IHS Markit Adds BidFX to MarkitSERV FX Post Trade Network

 MarkitSERV integrates with BidFX.

MarkitSERV integrates with BidFX.

LONDON (September 11, 2018) – IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a leading global provider of financial information services today announced that MarkitSERV will offer integration with BidFX, an industry leading execution management system (EMS) in the $5 trillion daily FX market, for straight through post-trade processing of FX trades, including FX spot, forwards, swaps and NDFs.

In working with BidFX and other FX trading venues on its network, MarkitSERV delivers a comprehensive, flexible STP solution for FX trading which includes a hosted service to disseminate trades from execution venues to clients’ internal trade capture and risk systems. The low latency service eliminates manual trade booking and provides real-time trade notification, position and P&L updates, confirmation of dealt trades, and enhanced operation and risk control.  BidFX and MarkitSERV clients benefit from integration between the services and resource-efficient onboarding, including minimal demands on their own IT resources.

“BidFX is a technology-driven company and integrating with them gives our customers post trade connectivity to this important marketplace,” said Chris Leaver, managing director and head of business development for FX at MarkitSERV. “With MarkitSERV, firms can be trading with any of the more than 80 FX venues on our network while benefiting from the robust and standardized STP solution we provide.” 

“Working with MarkitSERV expands our reach and brings a range of flexible post trade processing services to our clients. The current FX marketplace requires real time awareness of executions across various levels of trading desks including PMs, traders and compliance and risk teams,” said Scott Gold head of business development for BidFX. “Through this alliance, we are all able to deliver automated end-to-end STP solutions to all of our clients.”

Around 80 major FX ECNs, multi bank portals, aggregators and single dealer platforms connect to MarkitSERV to provide their customers with comprehensive post trade services.

BidFX is a TradingScreen company.  Cloud-based trading and workflow technology from BidFX provide sophisticated execution management, a suite of negotiation tools and a hub to algorithmic trading suites from all major banks.

 

About IHS Markit (www.ihsmarkit.com)

IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.

 IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2018 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

 

 

Internships at BidFX

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We weren’t sure what to expect initially from our internship with BidFX. As Computer Science students in our second year at Imperial College London we didn’t have any previous experience of foreign exchange or working in Fintech but that didn’t stop us working on some exciting problems over the past few months. From the very first day the atmosphere was very friendly. Everyone in the team introduced themselves and we had lots of support adjusting to the company’s development environment. 

They made sure we always had something to be working on. We started off by building a Slack Bot for the sales team who needed access to their client’s usage of the platform. The Slack Bot was named “Eve” as per the sales team’s request. Eve could receive user friendly queries from the sales team and respond by generating reports tailored to the query. Rigorous security measures had to be put in place as it was handling commercially sensitive data. This provided a great opportunity to learn more about networking and security in industry. 

Eve was also the first product to be deployed on the company’s cloud system using Kubernetes, so we also learned a great deal about containerized applications. This was a cool introductory project. It allowed us to understand the basics of FX trading and provided insight into how the business works. In addition, it was great to see the sales team using it and improving their productivity as a result. 

The next stage of the internship allowed us to voyage into the fray of FIX messages. Our new task was to fill a gap in the database of roughly three days of historical FX time series data from raw FIX logs and convert it to JSON format. This was very challenging. The BidFX platform ingests up to 3 billion price updates per day and all the liquidity providers use different FIX specifications. At first, we had no idea where to start. However, with some help from the team we managed to recover all the lost data. The experience gave us an even deeper understanding of the FX trading infrastructure, with a big focus on being able to work with FIX. It was also great to apply some of our knowledge from university to the project.

In the final stage of the internship, we joined a development team and helped migrate approximately 6 years of tick data to a new JSON format for upload into the cloud. It was terrific to work with a larger team by learning from their experiences and to contribute to essential projects for the company. 

One of the main highlights was the developer offsite day. We were given a private tour of the National Museum of Computing, a remarkable experience and a great showcase for how far Computer Science has come since its inception over 75 years ago. We also enjoyed a talk from our CTO about the future challenges and goals of the company in the years ahead.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We learned so much about FX trading and Software Development. The team were very friendly and were always happy to help us when we ran into issues. We would recommend any Computer Science students to do an internship at BidFX if they are interested in FinTech.

Ben Dixon and Matthew Robinson
Intern Developers

Project Management at BidFX

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BidFX offer the world’s best FX Execution Management System. Having been at BidFX for just over one month, my first impressions have been overwhelmingly positive. In my role as a project manager I have the luxury of getting to work with everyone in the company. While there are differences in what the various teams do, there is one thing they have in common; a sense of pride in their software and a belief that theirs is truly a leading execution management system. In many ways that makes my job significantly easier. When the people building the software are passionate about delivering robust high-quality code, it makes managing projects simpler, allowing me to focus on supporting the team, planning our future projects and delivering the current ones on time. It also provides reassurance, both internally and externally, that when new features are implemented they are well built, comprehensively tested and the team supporting them knows them inside out.

On the flipside when you have a sales team who are motivated by delivering the best for their clients including getting any improvements or changes turned around as quickly as possible, that presents a different challenge. There is a constant compromise between delivering strategic projects such as our forthcoming FX Options offering, and important tactical improvements specifically requested by clients. What I’ve been impressed with is BidFX’s ability to do both. 

That’s where I come in as a project manager/scrum master. My role is to keep things organised and support the developers so that they can deliver functionality for our clients on time and to a high standard. Another part of my job is discussing new requests from clients with the sales team. It can be challenging to balance the changing priorities and try to keep everyone happy! These challenges are one of the reasons I love my job, and BidFX have been nothing but welcoming. Having moved from a large retail bank to BidFX I’ve noticed how well everyone works together, the support internally is amazing and there is a real focus on training and development.  

Now that I’ve got my bearings and truly feel a part of the BidFX team, what’s next? Well for now, my focus is on delivering our FX Options project, supporting the development team who focus specifically on client requests and encouraging the newest members of our development team to work in an agile way. Following that I look forward to getting better insights into how our various client’s workflows map to the rich feature set of TradeSmart, kicking off a whole new set of projects and helping the team to continually improve their processes and practices. I look forward to playing my part in progressing the world’s best FX EMS.

Natalie Walker - Project Manager

Secret Dev Offsite

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Last week the BidFX dev team went on a mystery day trip. During the minibus journey towards a classified location, many guesses were made as to where we were heading, everything from London zoo, to some dilapidated fairground we passed. It took quite some time, and a bit of cheating with Google maps, before we realized Bletchley Park would be our final destination, leaving behind the busy streets of London for the top-secret home of Britain’s World War II codebreakers.

What followed was a tour of The National Museum of Computing, with a guide who helped illustrate in a very surreal way just how far we have come in 75 years of digital computing. The massive array of vacuum tubes that were used in the first generation of computers, weighing tons and yet being computationally tiny in comparison to modern machines, were marvels of human progress. The storage of the EDSAC comprised 1024x17-bit words of memory, crammed into a wooden box the size and shape of a coffin. Compared to my phone, that’s a hundred millions times less storage than something I can hold in the palm of my hand.  

Our museum tour guided us from the metal behemoths of first generation electronic computing, through the Cray-1S supercomputer, to the slightly off-white plastic laptops of the early 90s. The technological progress from valves to decatrons, through transistors and onto integrated circuits was impressive. The whole experience that at first felt like a quaint history lesson with a side of humour, began to feel more and more like a nostalgic trip through my own past. As the items we saw grew closer and closer to those I could remember from my earliest days as a technology obsessed youngster, I realised this was the sort of off-site excursion that knew the audience it was trying to please.

At the end of the tour and in a pleasant homage to the boom of personal computing, a sweep of 8-bit to 64-bit game demos, from Lemmings to Crash Bandicoot were on hands-on display. The team and I were quick to forget our day jobs as we focused on thrashing each other’s best arcade scores. I would say it was quite satisfying as a new hire to beat my more experienced colleague at Mario Kart 64, although he did come bang on last, and coming second to last never really does feel like much to boast about.

Following a spot of lunch was another tour, this time of the code breaking machinery used during the war. We viewed a recreation of a Bombe designed by Alan Turing to break Enigma and the mighty Colossus – the world’s first electronic computer – built by Tommy Flowers to break the ultra secret Lorenz ciphers of German high command. It was quite amazing to look upon these when you realize the significance they had on the war’s outcome, why Churchill praised their creators as “the geese that laid the golden eggs – but never cackled”, and the Germans being quite unaware of Bletchley Park’s ability to crack their most secure communications.

Next up was our turn at egg laying: the Colossus challenge. A manual code breaking race, using the same techniques as followed painstakingly by wartime code breakers. In teams we were given the task of breaking a Lorenz ciphertext, the plaintext of which formed a clue that would reveal the location of a keycode to some goodie filled chest. Still buzzing from the rush of video gaming, we respectfully let one of the other teams collect that prize.

Finally, we received a presentation from our CTO which covered not only our future project aims but also discussed a refocus of our approach towards development. This is when the relevance of our formerly secret location became clear: as a fintech firm, security is at the heart of everything we do. Other topics such as documentation, source code control, time management and the renewed focus on pair programming were discussed as effective methods of improving development practices. It seems to me having been in the firm for only a short time, that BidFX is a young company with a progressive view on development practice. The company is actively pursuing change provided it brings about better outcomes and is clearly focussed on developing secure and well documented software.

Overall the day felt well planned and it was enjoyable to observe the past foundations of a technological landscape that we at BidFX are now poised to build upon. I very much look forward to future trips of this kind and am excited by the reaffirmed vision this company has to deliver the cutting edge of fintech in the global FX market. It was also interesting to be reminded that, although our modern technology may be much smaller and faster than ever before, information security is just as essential today as it was in the 1940’s.

Frazer Bennett-Wilford – Developer

SGX rolls out new FX solution with innovative flexible features

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New SGX FlexC FX Futures offer market participants the ability to trade customisable foreign exchange (FX) futures in an over-the-counter (OTC) manner and clear the trades on SGX’s platform

Singapore Exchange (SGX), which operates Asia’s largest, most diverse and fastest growing FX exchange, today announced it will launch SGX FlexC FX Futures that aim to futurise OTC product offerings.


Targeted to be launched on 27 August 2018, SGX FlexC FX Futures – developed in consultation with market participants – enable bilateral trades that are privately negotiated with tailored expiration dates to be registered and cleared like a standard SGX FX futures contract. This innovative feature will be available for INR/USD, KRW/USD, TWD/USD, USD/CNH and USD/SGD contracts.


Michael Syn, Head of Derivatives, SGX said, “Access to counterparty credit, especially for tenors longer than spot, is increasingly scarce and expensive in the OTC FX markets. To encourage broader adoption of price risk management in Asian FX, SGX is proud to announce the innovative FlexC FX Futures. We have worked with market participants to bring the efficiencies of futures market infrastructure into Asian FX. FlexC FX offers futurised client-clearing, bringing the surety of SGX’s market-leading central counterparty clearing house (CCP) to existing bilateral credit relationships, and expanding opportunities for improved Asian FX price discovery and risk management workflow.”

In today’s complex trading environment, SGX FlexC FX Futures aim to help streamline the regulatory obligations faced by market participants. With FX markets moving towards central clearing, this new feature will offer an effective way of enhancing operational efficiencies, lowering costs and counterparty credit risk, and keeping bilateral trading relationships at the same time.

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Jean-Philippe Male, CEO, BidFX, said,“BidFX is always very happy to work on innovative solutions that address today’s complex trading and post-trade environment. We are delighted to support this initiative with SGX which will help enhance our clients operational capabilities as well as provide alternatives to a pure OTC trading workflow.”


Ayal Jedeikin, Co-Founder and CMO, TradAir, added, “We are excited to participate in this new SGX initiative. TradAir has been a pioneer of trading software for regional banks and Inter-Dealer Brokers for emerging currencies since its inception. We see great potential in utilising SGX FlexC FX Futures solution to remove existing frictions in the OTC FX markets for currency pairs associated with INR, KRW, TWD, CNH and SGX so that market participants can continue to enjoy an unparalleled level of growth as experienced in the past few years.”

Singapore Exchange Limited
Company Reg No. 199904940D
2 Shenton Way, #02-02 SGX Centre 1, Singapore 068804
main: +65 6236 8888 fax: +65 6535 6994
sgx.com

BidFX Completes Integration with Orchestrade Financial Systems to Offer Clients Full eFX

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LONDON -- June 21, 2018 -- BidFX, the industry leading EMS designed for the $5 Trillion daily FX market, today announced full integration with Orchestrade’s core portfolio management and risk system.

Clients’ ranging from asset managers to hedge funds can now benefit from this integration which results in seamless communication and connectivity between BidFX’s Execution Management System (EMS) and Orchestrade’s Portfolio Management Service (PMS). 

“We are very happy to announce our strategic integration with Orchestrade, one of the leading cross-asset portfolio management platforms in the marketplace today. At BidFX we are continually driven by our clients’ needs and desire to sit at the forefront of eFX trading and workflow. This partnership enables BidFX clients to quickly deploy a true end-to-end FX solution,” said Jean-Philippe Male, BidFX Chief Executive Officer.

“Our mission is to provide the fastest time and value to market in the capital market industry by offering a scalable platform that is pre-configured with major market standard data and services providers such as BidFX,” states Gordon Chan, Orchestrade Vice President Marketing.

Orchestrade is the only institutional-grade cross-asset capital market platform launched after the financial crisis. It is designed to dramatically reduce IT dependency during implementation and operation by delivering a native cross-asset end-to-end solution that is connected to the broader capital market ecosystem out of the box.

BidFX and its parent company TradingScreen (TS) actively engages with firms on strong and effective partnerships to help enhance buy-side’s trading workflow and provide innovative solutions that empower our clients. 
 

About BidFx
BidFX is a TradingScreen (TS) company and the leading provider of electronic trading solutions for the global financial marketplace. BidFX clients have access to cutting edge execution management, encompassing a complete suite of negotiation tools and a hub to all major banks Algo suites. BidFX fulfills the ideal as the one truly multi-asset, broker-neutral EMS in the marketplace today. For more information visit: www.bidfx.com.

About Orchestrade Financial Systems
Founded in 2009, Orchestrade Financial Systems delivers the most modern technology for cross asset, front-to-back trading and risk management. Its award-winning capital markets platform has been implemented by leading financial institutions in North America, Europe and Asia. Orchestrade is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Paris, London and New York.

Press Contacts

BidFX

john.mcgrath@bidfx.com

Orchestrade
saam.hemsley@orchestrade.com

Building APIs as a Graduate Developer

When I graduated from Cambridge I was looking forward to putting my computer science education to good use in the hi-tech world of finance. So when I was given the job of building a plugin for Microsoft Excel as one of my first real-world tasks as a graduate developer, when other developers were working on greenfield cloud technologies, my enthusiasm couldn’t be described as off the charts. It can be hard to get excited about spreadsheets, especially if your most recent experience was to keep track of what scores you needed in each exam to get the grade you want.

 

I wasn’t surprised to discover that traders and quants love dabbling with Excel, but what I didn’t know was that Excel can work with real time market data, giving users freedom to quickly experiment and prototype new ideas. Subsequently, it didn’t take me long to realise that this wouldn’t be a project spent solely with Excel and VBA. Through the project, I’ve used multiple programming languages, built REST APIs, .NET libraries, Windows Installers, worked on our core trading systems and even visited clients.

 

Coming from a Java background, the first challenge was to learn C# in order to build the libraries to connect to the BidFX price feeds and the Real-Time Data (RTD) server that communicates with Excel. It turns out that C# is pretty easy for a Java developer to pick up. There is a lot of commonality between the two languages. Next came building the interface with Excel using VBA, of which I’d had about 4 hours experience with ten years ago. Fortunately, very little BASIC coding is required beyond simple plumbing. Finally, I needed to package everything into an installer that would enable the add-in and register the libraries with Windows. That involved learning to use InnoSetup, integrating it with Excel, and an exhausting amount of QA testing.

 

So I finally got streaming/RFS pricing working in an Excel add-in that could be delivered in a single executable, and produced a C# library that can be used by clients if they wish to build their own .NET applications. It was then time to swap my jeans and T-shirt for a suit and tie and present a demo for a major hedge fund client.

 

 Liam Asman  Graduate Developer

Liam Asman

Graduate Developer

The next feature on the board was the ability to register orders via Excel. With clients asking for the ability to trade via REST, we built a new RESTful service for FX along with the team from TradingScreen who built equivalent components for Equities, Futures, and Options. I then implemented the REST API calls with within our C# library and exposed them as Excel functions, enabling the staging of FX limit and market orders through Excel. Staged orders can be auto-routed to the BidFX Strategy server for best execution with the most competitive LP and are automatically displayed in the user’s TradeSmart™ GUI.

 

The team at BidFX were in constant communication with our clients, ensuring that the REST API had the capabilities they required, and using feedback to focus on the next features to implement. The demand for the APIs has been fantastic – with clients around the world installing the plugin.

 

One client had a need to get FX Swap pricing via a request-for-quote (RFQ) workflow. Supporting this functionality through the APIs required upgrades to our core pricing infrastructure, so I got to re-hone my Java skills for a while.

 

Through all this, we’ve created a .NET library that can handle hundreds of price subscriptions in real time, a REST API for order management, and an Excel plugin that leverages both to enable users familiar with Excel to interface with BidFX in an intuitive manner. I also learnt a lot about FX along the way. The work doesn’t end there though. My colleagues and I will continue to extend and improve our APIs to allow clients to get even more hands-on with their data. It turns out that Excel can be interesting after all.

BidFX Ahead of the Curve in Low Touch Trading

At BidFX we like to stay one step ahead and that’s why we have delivered on the automation needs of our buy-side clients. While the bank sector is also beginning to integrate this strategy, it is undeniable that the buy-side community is now actively driving the agenda with tech savvy firms like BidFX to have automation support their trading desks.

 

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is about the various ways to automate FX execution and workflow. This is a hot topic as the buy-side community is looking to automation to assist in removing human error, increase trading speeds, minimize costs and allow traders to focus their attention on more illiquid currencies.

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Hadley Yost 

 

Director, Sales 

 

For these reasons, it is a trend BidFX has seen coming and is actively providing solutions for. Well versed in the needs of this community, we have received tremendous feedback from users on the many ways we streamline the process of increasing automation on their FX trading. Our offerings including Rules Based Trading, a robust Algo Hub, Gamma Trading and additional bespoke solutions, help our clients to achieve their goals when looking to automate FX flow. Our goal for these tools has been to provide our clients with the flexibility to step away from button clicking and an ability to see their strategies from a new vantage point. Clearly our goals and the goals of our clients are aligned because the number of traders actively using our automation tools has more than doubled since 2017. As the year progresses, we are seeing this trend continue and look forward to supporting it through our innovative offerings.

BidFX Feature Article in FXAlgoNews May 2018

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BidFX - offering algo access and class leading toolsets to help clients manage their trading flows

TradingScreen company BidFX is a leading provider of electronic trading solutions for the global financial marketplace. The firm is addressing many of the challenges of the FX market head on with a complete suite of negotiation protocols which include Autorouting, Streaming, RFS, Voice and Algos. John McGrath, Chief Revenue Officer of BidFX talks to FXAlgoNews to tell us more about its platform and electronic trading solutions and how they are meeting increasing demand from clients in a post MiFID II world.

John, what prompted TradingScreen to establish BidFX as a dedicated and focused business line for e-FX?

Offering a truly multi-asset class EMS from a single screen and a single connection whilst leveraging the same SaaS infrastructure, has always been a key selling point for TS, but the establishment of BidFX as a dedicated and focused business line for eFX has enabled it to build out the product more quickly and more efficiently.  This in turn has enabled us to compete more effectively against the longer established and more entrenched FX specific multi-bank platforms. We moved into our own office space in London in March 2017 and now have dedicated development and business personnel in our other offices all around the globe.

The growth of BidFX’s business in terms of both new client acquisition and average daily volume, already demonstrates the decision.  This is obviously great news for BidFX but also for TS as a whole as it strengthens the overall EMS value proposition. More and more of our multi-asset class pitches demand a best-of-breed FX solution which is competitive compared to the historically dominant incumbents.  As a result, we are increasingly winning new mandates and are able to capitalise on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities where a buy side has initially started on the FX only or the Listed only side.

 We ensure any new algos can be onboarded as quickly as possible

We ensure any new algos can be onboarded as quickly as possible

FX remains a relationship driven business for most market participants. How has that influenced the way BidFX has been designed?

BidFX has evolved with clients, and their relationship driven business is at the forefront of design. We are aware that for most clients their choice of FX EMS is there to enhance the workflow and provide an evolution of this model which has, for the most part compared to other asset classes, led to a well-functioning and efficient market. It’s this functional and efficient market we look to enhance with BidFX’s capabilities.
Please tell us a little more about BidFX's client driven model and how it helps to create an environment that can facilitate best execution?

BidFX is all about our clients. Our clients are all market participants – liquidity consumers and providers. In the past year best execution has been one of the driving factors behind the adoption of BidFX as many clients choice of EMS or platform.

In what ways do you think the overall EMS value proposition has strengthened recently?

There is no doubt that regulatory changes and increased awareness of FX workflow and its place within a multi - asset firm strategy has led to a lot of clients either reviewing current FX and EMS propositions or embarking on an RFP in order to move from traditional older style FX only platforms to multi- asset EMS or dedicated FX EMS. BidFX’s recent growth has been exponential in terms of volumes and clients and is driven by innovative solutions delivered to an increasingly complex eFX market. No two clients are the same anymore and the BidFX technology framework and infrastructure must have the flexibility to deliver enhancements that help clients innovate as well as being technically robust enough to disseminate billions of price ticks per day. 

BidFX offers a truly multi-asset class EMS. In what ways can you assist clients to access a wider range of industry leading FX algorithms than many of your competitors?

The evolution within the eFX market in conjunction with the increased regulatory framework has led to many of our clients looking for more sophisticated execution mechanisms. As part of this we have been working with our Liquidity Providers to provide an Algo Hub service to clients which encapsulates a complete range of LPs and strategies with no development and infrastructure costs. As well as a Best of Breed Algo Hub we work closely with our Algo providers to ensure any new Algos can be onboarded as quickly as possible in line with client demand. 

What in-depth analysis of trading performance can you provide and what are buyside firms especially looking for in terms of analytics to inform the FX execution process and post trade TCA?

Clients can use our pre-canned TCA or unique tick by tick database in order to build an extremely powerful decision-making product, pre-intra-post trade, which can be combined with cutting edge execution capabilities to offer a powerful analytical and trade execution solution. We have seen a lot of investment into this area at BidFX and will continue to invest and innovate to meet client demand.

 Clients are looking for more sophisticated execution mechanisms

Clients are looking for more sophisticated execution mechanisms

Broker randomisation tools, better known as algo wheels have now arrived to give traders the ability to assess, monitor and justify algo and broker choices to regulators. Do you expect to see more use made of algo wheels and other multi-broker allocation processes in FX?

A lot of our clients are tier 1 multi - asset institutional accounts who are either already familiar with the algo wheel concept or are market leading in their approach to regulatory and market oversight requirements. Many of them have already implemented stricter governance and testing around the policies of algo selection and it’s important the client selects the right algo provider and algorithm based on a number of factors. To do this you need a tech provider who can react to developments such as these and deliver solutions back to the client for them to implement. Our multi- asset EMS approach allows us an advantage to roll this feature out across several asset classes.

What impact are regulatory developments and MiFID II in particular likely to have on shaping future demand for solutions from BidFX including increased algorithmic trading access?

MiFID II was a catalyst for many firms in Europe through 2017 to take a fresh look at their FX workflow and how they react to the upcoming regulatory landscape with their current FX provider. We saw a substantial increase in large buyside approaching BidFX to discuss transparency and best execution, and many saw MiFID II as a catalyst for implementing a more future proof eFX policy in order to protect themselves over more traditional platforms concentrating on revenue protection. One of the added benefits of BidFX is that it has been developed, and continues to develop, with the best market leading technology possible for the current environment. Clients can use our TCA product or/and our tick by tick database in order to build an extremely powerful decision-making product which can be combined with cutting edge execution capabilities of which our Algo hub is part of the solution.

@womenoffintech turns blue this week

this week we celebrate the men in the industry who support equality

  • First published on February 12, 2018 by Gemma Young
  • Follow the campaign on Instagram and Twitter @womenoffintech

  Our first feature is John McGrath, Chief Revenue Officer at BidFX.

@womenoffintech: What does equality mean to you?
John: To me means equality is a simple concept and should be a natural state of play in society, both as a whole or within a workplace. It should give all people the same rights and opportunities as well as the same standing throughout all facets of life regardless of age, gender, race and/or religion.
@womenoffintech: Do you think equality is something that needs to be proactively enforced or something that will naturally happen over time?
 John: I think this is a very good question and my view is that as long as each and every person employs the correct attitudes and treats everyone on an equal footing it should naturally balance out over time. Unfortunately this has not happened as quickly as it should have in society so I do believe that governments and employers should take positive action where gross imbalances exist.
@womenoffintech: What do you think has held companies back from having a more diverse workforce, in terms of gender, before now?
  John: Any employer who creates an unequal playing field in the workforce is really missing a competitive trick. By creating or re-enforcing institutionalised inequality in the workforce they negatively impact their company’s performance by restricting their creative reach to a reduced subset of the workforce. At BidFX we strive hard to bring in people with the best ideas and potential – when these people achieve their potential we all benefit, both our employees and our clients.  

 

@womenoffintech: Have you seen much change in the gender landscape of Finance / FinTech over the years?
 John: Unfortunately the landscape has not changed as much as it should have in the past 20 years. It is still a pre-dominantly male based workforce within Financial services and Fintech but I do believe that change is beginning to pick up pace. Within BidFX we hire the smartest people for the role. Over the past year I believe 80% of our BidFX new hires across development, project management, and sales were female. This was because they were the best candidates and brought the best ideas and experience to the table.
@womenoffintech: What are your reasons for supporting equality?
 John: There are 2 reasons we are highly supportive of equality in the workspace.
1) In purely economic terms it gives us a competitive advantage
2) It is important for Fintech firms such as ours to lead by example in this industry.
Our increase in market share through 2017 and the start of 2018 shows that even in pure economic terms having a diverse workplace generates a more vibrant pool of idea generation. Innovation is key in our industry and equality benefits this approach.
 @womenoffintech: There is a lot of talk about equality, but what do we need to actually DO in order to put words into action?
 John: The recent press in the City shows the scale of the challenge in some sectors. I think that every individual must ensure that opportunities in the workforce are open and equal to all. If we all act individually it should affect society as whole over time.
@womenoffintech: Have you made any changes at your workplace to promote equality? If so, to what success?
  John: BidFX has been the most diverse and equal workplace I have worked at. Upon joining it was a breath of fresh air to see the diversity of the workforce and the ideas being generated. I immediately saw the benefits of being at a new Fintech firm with a vibrant culture and workforce and we will continue this model as it ultimately benefits our clients (through product development) and our employees (through sales and increased market share). 
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BidFX Chief Revenue Officer John McGrath discusses Equality with Gemma Young.

Cooperative Cohabitation: BidFX and TS, Europe

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It’s now 18 months since BidFX established itself as a dedicated business line under the TS umbrella culminating in a move to its own office space in London in March 2017 and dedicated development and business personnel in our other offices all around the globe.

The growth of BidFX’s business in terms both of new client acquisition and average daily volume, already demonstrates that it’s paying off.  This is obviously great news for BidFX but also for TS as a whole as it strengthens the overall EMS value proposition.

Offering a truly multi-asset class EMS from a single screen and a single connection whilst leveraging the same SaaS  infrastructure, has always been a key selling point for TS, but the establishment of BidFX as a dedicated and focused business line for eFX has enabled it to build out the product more quickly and more efficiently.  This in turn has enabled us to compete more effectively against the longer established and more entrenched FX specific multi-bank platforms.

TS clearly is reaping the benefit of this acceleration in the growth of BidFX’s business as more and more of our multi-asset class pitches demand a best-of-breed FX solution which is functionally competitive compared to the historically dominant incumbents.  As a result, we are increasingly winning new mandates together and equally are able to capitalise on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities where a buy side has initially started on the FX only or on the Listed only side. 

As an example of this inherent synergy here in Europe, we have recently certified with a fast emerging hedge fund PMS on the back of winning an initially FX only client which further down the line plans to branch out on TS to Futures. This also paves the way to marketing our multi-asset class solutions to other hedge fund clients using this PMS.   Another very pertinent example of the benefits of this BidFX-TS sales cooperation and co-marketing approach has been the acquisition of a global, multi-site, multi-strat hedge fund.   Having initially selected a rival EMS over the summer of 2017, with which they targeted a very aggressive implementation timeframe which didn’t materialise, they came back to us on the strength of our SaaS powered rapid deployment capability and are already in onboarding mode.

To conclude on another positive note, our credibility as an FX player in its own right was a major driver for the already well-documented and strategically important OMS alliance, we signed in September 2017.  Once again, there is a very powerful complementarity between a BidFX only opportunity leading to a broader, Listed opportunity as the buy side looks simultaneously to meet its best execution obligations and to normalise its execution access across the asset classes. 

Jean-Philippe Male

CEO

 

BidFX Liquidity Offering Keeps Growing, Adds XTX Markets

BidFX welcomes XTX Markets; newest liquidity provider on the FX platform

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BidFX, an industry leading EMS designed for the 5 trillion daily FX market, is pleased to announce that XTX Markets, the world’s second largest electronic trader in spot FX, has joined BidFX as their newest liquidity provider.

BidFX CRO, John McGrath, commented, “We are thrilled to have market leading liquidity provider XTX Markets go live on the BidFX platform.  The BidFX client driven model seeks to develop and foster an unfettered environment for best execution, the addition of XTX Markets to our liquidity provider pool solidly reinforces this model.“

XTX Markets is now the world’s second largest electronic trader in spot FX. Whilst a top 3 player in majors, they also specialise in less liquid currencies such as ZAR, TRY, RUB, MXN, SEK, NOK, SGD and precious metals. XTX focuses on supplying liquidity to funds and asset managers and earlier this year launched Zero Hold Time liquidity, becoming one of the first LPs to publicly commit to not using a last look window for its disclosed business. XTX’s approach ties in nicely with BidFX’s multi-asset class approach and is characterised by incorporating cross-asset information from its equity, commodity and futures businesses which gives it uncorrelated FX skews.

About BidFX

BidFX is a TS company - the market leading provider of electronic trading solutions for the global financial marketplace. For more information visit: www.bidfx.com

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The Liquidity Game

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I remember having a crisis of confidence way back when it was not fashionable to do so.

I was working as an Interdealer Broker and I was wondering what the point of my job was? What did we do for the markets to pay us so handsomely? One of my colleagues turned round to me and said “We create liquidity and the whole market revolves around liquidity”. It was undeniably true: By talking, cajoling, inflating, fabricating, wining, dining, entertaining and probably begging and praying (preying?) too, the proud team at “Stuffem and Leggit” got people to do things that would not otherwise have happened! Yes, it was the late 80s or perhaps the early 90s.

Somehow that conversation has stuck with me. Today, the markets are so much better organised and regulated. E-Trading has come along and transparency has shone its healing light on everything it touches. …Or has it? 

So what has really happened? The first thing that strikes me is that my current line of work is pretty much the same as my old broking one. In the end I am still asking people to deal on a set of prices. The key difference is that they are now much more transparent and being delivered electronically. In so doing BidFX, whilst integrating and accommodating the most complicated of workflows and client demands, ends up offering an extensive choice of e-FX prices to the discerning FX trader, just as I used to do as a broker. Though today ‘best execution’ has replaced ‘best entertainment’ as the main reason most people trade with me. But am I still creating Liquidity? I think the answer to that is most probably a no:  Activity, yes but true Liquidity no.

Banks used to create liquidity through their traders who, in managing the house risk, were given generous limits with which to take positions in the market. Today, where we have not legislated that away, it’s much, much, much, smaller than it used to be. Everyone has now set themselves up to pass the buck to someone else in increasingly smaller time differentials. Trade volumes go up and liquidity appears to be everywhere but in reality it’s just churning around faster and will probably prove not to be there at all in a crisis.

So who is going to create liquidity when the next Financial market crunch comes along? There is clearly a market-making vacuum building up. We all know markets abhor a vacuum, so who or what is going to jump in and fill the void? Erm… we’ve legislated away most of those evil bankers taking risks haven’t we? Doesn’t Liquidity just occur thanks to the divine presence of e?!

Despite the claims of some ECNs, for most players FX remains a relationship driven business. BidFX has been designed with respect to that relationship, it should be thought of as a tool through which Banks deliver on their relationship commitments. Given the wider nature of banking, the speed of the FX markets, tiny spreads, huge sizes and associated risks, it is hard to imagine this relationship element really changing amongst professionals. It is therefore unlikely that the value provided by Bank sales desks to their customers will change. In fact, as speed and risk goes up, it can be argued that the value of strong relationships increase. However that does not necessarily mean that the bank should also be taking market making risks.  

It seems that there is now a market opportunity for some entity to take on some risk. The entity concerned should have access to large amounts of money, understand the nature of risk, be prepared to put their money where their mouth is and have access to good credit lines. Sound familiar? Is this a hedge fund I see before me? Well, sit back and watch the rise and rise of non-bank liquidity and their associated Prime Brokers. Some people may see this as a threat but I think not: Bank traders manage their respective houses risk, the more that they are restricted from taking on risk the more external liquidity they need. That in turn means that new sources of genuine liquidity should be welcomed.

Why? Because in the end the old broker was right “the whole market revolves around liquidity”.

Alan Dweck
Head of Sales: Asia

alan.dweck@bidfx.com +65 6499 9808

BidFX welcomes Investec Bank PLC

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BidFX welcomes Investec Bank PLC; newest liquidity provider on the FX platform

BidFX CRO John McGrath commented ‘We welcome Investec Bank to the BidFX platform. The addition of Investec’s liquidity and pricing will provide BidFX clients greater liquidity and pricing selection for best execution. We are extremely pleased with the immediate response the industry has shown BidFX.  Our impressive ADV growth is a direct correlation to our expanding liquidity provider pool.”

Demitri Theodosiou, Head of FX Trading at Investec Bank PLC commented ‘We are excited to be working with a fast growing platform such as BidFX. Investec hold a niche in the market that gives us an interesting profile in the electronic FX space, particularly in GBP based liquidity and emerging market currencies such as ZAR. We offer competitive pricing through economies of scale and credit reach and look forward to bringing our unique edge to the BidFX client base.”

BidFX, a subsidiary of TradingScreen, is an EMS designed for the $5 trillion daily FX market.  The platform matches the proven SaaS based technology from TradeSmart with the ability to connect to all liquidity provided by Banks, non-Banks and ECNs. BidFX has seen rapid growth in 2017 as it redefines the eFX space.

 

 BidFX CRO John McGrath

BidFX CRO John McGrath

BidFX sponsors Community Youth Football Team

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BidFX is happy to announce its sponsorship of the Community Youth Football Team currently competing in the Tandridge football league.

Chief Revenue Officer John McGrath commented ‘BidFX is proud to be part of the communities we live in and to give something back to these communities where possible. It’s very easy in the Financial Markets to chase profits and forget about some of the other projects that we can influence which have a genuine ethical feel to them. The principles we run BidFX on in terms of integrity and work ethic we think are important to foster in the youth of today who are too easily distracted away from a healthy lifestyle. By sponsoring kit and providing free coaching for the next few years we hope to foster a spirit and team ethic that will serve the community well and help these players, and many more in the years to come, develop as individuals’.

 Chief Revenue Officer John McGrath discusses BidFX community sponsorship.

Chief Revenue Officer John McGrath discusses BidFX community sponsorship.

Since sponsoring the team 5 of the players were recently selected for District Trials with 1 player successfully selected for the District A Team.

 

 

For more information on BidFX and how it’s driving the eFX market in innovation and functionality in the institutional space please feel free to contact john.mcgrath@bidfx.com

 

 

BidFX Commits to FX Global Code of Conduct

London, October 3rd, 2017 BidFX, a rapidly growing eFX platform, today announced its support and statement of commitment to the Global Code of Conduct.

The Global Code’s purpose is to promote a robust, fair, liquid, open, and appropriately transparent market.

Since the code’s initiation earlier this year, BidFX has focused on aligning its practices to meet and adhere to the requirements. BidFX is proud to announce they have formally committed to the code, making them one of the early adopters in the industry.

BidFX CEO, Jean-Phillipe Male commented, “BidFX was built to create more transparency in the FX markets, understanding it is a direct driver for optimized trading performance. We fully support the Global Code and any initiative with the intention to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of the FX market.”

 BidFX CEO Jean-Phillipe Male

BidFX CEO Jean-Phillipe Male

 

Through our role as a foreign exchange market vendor, BidFX supports the Code in the following ways:

Risk Management & Compliance: Our data integrity code already meets the best selection and TCA standards

Confirmation & Settlement: With best of breed partnerships and proprietary OMS’ integrations, BidFX enables seamless order staging and real-time straight through processing.

Ethics: BidFX prides itself on working honestly and fairly with all its clients, while remaining consistent and transparent in work practices.

To learn more about how the BidFX platform can benefit your organisation, please contact sales@bidfx.com or visit www.bidfx.com to schedule a demo.

About BidFX

BidFX is a TS company - the market leading provider of electronic trading solutions for the global financial marketplace.

BidFX has addressed challenges of the FX market head on by introducing a complete suite of negotiation protocols which include Autorouting, Streaming, RFS, Voice and Algos via a cloud- based FX solution incorporating best-execution. Clients have access to cutting edge execution management, encompassing a complete suite of negotiation tools and a hub to all major banks Algo suites. Our TCA solution features Pre-Trade predictive models, In-Trade benchmarking and Post-Trade synopses. BidFX fulfills the ideal as the one truly multi-asset, broker-neutral EMS in the marketplace today.  For more information visit: www.bidfx.com

BidFX doubles in size

Volumes on TradingScreen’s newly spun-off FX platform have already doubled in size, even as parts of the market have contracted over the same time.

After five years’ operating as a division of TradingScreen, BidFX has emerged as a standalone business focused on delivering a workflow solution for FX.

According to CEO Jean-Philippe Malé, this has opened up opportunities to partner up with new players operating on more advanced technology platforms and with more aggressive business models.

One of the most important aspects in which BidFX’s offering differs from that of other FX platforms is that it sits within a multi-asset class trading system, he says. 

“As well as operating as a software-as-a-service solution – which makes it easy for our clients to use and deploy – we offer customizations such as the flexibility to manage large orders and trade them by using different trading protocols, custom system enhancements and the ability for clients to script their own flow automation logic on top of relationship liquidity or bank algos.”

Malé says more than a dozen clients have been onboarded and that platform adoption and volumes have doubled since the start of this year. “This is especially impressive considering certain segments of the market experienced a contraction over the same period,” he says. “We expect to double in size again over the next 12 months.”

TradingScreen has announced a number of technology partnerships over the last 12 months. When asked how these partnerships have improved its FX offering through its order/execution management system (OEMS), Tradesmart, Malé observes that the front office tie-up with SimCorp is an example of how the company is adding value for the buy side.

“By combining our respective expertise and products in the order and execution management system space, we can deliver cross asset coverage to the global buy side in one workflow management system for use across the entire investment and trading lifecycle,” he says. “Other partnerships – such as the addition of a new liquidity pool or algo provider – help us enrich the liquidity available to our clients and help them obtain better execution for their investors.”

'Sandbox' environment

BidFX is also encouraging more trading activity on its platform by developing a ‘sandbox’ environment. Malé explains that this was developed as a delivery model.

“Our clients’ trading systems are all different and they need a way to test and certify how their internal systems will interface with the rest of the market,” he says. “We wanted to offer our customers an easy way to get a very accurate view of how the system will look and behave when they decide to promote to a live trading environment.” 

Another advantage of the software as a service (SaaS) approach is that it enables the company to take advantage of agile development techniques to speed up the product development process.

A project to create a new product or service typically starts with a research phase, which lasts between one and two months depending on the complexity of the problem, says Malé. “We then hold a series of customer and prospect workshops to present the prototype. The final design is published to the group, which starts designing the technical architecture and estimating the cost of the project.”

Joe Ahearn, co-founder of TradingScreen has previously stated that in many cases banks have curtailed enhancements to single dealer platforms, suggesting that clients are demanding workflow solutions that integrate their start-of-day, intra-day and end-of-day activities and that the limitation of most single dealer platforms is that they are restricted to a single asset class.

Malé observes that BidFX is vendor neutral. “Our clients are on both the buy side and sell side and we don’t feel it is our role to dictate what our customers should use and access to obtain liquidity,” he concludes. “We remain committed to providing an open system.” 

 

 BidFX stand was jam packed at Tradetech FX Barcelona 2017

BidFX stand was jam packed at Tradetech FX Barcelona 2017

BidFX 2018 graduate training programme

Photo by Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media / Getty Images

It is that time of year again. Summer is over, the tree leaves are turning colour and students have started back at university. I drove my son to Bath University this weekend in time for his freshers week. Seeing all those young expectant faces, moving their gear in to their halls of residence, reminded me that some of the students will be embarking on their final year of studies. Their minds will soon be turning to exams and the need to graduate with good class honours. The better organised amongst them will also be considering at this time their life after college. The need to find work and to kick start their career. The milk-rounds will soon be upon them. So now is the time to start looking for graduate jobs in 2018.

Few, if any, students see their final university year as the end of their education. For most, their graduation marks only the transition from building up student debt to being able to start paying it off again. They expect their education to continue post graduation and so look for employers that provide ongoing training and support.

At BidFX we recognise not only the need to recruit top graduates but also the need to train and mentor them. To that end, BidFX are pleased to announce the opening of our 2018 IT graduate training programme. We will start accepting applications this week from IT graduates, from the top universities, who wish to join our training programme starting late summer 2018.

For more details see our careers page.