Expansion in the FX and fixed income markets will be key priorities for technology vendor Portware in the year ahead.
Speaking to The TRADE, Portware CEO Alfred Eskandar said 2014 saw a major uptick in the number of buy-side firms procuring multi-asset class execution management systems (EMS).
“The idea of the multi-asset EMS really took off last year and we went from a state where people were talking about multi-asset EMS to one where they are going out and buying them to make sure they can compete and are future proofed from a regulatory perspective,” he said.
To augment its multi-asset class capabilities, Portware has two major projects currently under way, with the first looking to offer some of its more advanced equity execution capabilities to FX traders.
With a release targeted for early March, the vendor will extend its smart trading assistant (STA) to the FX market.
“STA is a way to give the trader a virtual assistant, that can look at the full range of algorithms and venues and automatically manage them, while giving the trader all the information they need to intervene and control the trading process where necessary,” Eskadar explained.
The FX market has moved towards electronification rapidly in recent years and technology companies have been keen to attract buy-siders as a result of recent regulatory concerns surrounding the FX market.
“Much as has already happened in the equities world, we are seeing more trading in the FX market become self-directed by institutional investors,” Eskandar said, “Recent scandals have led the buy-side to rely less on brokers and want to take control of their trading, and so we’re designing FX tools that are specifically targeted at them.”
The other big project for Portware this year is to provide its clients with access to fixed income markets. Regulatory change that has driven banks away from fixed income and resulted in a plethora of new electronic trading platforms means buy-siders will be looking for solutions to enable them to tap available liquidity.
“In fixed income, the workflow is going to be crucial. We want to provide a full buy-side centric electronic workflow to enable institutions to trade across all these new venues, not simply design a screen,” added Eskandar.
The firm is already connected to many of the major market incumbents but said it will provide access to other venues as its clients demand it. While as many as 30 fixed income venues are live or poised to launch in the near future, Eskandar said he envisages eventually connecting to all viable markets.