Arguing that it's time to drive down the cost of adopting FIX-messaging technology to make the electronic standard affordable to small buy-side firms Sun Microsystems and B2Bits - a London based software house - are testing preloaded FIX hardware and software with buy- and sell-side customers for a monthly rental fee.
The concept is about providing a single utility that meets the needs of the most demanding customers, from a performance perspective, to the smallest fund managers, while minimizing the barrier to entry for electronic trading via FIX.
It is predicated on the view that sending and receiving FIX messages should be priced like a commodity, contends Robert Woodmansey, chief executive officer of B2Bits.
"These FIX-messaging tools should be like washing machines and tea kettles," says Woodmansey, who blasts rival FIX-engine vendors for selling software licenses that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The service - dubbed FIX RAQ Bundle - is administered on a flat-fee, subscription-based model and works with all current (4.0 to 4.3) and future versions (4.4 and higher) of the FIX protocol.
Users do not pay a software-license fee and, "There is no upfront money to be paid," says Woodmansey. "The objective is to bring the price down to a level where everyone can afford to be FIX-enabled. "Sun is charging $2,500 a month for the bundle including 24-by-seven telephone support, software support and financing options, according to Sun's Nigel Woodward, worldwide manager, capital markets and securities.
In addition, the flat fee comes with automated testing and regression testing, so that firms can test connections or decide if they want to make a change in their order-management system or message handling.