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Electronic Trading Newsflashes: TransactTools Pushes QuickFIX Open Source Project, and more

TransactTools Pushes QuickFIX Open Source Project, Nexa Technologies Connects to Montreal Exchange's FIX Interface, Marshall Wace Chooses FlexTrader and FlexTQM, CME FX on Reuters Adds Four Clearing Firms

TransactTools Pushes QuickFIX Open Source Project

TransactTools is partnering with QuickFIX, a freely accessible, open-source FIX (Financial Information Exchange) engine project. By partnering with QuickFIX, TransactTools aims to promote adoption of FIX more broadly among smaller firms.

Under terms of the partnership announced Tuesday, TransactTools, a specialist in monitoring and managing connectivity for electronic trading, would contribute source code, resources and support to Quick FIX. "We believe that the more firms that get started with this technology the better, so we'll do whatever we can to make it easy for them," stated Sam Johnson, chief executive officer of TransactTools, in the release.

A FIX engine is the messaging middleware for communicating transactions, and it has become a commodity in recent years, said the company. FIX is a language that defines specific electronic messages for communicating securities transactions between two parities.

"By struggling to maintain artificial price points for what has become commodity technology, point-solution vendors are creating barriers to adoption of FIX in the marketplace," Johnson further stated in the release. Johnson also said the QuickFIX project is a solid FIX implementation. This doesn't conflict at all with the FIX support in TCM (transaction connectivity management), his firm's commercial connectivity platform, "because it targets a very different segment of the market," he added.

QuickFIX was first released into the open source community in early 2001 and has gained worldwide popularity and acceptance as a production-quality FIX implementation, says TransactTools. This partnership is consistent with other initiatives to promote the adoption of FIX, such as the OpenFIX free testing and certification service that TransactTools launched in 2002.

Nexa Technologies Connects to Montreal Exchange's FIX Interface

Nexa Technologies said it is the first firm to be certified to provide direct market access connectivity to the Montreal Exchange (MX). Nexa will connect to Canada's derivatives exchange via MX's recently implemented Financial Information Exchange (FIX) Protocol interface.

Nexa contends the move will enable its global customer base of institutional brokers, hedge funds, proprietary trading firms and retail clients to trade Canadian options on the MX without incurring "inflated, third-party connectivity fees that have been accepted marketwide until now."

Mark Bourcier, implementation coordinator, Montreal Exchange, who is quoted in the release, stated, "By developing our own interface, we are encouraging firms who are interested in trading Canadian options to enter the market or increase their participation for the benefit of the financial-services community worldwide."

Because it has supported FIX interface connectivity since 2000, when it connected its trading solutions to the Arca ECN, Nexa was able to complete the entire build, test and certification process within three weeks.

Marshall Wace Chooses FlexTrader and FlexTQM

Marshall Wace North America L.P., a long/short equity hedge fund, went live in February with FlexTrader, the broker-neutral algorithmic-trading platform. In addition, the hedge fund is utilizing FlexTQM (transaction quality management), a set of tools within the platform, for conducting pre-trade analysis, cost and impact, the release stated.

The hedge fund is assessing transaction costs to evaluate broker performance and manage commission allocation and trading costs.

The firm's head equity trader, Scott Graczyk, stated in the release that the firm is using the platform to drive both proprietary and public market data to make effective trading decisions. It uses current and historical analytics to determine how to work a trade and with which brokers.

Marshall Wace currently has connections to forty brokers via FlexTrader. The firm is using FlexTrader's FIX engine to capture and store indications of interest from its brokers as a step toward integrating all pre-trade information on one platform.

CME FX on Reuters Adds Four Clearing Firms

Four additional clearing firms have joined CME FX on Reuters, an electronic foreign exchange trading capability. Calyon Financial, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers and Refco joined the existing seven clearing firms to facilitate trading for CME and Reuters end users, further expanding the reach of both companies.

CMEFX on Reuters brings all the advantages and efficiencies of CME futures trading to Reuters Dealing 3000 users. It is the first major linkage between sell-side traders in the interbank FX market and electronic CME FX futures markets, where hedge funds and other buy-side participants play a major role, said the release.

Clearing banks and firms are key to the rollout of CME FX on Reuters since they enable the Reuters and CME communities to trade with one another. In addition, CME and Reuters also announced that the service would go live in the Asia Pacific region over the next two weeks in key financial centers including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.

The service was launched in Europe and North America on March 14 following a beta test with eight firms -- ABN AMRO, Bank of America, Barclays Capital, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, Societe Generale and Fimat International Banque SA.

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