Hazem Dawani is chief executive of OptionsCity Software, a financial technology company.
What were the major themes of your business in 2014?
2014 was a foundation year for OptionsCity. We overhauled our flagship Metro product, hired new talent and built out our global hosting infrastructure – all of which help us capitalize on macro trends in the futures trading industry. For example, one such trend was the need for futures and options traders to iterate quickly, moving strategies from conception to deployment within a matter of days instead of months. So, we created Metro NOW, a new version of our flagship product that features an open API infrastructure. This gives trading firms the ability to build and buy to create the best possible trading solution. It is a robust out-of-the-box platform on which our customers and third parties can build custom widgets based on a firm’s strategies and specific asset classes.
Simultaneously, OptionsCity was proud to support the fintech community with two key initiatives. Our Freeway trading analytics product powered the University of Chicago’salgorithmic trading competition for the second year in a row – and we look forward to doing the same in 2015. The 2014 competition hosted 26 different teams from schools around the country, giving the next generation of financial engineers simulations that mimic real-world challenges. We also hosted a very successful charity poker event that brought together Chicago’s trading community to raise thousands of dollars for Santa for the Very Poor – money that we are sure went to good use this holiday season.
What are your expectations for 2015?
Futures and options traders seem to be more optimistic about 2015;volatility and volumes have been moving higher, presenting more opportunities. We first saw this optimism in full force when the fintech community came together at FIA Expo Chicago in November, and if the past month is any indication, that optimism is not misplaced.
As for OptionsCity, we are aggressively growing – rolling out new products, expanding our global footprint and pushing into new markets. Our recent acquisition of Optionshop, which provides us the ability to enhance products with cloud and mobile technologies, is one example of how we expect to make waves moving forward. It’s been a big year, but you can expect to hear a lot more from OptionsCity in 2015.