Autex, a Thomson Financial subsidiary that provides pre-trade and trade automation tools, has opened up a number of new offices in Europe and Asia, and has released a new global IOI and order-routing system that it hopes will allow it to achieve the same success it has had in the U.S. and the U.K.
Autex Connect, which combines the indications of interest and order-routing capabilities of its domestic Autex and Trade Route products, has been designed to be an open system that works with the Internet or leased lines.
Speaking about the benefits of combining the Autex and Trade Route functions onto one server, John Spensieri, vice president, sales and marketing, explains that it translates into an easier, more responsive system. "Before this, you would have to launch Autex, and then you would have to launch Trade Route," Spensieri says. "With the new product, if you see an IOI, you can quickly react to that IOI by sending an order to the broker."
Further, the combined system allows an institution to connect to a myriad of brokers via one FIX session, rather than two. "With one FIX session, we'll bring you the world," he beams. Other enhancements to the product included designing the system to handle the many different trading symbols found around the world.
Users most typically will connect to Autex Connect via their order management system, but users may also use the Autex interface if they choose. Contrasting Autex from competitors such as Bridge and Bloomberg, and even the MacGregor Financial Network (MFN) or ICV, Spensieri points out that Autex is platform neutral, something that is becoming ever more important as the global investment community strives for straight-through processing.
"We will connect to any order-management system, Bridge and Bloomberg do not," he says. "MFN only works with the MacGregor Group's Predator and Merrin systems."
Spensieri recalls that Autex decided more than a year ago to make a global push as it recognized a dramatic increase in the number of cross-border trades, and it watched many of its domestic clients opening offices around the world. "A lot of the big players here have affiliates all over the world," he says. "It is important for us to stay in stride with them. As Merrill Lynch started putting offices around the world, for example, we wanted to be able to deliver to them and grow with them."
Autex Connect has already received a good amount of interest on the Continent and in Asia. The vendor has signed about 40 European clients, although it began targeting them last year with its standard Autex Plus product. Those clients are transitioning over to the Autex Connect infrastructures. And, in only two months, Autex has signed about a dozen Asian institutions.