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What to Expect from TT at FIA Expo 2016

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FIA Expo is here again, and as always, for those of us who provide solutions to the futures industry, it provides a great opportunity for assessing the past year and talking about plans for the future. This year has been one of growth and continued evolution at Trading Technologies. In the last few Expos, we were talking about where we were going with the TT® platform alongside our legacy platform, X_TRADER®, but 2016 finally gives us the opportunity to talk in terms of where we have been and the benefits users of TT see compared with other offerings in the market.

While TT and X_TRADER are not yet at feature parity, that is due in part to the fact that we have been investing in TT to build new features and functionality that have never been available in X_TRADER while also investing heavily in the performance and flexibility it offers in terms of automated trading.

Regarding performance, for users of Autospreader® and ADL®, TT has now established itself as the preferred platform between the two. We’ve been saying for a while now that TT is the fastest commercially available futures platform, and while this is a bold claim, we back it up by being transparent with latency reporting directly in the app. We are continuously investing in the measurement and optimization of the platform and are now achieving production Autospreader hedge latencies as low as 25 microseconds with a median in the mid-50s and re-quote latencies of 22 mics with a median in the mid-30s.

There are many talented people in the industry building great solutions for traders, but what sets TT apart when it comes to performance isn’t just that these latencies are low and we are transparent about them with the end user, but that our users don’t think about infrastructure…at all. TT is delivered as a service and is the only platform competing at these latencies that makes it this easy for a firm to achieve this level of performance. No networking to acquire. No hardware to rack and stack. Just open up the front end and start trading and you get performance that beats anything else off the shelf. And while TT removes all the hassles of infrastructure while providing unprecedented speed, we still allow users to run dedicated single-process execution for Autospreader (and soon ADL) with “TT Prime,” an offering that collapses market data, trading engine and the exchange gateway into a single process on dedicated hardware. TT offers all the benefits of software-as-a-service (SaaS) but the flexibility to customize it in a hybrid offering unique in the industry.

While we are continuously working to reduce latency and increase performance on TT, we have also spent the last year adding capabilities which are not offered in X_TRADER.

Charting and analytics: Like X_TRADER, TT’s charts provide an extensive array of chart types plus more than 100 customizable technical indicators and drawing tools. But TT also incorporates the ability to place and manage orders directly on a chart and view fills alongside time series data. Couple that with historical tick data going back years for all major markets, mobile charting on Android and iOS devices, and the option to subscribe to TT as a charting-only product and you have a charting and analytics solution that offers more than X_TRADER.

Options trading: You can now trade futures and options on a single TT screen. We’ve built an options chain, position risk and volatility curve management tools. Those are industry standard. What TT offers that is unique is a continuous automated volatility fit. For users who want to trade options with quality values without managing their own curves, this simplifies life. More importantly for the future of TT, we capture the autofit for every expiration for every product every five seconds and archive it in perpetuity. Today this is used for charting at the money historical vol, but in the long run, this will be opening up a world of research and analytics for our users. At Expo this week, we’ll be demoing powerful market scanning tools, which should hit users’ screens in a few weeks, and later this year we will rollout portfolio risk capabilities.

Spread trading: As we’ve talked about since TT first launched, we took the best of Autospreader from X_TRADER and made it more flexible and customizable with features like Autospreader Rules, which allows you to customize quoting, pre-hedge and post-hedge behavior by using canned rules or creating your own. We’ve also recently released the new Hedge Manager, with which you can dynamically manage legged hedge orders at scale. Add TT Prime and you have the fastest, most powerful spread trading solution on the market with TT Autospreader.

Automated trading: In addition to TT’s automated trading engine being faster than X_TRADER’s, we have also added additional synthetic order types. Specifically, our recent introduction of native OCO/Bracket orders has been quickly adopted by many users.

FIX as a Service: TT removes the friction of large-scale FIX integrations. With TT’s FIX solutions, you can do the following along with vanilla order routing or drop copies (some of which is unique in the industry):

  • Route to Autospreader and ADL algos along with TT synthetic order types or third-party execution algos. Yes, that means that you can get the Autospreader latencies described above without even using a TT screen.
    • Drop copy into TT from other trading systems. For the first time ever, we are offering a platform that can consume activity from other systems, allowing risk managers or trading groups that use diverse solutions to use TT as their system of record.
    • Use FIX rules to implement a FIX integration with no coding. Whether you need to map tags between your default FIX spec and ours or automate symbology translation, you can do all this from a browser with FIX rules, and no downtime or restarts are required for rules to take effect.
    • Automated conformance is now available for TT. While we still run a high-quality FIX support team to help users with integration, actual conformance testing can now be done through automated scripts without involving individuals on our team.

    While we are excited about TT for all the reasons outlined above, there are good reasons why someone would still want to use X_TRADER over TT. For instance, if you build or leverage third-party client applications that integrate with X_TRADER, we don’t yet have a solution for you on the TT platform. Between the XTAPI and TTAPI, the X_TRADER platform has a much more robust API offering than on the newer platform.

    But that doesn’t mean we aren’t improving our API offerings in TT. In addition to the Algo SDK which will see wide release later this quarter, we are working on a suite of client-side tools that will allow you to build custom experiences in the TT ecosystem. Whether you’re building new HTML5 widgets for the TT front end or standalone Windows applications, you’ll be able to leverage all the great services that empower TT, like historical order and market data, streaming prices, options analytics and more.

    In addition to a broader feature set, X_TRADER is still improving. We’re excited to announce that in the coming months, we’ll be improving the X_TRADER ASP network by co-locating more of our TTNET™ data centers with the markets they provide. Details will be available soon, but the bottom line is that X_TRADER execution in TTNET will be better than ever in 2017.

    Many customers ask me if we’re soon going to stop supporting X_TRADER or force people off of it; to the contrary. Today they serve different groups of users based on the features and functionality needed, and we will continue to ensure that both platforms exceed those users’ expectations. Naturally you will see the rate of innovation continue to be faster on TT, not just because it is the platform that will define TT—the company—for years to come, but also because it simply facilitates faster development and iteration.

    And as we continue to round out market connectivity and broker functionality, the reasons why some users choose X_TRADER over TT will diminish. But until then, you can rest assured we’re constantly looking for ways to improve both platforms. And we’re excited about the performance gains our TTNET customers will see in the coming months as we complete the datacenter migrations.

    Want to learn more?

    Create a free trial account now at and try all of the TT features, including options trading, for free in our delayed data environment. It only takes a few minutes, and all you need is an email address.

    And of course if you’re attending FIA Expo, stop by our booth today or tomorrow for your personal demo. It would be great to see you there.

Posted by: Drew Shields, CTO

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