transactions, greater risk, ethanol and energy trading (e.g., oil and electricity) that tends to attract grain traders, and, importantly, a fairly robust view of agriculture by many companies. Indeed, some firms have indicated that their growth is limited only by their inability to hire enough well-qualified individuals.

As a result of these changes, most agriculture programs in the United States have benefited with increased enrollments (although this has increased the challenges in teaching) and placements, particularly for those who are well trained.

CODE: Can Chicago Tech Crack the Code?


Last week, TT co-sponsored an event for the documentary “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap” at 1871. The film focuses on the dearth of female and minority software engineers in America, exploring issues from childhood STEM education to startup culture.

This topic, while certainly not new in conversation, is something we are passionate about at Trading Technologies. We ran a blog series about women in technology spotlighting women at TT on Trade Talk last summer. I started this conversation not to point fingers or place blame, but to highlight what the demographic disparity has meant in our industry and to our teams over the years, as well as to focus on and celebrate some of the progress being made.

Given our interest in the subject matter, when we heard about the CODE documentary, we were excited to get involved and bring it to Chicago for the first time. I personally was grateful for the opportunity to be on a post-screening panel discussion with the director, Robin Hauser Reynolds, and other tech leaders from Silicon Valley Bank, Talution Group and Women Tech Founders. The discussion raised many interesting points both in terms of where the gender gap comes from and what we can do to address it.