All posts by Drew Shields


In January, I was invited to speak at FIA’s InfoNet event in London on the subject of the challenge of innovating while facing commercial demands for near-term commercial success and the resource constraints every firm faces. This post is a version of that presentation.

Drew Shields speaking at FIA’s InfoNet event in London

In technology generally and fintech especially, there may not be a more inescapable word than “innovation.” It tends to get thrown around like a magic cure-all—if you just innovate, your business will find success and you’ll be able to change your company, your industry or even the world for the better.

Innovation can certainly be a powerful tool for good, but we rarely discuss how to do it. And it’s easy to forget that spending time and money on innovation can often run counter to commercial success, at least in the short term. Balancing the need for innovation with short-term and long-term commercial demands has been top of mind for all of us at Trading Technologies for the last two years.

I arrived at TT almost two years ago as we were putting our primary focus behind bringing the new TT to market, built from the ground up without dependencies on our legacy platform. I have certainly been humbled by that challenge, but I’ve also learned about the nature of innovation and some keys to sustainable innovation in a challenging environment defined by cost cutting, tighter regulation and a demand for near-term commercial success.
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Few things are transforming software, business, and nearly every aspect of our lives like cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS). It’s easier than ever to build and deploy new applications, and the result is a plethora of new companies vying for our attention across nearly every domain. The cloud revolutionizes data collection and analysis and empowers SaaS, making it simple to distribute software to anyone, at any time, in nearly any location.

It’s no surprise, then, that the cloud is finding its way into trading systems as well. TT was an early adopter of cloud technologies in the trading space. We began talking about our next-generation trading platform in early 2014, but a year and a half later, and particularly with new entrants using similar terms, I think it’s important to ask: what does it mean to be a “cloud trading platform,” is there a difference between SaaS and “cloud,” and where does TT fit into the mix?
Next-Gen TT Trading Platform

New technologies such as HTML5/Javascript make the next-generation TT platform accessible to users via the internet, mobile device or desktop client.

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Last week on Twitter, #PreviewTT looked at how the TT platform architecture allows us to deliver unprecedented benefits, combining the best of X_TRADER® with enhancements that make TT even easier to use, more accessible and more performant.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model eliminates the need for software installation, which means all users get access to the latest functionality on the day it launches regardless of where they’re located. Our customers say this makes TT a game changer.

SaaS also makes it possible to rapidly deliver that functionality virtually anywhere—whether you’re trading from a multi-monitor desktop workstation at the office, from a MacBook at home, or even from a phone while you’re on the go.

SaaS also enables the same workspaces, algos and configurations as well as your Audit Trail and other data to go wherever you go.

The TT platform’s back-end architecture and performance are equally impressive. Tests show latency of under 150 microseconds, while we’re building hot failover and full network path redundancy to ensure the network will be there when you need it.

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Mike Riddle,
COO of Eris Exchange

The passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010 required standardized derivatives to trade on open platforms and be submitted for clearing to central counterparties. As a result, many trades previously conducted over the counter moved onto exchanges backed by central counterparty clearing.

Drew Shields, our head of product management, sat down with Mike Riddle, the COO of Eris Exchange, a futures exchange that lists cash-settled interest rate swap futures, and Bill Campbell, TT’s director of fixed income products, to discuss the growth of swap futures and associated trading opportunities, specifically box trades.

Drew: Let’s take this from the top. Mike, can you talk to our readers about Eris Exchange?

Mike: Happy to. Eris Exchange is a futures exchange—a designated contract market regulated by the CFTC—that has been steadily growing since inception in 2011. We provide banks, commercials and prop traders a capital-efficient way to access interest rate swap futures. Increasingly, we are seeing prop trading groups access our market for unique trading opportunities.

Drew: Bill, as an expert in fixed income trading, can you tell our readers how they can leverage our connection to Eris using X_TRADER® and eventually our new TT platform?

Bill: X_TRADER already provides access to CBOT Treasury futures, cash markets at eSpeed and BrokerTec, along with Eris. A complete list of supported markets is on our website. Within this mix of liquidity pools, there are hundreds of ways to spread and trade fixed income contracts. Since Eris is the leading swap futures exchange, we’re planning to make that connection available very soon through our new TT platform. With our suite of automated trading tools including Autospreader®, Autotrader™ and the ADL® visual programming platform, our high-performance connections to the primary fixed income markets and our FIX and proprietary API solutions, it’s a great time to be trading fixed income products with X_TRADER and soon with the new TT.
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Autospreader was the focus of our ongoing #PreviewTT series last week on Twitter.

If you followed along, you already know that the TT version of Autospreader will provide a familiar experience to existing users along with significant functionality and performance enhancement that make Autospreader even faster, more powerful and easier to use.

For example, now you can:

  • Use the new Rule Builder to differentiate your spreading strategies. You can easily create custom pre-quote, pre-hedge and post-hedge logic from scratch, or simply tweak the pre-built Autospreader features by editing them in Rule Builder.
  • Launch spreads in the compact, tabbed MD Trader® to conserve screen space.
  • See prices that reflect the true instrument value rather than the raw exchange value.
  • Experience faster-than-ever performance thanks to our newly built collocated infrastructure, which features the most advanced technology. You can even view hedge latency in real time and see how your server-based strategies are performing. By the way, we think you’ll like what you see.

And with TT, all of your workspaces and spread configurations go where you go. You can create a spread using a laptop, deploy it from your office workstation and manage it from your phone. The experience is consistent no matter where you are and what device you use.

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