Trading Technologies plans to begin beta testing its new X-TRADER WebSoftwarewhich gives customers of Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs) and brokers the ability to access the world's major futures exchanges from any Internet-equipped location. Bear Stearns as well as a few other firms are some of the first to start beta testing X-Trader.
Lawrence Donohue, managing director of futures administration with Bear Stearns, says his company looked at several different software providers to automate its futures trading, though he would not name any. Firms using X-TRADER will mearly have to set up their accounts through their brokers, download the X-TRADER Web software to any computer and start trading. Clearing and settlement will still be handled off-line by the exchanges. While some brokers might fear disintermediation from their customers, they will maintain a supervisory relationship as they are kept privy to all trades done through the system.
The software is a thin-client Java application that "works on any PCMacintosh, Unix, Solaris, Linux," says Managing Director for Trading Technologies, North America, Jim Marvin. The trading screen is made up of five Java applets containing a market grid with real-time price updates, an order book that lists open orders, a fill window that tracks completed deals, an audit trail that covers all system activity, and a market-depth applet that shows prices above the best offer and below the best bid.
The system is architected in three tiers. The first is a standard gateway and application program interface (API) that connects customers to exchanges around the world. The second tier is the Web server that sits on those gateways and functions as an entry point for Web traders around the world. The third tier is the X-TRADER Web client. Customers can connect to the system over the Internet or through a dedicated line.