All posts by: Trading Technologies

Futures in Asia: A Conversation With UOB Bullion and Futures

Established in 1978, UOB Bullion and Futures Ltd (UOBBF) is a premier clearing broker in the Asia/Pacific region. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB), a leading bank in Asia, which has a global network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in the Asia/Pacific, Western Europe and North America.

As the brokerage arm of UOB, UOBBF provides trading access for a comprehensive suite of products including leveraged foreign exchange, bullions, OTC derivatives, futures, options and commodities on major exchanges around the world. Their clients include retail, high-net-worth, corporate and institutional investors as well as proprietary, hedge fund and high-frequency traders.

UOBBF has been using Trading Technologies software and distributing it to their customers in the region for more than seven years. I recently visited UOBBF’s headquarters in Singapore and had the opportunity to spend time with CEO Matthew Png. Matthew graciously sat down with me to discuss the firm’s recent expansion and partnership with TT.

TT CEO Rick Lane (L) and UOBBF CEO Matthew Png (R) at UOBBF’s headquarters in Singapore.


My Summer at TT: An Experience I Wouldn’t Trade for Anything


As summer at Trading Technologies is rapidly coming to a close, I wanted to take the time to reflect on my experience as one of TT’s 2015 summer interns.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I have no idea where the summer went. To say it went by quickly is an understatement, which I think, in itself, speaks volumes about how much fun I had at TT. Although, like most every college student (especially those who attend IU), I am incredibly excited to go back to school, I feel this excitement at a smaller degree than in years past—solely because that means leaving TT and the people that make it so enjoyable.

As I wrote in my initial blog post, TT was not at all what I expected it to be. I thought that I would be walking into a much more corporate environment and was taken aback by the cool, laid-back exterior—snacks, bar, game room, decor and all.

Speaking In Code Part 4: Jessica Duggins on Automated Testing, the Impact of Electronic Trading and Tales from the Pits

Jessica Duggins (left), Director of Software Quality Engineering (SQE).

Welcome back to the final installment in our summer series on women in tech, “Speaking in Code.” If you haven’t been following, check out the series introduction, our first Q&A with engineering manager Diana Dumitru and our second Q&A with software engineer Allison Funk.

Today we are profiling TT’s Jessica Duggins. Jessica began her career in the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) pit in the late 1990s after graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a degree in philosophy. As the trading industry grew more technical, so did her skills, and she joined TT in 2005 as an associate level tester. She has since worked her way through the test engineering department and now serves as the director.

Agency Algos and You: A Conversation with Quantitative Brokers

All market participants have felt their margins tighten in the post-crisis regulatory squeeze. As the competition for liquidity from traditional providers has grown, agency algorithms have emerged as a remedy for the increasing inefficiencies and diminished liquidity in the fixed income markets. Not only do these sophisticated algos smartly work orders, but they also open the way for valuable transaction cost analysis.

Jonty Field, Head of EMEA, Quantitative Brokers

Quantitative Brokers (QB) is a leading provider of algorithms to the futures and fixed income markets, which will soon be available on the TT platform. We sat down with Jonty Field, Head of EMEA, to better understand QB’s unique approach to agency algorithms and what they have to offer users on TT.

TT: Let’s start at the beginning. How did QB get started?

Jonty: QB was founded in 2008 during the financial crisis. Robert Almgren and Christian Hauff, both at a large sell side institution at the time, realized that fixed income traders were lacking the quantitative execution and cost measurement tools that were so valuable in equity markets. It would have been difficult to build these tools within a large bank, because the challenge of providing everything to everyone coupled with the requirement that it be distributed across different desks and regions, resulted in numerous, complex obstacles.

GMEX’s CMF: A Novel Interest Rate Product

It’s been just over one week since Global Markets Exchange (GMEX) debuted. Connectivity was available at launch through X_TRADER®, and in fact the first trade on GMEX was executed between two X_TRADER users. We’re planning to offer access through the next-generation TT platform later this year.

GMEX has launched Euro-denominated IRS constant maturity futures (CMF) in response to demand from end users. These demands arose from changes in the European derivatives markets that were introduced under the European Markets and Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and the European Commission’s review of the MiFID II. These futures, positioned as alternatives to OTC interest rate swaps, allow end users to benefit from the capital and margin efficiencies of futures, which are more favorable than the higher margin requirements for cleared swaps.

Why trade GMEX’s constant maturity future?

The CMF is not a futurized swap; it is a futures contract based on a swap index, the constant maturity index (CMI). The CMI is designed to replicate daily changes in the plain vanilla interest rate swap market. As interest rates vary, the index will track these changes and replicate the IRS’s valuation changes for end users.

Develop DIY Algorithms—Safely

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Algorithmic Trading: The Play-at-Home Version” highlighting the growth of a new crop of DIY tools that allow retail traders to easily automate their trading strategies. The users quoted in the article expressed excitement about having the ability to quickly build and deploy their own strategies, but they lamented that unforeseen issues in their algorithms led to sizable losses.

Since 1994, TT has been building tools to allow professional derivatives traders to automate their strategies. It’s encouraging to see the DIY algo programming trend start to migrate to retail traders, but the potential for loss with some of these systems is a detriment. To that end, allow me to point out a few differences between our approach and the others.

ADL® (Algo Design Lab)

Our ADL visual programming platform represented a major breakthrough in algorithmic trading when it was first brought to market in 2009. Using drag-and-drop actions to assemble building blocks, traders and programmers alike can rapidly design, test and deploy automated trading strategies without writing a single line of code. With ADL, users can generate executable strategies in hours to seize and act on fleeting market opportunities in timeframes that were difficult or even impossible to achieve previously.

Speaking In Code Part 2: Diana Dumitru on Self-confidence, the Lure of Engineering and the Importance of Networking Groups


Diana Dumitru is a 15-year TT veteran who recently relocated from Chicago
to London to lead the expansion of TT’s engineering team into Europe.

Welcome back to “Speaking in Code,” our summer blog series focusing on challenges and opportunities for women in technology and spotlighting a few women here at Trading Technologies. If you missed my introduction to the series, you can read it here.

Our first profile is on Diana Dumitru, a 15-year TT veteran who currently works as an engineering manager. Diana was born in Timisoara, Romania and received a degree in theoretical physics in her home country before coming to the U.S. to pursue a master’s in computer science at Oklahoma State University. After starting as a junior programmer and working her way up through multiple positions at the company, she recently transferred to our London office, where she’s leading the development of our newly formed European engineering team.

The Power of Groups in a World of Widgets

Our Trade Talk blog has covered many diverse topics in recent weeks. But today it’s time to squeeze in a few words on new product functionality.

The primary focus of our new TT platform is simple: provide the best trading experience available anywhere. That’s an easy statement to make and sounds really nice, but it typically makes users roll their eyes. Why? Because delivering on that goal is extremely difficult.

But what about me?

As a trading system vendor, we deliver a set of functionality designed to meet the demands of a broad-based set of users, sometimes with very different needs. But there’s a dilemma in that product delivery model because the process of trading—and trading well—is a very personal endeavor. You want trading software that is customized to *your* style, not a bland, generic, cookie-cutter set of windows.

So how do we address that desire for custom-tailored software and be able to deliver it within a practical framework of commonly used functionality? Well, tucked within our new front end is a hidden gem called widget groups. The “secret” code to unlock this feature is easy to remember: “Control. Shift. Drag.” It’s that simple, but the end result is very effective.

The Growth of Italian Equity Derivatives: A Conversation with Borsa Italiana


Borsa Italiana’s Massimo Giorgini.

IDEM, the Italian Derivatives Market of Borsa Italiana, part of London Stock Exchange Group, is enjoying another strong year in terms of volume growth, making it one of the most interesting equity derivatives markets in Europe. Its flagship products—FTSE MIB index futures, mini-futures and options—are enjoying buoyant performance thanks to increasing interest from both sell-side and buy-side investors globally. Massimo Giorgini, Head of Business Development for Equity and Derivatives Markets at Borsa Italiana, took the time to talk with us about recent developments at IDEM.

TT: Let’s take it from the top. Massimo, can you talk a little bit about your line of business?

Massimo: Borsa Italiana has operated the IDEM market since November 1994, so we recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. IDEM is the leading global liquidity pool to access Italian equity derivatives, offering the full suite of Italian equity derivatives, including futures, mini-futures, options, weekly options on the FTSE MIB Index, plus the full range of Italian single stock options and futures—not only on Blue Chip symbols but also on some Mid Cap names. FTSE MIB index futures, mini-futures and options also can be bought and sold in the U.S. in accordance with the terms of the No-Action letters from the CFTC and SEC.

Negative Electricity Prices: Do We Get Paid for Turning on the Lights?


Source: KQED

Possibly, but rarely

The majority of financial market participants would agree on the dogma that commodity prices can never be zero or negative. However, it is not always true in the electricity markets. While zero or negative prices aren’t especially common, they do occur. This can create real chaos in many financial calculations. For example, for an asset with a negative price, dividing by the previous price will give an undefined or misleading result if prices are zero or negative.

The electricity market price—just like a price of any other commodity—is driven by the economics of supply and demand, which in turn are determined by several external factors such as climate conditions, seasonal factors or consumption behavior. To better understand the reasons for the negative prices, one needs to look further into the mechanics of the electricity generation process.