Actant.com, a Zug, Switzerland-based independent software vendor that has yet to penetrate the American market, is now thinking about integrating its automated market making system--dubbed Aqtor--with trading engines employed by the International Securities Exchange (ISE), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and a host of U.S. stock exchanges.
To date, Aqtor has only been linked to a pair of European derivatives markets: Eurex and the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange. Within the next year, however, Actant hopes to interconnect its electronic market making system not only with a multitude of U.S. exchanges but also with a pair of electronic communications networks (ECNs).
Adrian Lucas, head of business development at Actant, says the vendor expects to go live with Aqtor interfaces to Archipelago LLC and Instinet Corp.'s ECNs by the fourth quarter. Soon thereafter, he says, Actant anticipates building a link between its system and the application programming interfaces (APIs) for the electronic dealing platforms used by the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange.
Prior to building those interfaces, Lucas says, Actant plans to roll out links to the ISE's trading engine. Actant expects to go live with the interface to the ISE--the all-electronic U.S. options market set to be launched in May--by June. In contrast, the link between Aqtor and the CBOE's market maker system--known as RMI--is not expected to be ready until the first quarter of 2001, says Lucas.
Primarily, in its American marketing campaign, Actant is trying to sell Aqtor to large market makers that trade equities and options. Thus far, Actant has yet to sign up any U.S. firms, but it hopes its connectivity to multiple markets and its European client list--which includes Susquehanna Investments--will help its system gain U.S. market share.
Down the road, on top of developing links to the U.S. equity and options exchanges, Actant also expects to build an electronic bridge between Aqtor and the FIX API for Globex2, the CME's electronic trading platform. Some of Actant's existing clients, he says, are particularly interested in trading the Merc's e-mini equity derivatives contracts.
That said, Lucas asserts that all bets for Actant's U.S push could be off if markets like
like the CME, Nasdaq and NYSE don't follow through on their plans to demutualize.
"The U.S. Exchanges don't really know what the hell they're doing or where they're going, because they don't have the management freedom to decide that," he says.