TradeTech update: GH Financials, BT, Etrali and more…

GH Financials partners with Orc for options technology Clearing and settlement services provider GH Financials is expanding its business into options clearing using technology from Orc. The deal will enable GH Financials’ clients to access markets with low latency and European Securities and Markets A

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GH Financials partners with Orc for options technology

Clearing and settlement services provider GH Financials is expanding its business into options clearing using technology from Orc.

The deal will enable GH Financials’ clients to access markets with low latency and European Securities and Markets Authority compliance. Orc’s solution also offers advanced pre-trade risk management tools.

Steve Martin, COO of GH Financials, said: “Orc’s ability to deliver their comprehensive solution as a managed service and an unparalleled combination of risk and compliance, market access and execution capabilities were the key factors for our selection. We are also impressed by Orc’s roadmap, which confirms that their long term view is aligned with our strategic intentions.”

GH plans to move into the options market by tailoring its buy- and sell-side offering to assisting high-frequency derivatives trading.

Orc’s solution is planned to be deployed in Q2 2014 and will also accommodate GH Financials’ growth into Asia, where it recently opened a Hong Kong office.

SmartTrade wins spread-betting client

Financial spread-betting and trading firm CMC Markets is to use smartTrade Technologies’ LiquidityFX cloud-based solution for trading FX and precious metals.

According to smartTrade, CMC Markets’ traders will be able to trade in a fully disclosed bilateral manner through the LiquidityFX API or UI, with a range of passive or aggressive order types.

“We have seen tighter spreads and improved fill ratios thanks to the no brokerage fee model offered by smartTrade and the benefit of being cross-connected to our liquidity providers,” said Greg Niebank, Group Head of Product at CMC Markets.

LiquidityFX is a trading system for spot FX, swaps, non-deliverable forwards and precious metals. The platform offers aggregation, smart order routing, and order and risk management functionality and charges users no volume-based fees. SmartTrade provides liquidity management systems used by banks to develop multi-asset trading platforms and provides connectivity to more than 40 liquidity providers.

Founded in 1989, CMC is a provider of financial spread-betting, contracts for difference and FX trading services, with offices across Europe and Asia.

Macquarie’s Delaware sets sail on Charles River

Deleware Investments, a US-based global asset management firm with US$185 billion in assets under management, has gone live on the private cloud-based Charles River Investment Management Solution for portfolio management and trading equity assets, and compliance monitoring for all equity and fixed income asset classes across the firm.

A subsidiary of Australian financial services provider Macquarie Group, Delaware Investments is also using Charles River's broker-neutral FIX Network and administration. Following an eight-month implementation, the system supports Delaware Investments users in multiple offices on a single platform. 

“Charles River has simplified our workflows, increased productivity for portfolio and compliance officers, and allows our traders to react more quickly to market opportunities," said Philip Russo, chief administrative officer, Delaware Investments. 

EuroCCP consolidation complete

The consolidation of pan-European equities-focused clearing houses EuroCCP and EMCF has been completed, the merged entity – EuroCCP NV – has announced. The merger creates Europe’s largest cash equities central counterparty (CCP). 

The consolidation of 20 clearing participants and six trading platforms – Equiduct, GetMatched, NYSE Arca, Smartpool, Sigma X and UBS MTF – took place over seven weeks.

EuroCCP said the merger had provided clearing participants with overall annual savings in excess of €10 million through reduced settlement costs, volume discounts on clearing fees and elimination of one set of connectivity and interoperability costs. 

 “We are clearing for 16 trading platforms; this reach makes a positive difference to our clients’ clearing related costs. For example, 50% of their settlement costs have been cut where they previously needed to settle with two different CCPs,” said Diana Chan, CEO of EuroCCP.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, EuroCCP clears equities, exchange-traded funds and depositary receipts from 18 markets including the United States. The company is equally owned by BATS Chi-X Europe, NASDAQ OMX, ABN AMRO Clearing Bank and by The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

BT announces Netrix HiTouch turret

BT has launched its next generation of trading turret at TradeTech Europe 2014, featuring cloud integration and touch screen controls.

The new turret, called BT Netrix HiTouch, aims to aid traders, clients and counterparties to collaborate more effectively, offering a range of different communication tools with high definition visual and audio interfaces.

It also integrates specialist trading applications and market information through the BT Radianz cloud, enabling users to share data.

Tim Furmidge, head of product management, financial technology services at BT, said the turret reflects a growing need among traders to be able to complement their electronic trading with human interaction.

“Increasingly, traders need to be able to step in to help their clients manage their electronic order flow. BT Netrix HiTouch aims to help them provide that high-touch collaboration and expertise, integrated into an electronic platform that can connect directly to trading tools.”

By tapping into the BT Radianz Cloud, users will be able to access hundreds of applications and market data feeds to help inform their decisions and trade. Communications options will integrate BT’s specialist trading floor with audio and video conferencing, as well as instant messaging services.

The service is also up to date with the latest regulations, ensuring clients can remain compliant while giving traders control and flexibility across their trading.

Tom Regent, president of global banking and financial markets at BT Global Services, said: “As financial market firms adapt to ever more stringent regulation and the need to retain more capital reserve, traders are under pressure to make the right decisions faster and maximise increasingly elusive investment returns.”

Netrix HiTouch aims to provide the speed and convenience already available on consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets while tailoring it to the needs of the trading floor. The technology is currently being tested and is due to be released later in the second quarter.

Survey finds derivatives key to 86% of users’ risk strategy

Nearly nine out of ten OTC derivatives users believe the instruments are important to risk management strategies, according to a new International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) survey.

ISDA released the findings on the eve of its annual general meeting in Munich this week, showing there is still a need for OTC derivatives despite new regulation in the US and Europe. 

“As the OTC derivatives market continues to evolve amidst significant changes, it is clear that end-users around the world want and need the ability to use these instruments to manage the risks arising from their business and financing activities,” Stephen O’Connor, ISDA chairman, said.

The survey also found 80% of respondents believe regulation is increasing administrative burdens and 61% believe it is raising costs.

However, the majority of respondents (57%) agree the financial system is safer today than in the past, with tighter credit risk management identified as the top factor (86%), followed by reduction of leverage (76%) and capital requirements (79%).

Three quarters of respondents also believe the new electronic trade execution requirements for OTC derivatives in Europe and the US will have a positive effect on transparency. 

A total of 245 firms responded to the survey, with 42% being non-financial corporates and 49% being financial institutions, including asset managers.

Etrali launches compliance service

Etrali Trading Solutions is now offering Etrali Check Suite, allowing compliance officers to monitor recording infrastructure issues and potential risks.

Etrali Check Suite uses reports and analytics to provide better governance, control and auditability of users’ recording infrastructure.

The service allows users to continuously monitor infrastructures and have early warning reports of any recording inefficiencies. 

Robert Powell, global head of compliance and product management, Etrali Trading Solutions, said: “Etrali Check Suite gives our clients increased knowledge over the correct functioning of their recording solutions.

“We make critical information more readily accessible to the compliance team, so that information can be easily accessed and acted upon.” 

Richard Bennet joins Aquis Exchange board

London-based multilateral trading facility Aquis Exchange has appointed Richard Bennett to its board as an independent non-executive director.

Aquis Exchange was launched in November last year by former Chi-X Europe CEO Alasdair Haynes, touting a unique pricing model based on the telecoms industry.

Bennett, who has spent over 30 years at HSBC, most recently as group managing director and general counsel, is also a special adviser to the parliamentary treasury committee and a consultant to the global executive committee of Norton Rose Fullbright.

Niki Beattie, who chairs the Aquis Exchange board, said Bennett brings a wealth of experience and his contribution will be invaluable.

“His international experience will be particularly helpful as we seek to sell our technology to banks, brokerages and exchanges across the world,” she said.

Voice trading for OTC derivatives here to stay – IPC

Voice trading will continue to have a place in the market despite new rules pushing OTC derivatives on to electronic platforms, according to Ganesh Iyer, director of product marketing and management for financial markets network at IPC Systems.

New regulation under the European market infrastructure regulation and Dodd-Frank has introduced exchange-like platforms, known as swap execution facilities (SEFs) and organised trading facilities respectively, for the execution of standardised derivatives transactions currently executed bilaterally. 

However, despite the push, Iyer said voice trading would continue to play an important role because of bespoke contracts used for specific hedging needs.

He said regulators will still achieve their goal of increased transparency in the market through central clearing and trade reporting, which are both mandated in new regulation in Europe and the US.

“If someone has very specific needs, they are always going to have some portion of the trade done over voice,” Iyer said.

IPC Systems has also released the findings of a November survey at TradeTech Europe 2014 today. It found 61% of respondents were on track to meeting deadlines for SEF trading, which began in last year. About 10% were ‘significantly behind’ and 28% were ‘somewhat behind’.