Routing trades faster and with greater efficiency to more destinations is a major theme on the floor of this year's SIA Conference. Specifically, issues such as direct market access (DMA) and compliance dominate the show's landscape as vendors purvey their latest wares, promising to solve the industry's latest problems.
Cameron Systems (booth 1518), a Sydney, Australia-based company focused on providing FIX platforms with compliance features, has made the trek from down under for the fourth year. "This is the most important show in the United States," says Martin Koopman, commercial director with Cameron. "There is a wide group of technical and business people in attendence, so there is a good chance within two days to catch up with customers and friends."
The company recently launched version 6.2 of its FIX (Financial Information Exchange) protocol platform with modules built around best-execution and workflow management. "We had been focused on the FIX engine, but now we are enlarging and creating a whole platform around it," Koopman says, adding that he sees a "huge" movement toward DMA technologies. "Many buy-side traders want to go direct to the exchanges, and they want to work with whomever can help them do that."
George Tull, project manger for floor operations in the exchange products division of New York-based Tradeware Systems (booth 1414), says his company also is focused on providing FIX connectivity to clients. Providing DMA to the NYSE is among Tradeware's selling points.
"We are seeing the sell side reach out more to the buy side by offering more services," Tull says. "The sell side firms are looking for order flow, so they are seeking out more technology solutions to offer their customers." Among those solutions are compliance and electronic access tools.
Redwood City, Calif.-based Syndera (booth 1522) is making its first appearance at the SIA Conference. The recently established company has added its first major client and is looking to build on that success.
Syndera, which is focused on providing intelligence and monitoring for electronic trading, is just "out of the starting gate," according to Parker Trewin, director of marketing and communications. "It is important for us to be here -- this show is a sweet spot and it will help us to increase traction" in the marketplace.
Corey Williams, director of products with Syndera, says the company's goal is to add 10 new clients this year, and he is hoping to find some of those new clients at the show. Williams describes the traffic at the show as "decent." But, he adds, "Ask that question again tomorrow afternoon."
Joyce Smith, director of marketing with New York-based Sector (booth 1436), says the technology provider has been exhibiting at SIA for 10 years. Sector -- whose parent company is SIAC -- focuses on providing solutions to industry issues such as business continuity planning and e-mail compliance, along with the need for managed services and complex communications. At this year's show, Smith says, the theme of compliance can be found all over the floor. In keeping with that idea, communication and collaboration between compliance personnel and IT also is growing in importance, she adds.
"This is the biggest show there is, and anyone who is anybody attends," Smith says. "It's the best chance we have to let people know of our new products." At 1:00 p.m. yesterday, with only an hour of show time elapsed, traffic could best be described by Smith as: "So far, so good." Determining a return on investment for attending the SIA Conference, or any show for that matter, is not something she focuses on. Rather, Smith views spending money to be at important industry events like SIA as "about being where people in the industry are."
Burlington, Mass.-based Charles River Development (booth 1760), a provider of buy-side order management systems, recently began adding sell-side-provided algorithms to its OMS product. Now, buy-side clients are able to click on the sell-side broker of their choice and select a proprietary algorithm that a broker-dealer has devised.
"The trend is recognizing that brokers are good at execution, and we are good at software," says Michael Hayes, director of strategic alliances with Charles River. "So the brokers are using us as a front-end developer," he explains. Charles River's primary goal for the SIA Technology Conference is "to maintain our name in the marketplace and talk to as many customers and prospects as we can," Hayes says.