Standard Chartered Implements Progress Apama’s FX Market Aggregation Accelerator

21 January 2009

Progress Software Corporation, a global supplier of application infrastructure software used to develop, deploy, integrate and manage business applications, today announced that Standard Chartered Bank has gone live with the Progress Apama FX Market Aggregation Accelerator in a distributed deployment spanning FX desks in three continents. Standard Chartered’s FX traders are using customized Apama dashboards to gain an aggregated view of liquidity over five Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs). This liquidity is delivered via a combination of FIX-based and venue-specific direct connectivity adapters that Apama provides.

Todd McDonald, Standard Chartered’s Global Head of FX Electronic Pricing and Trading said, “The key benefit of the Apama FX aggregator is its ability to provide access to broader, deeper liquidity, which leads to improved price discovery and better fills for the traders. Plus, pulling all the rates into one place frees up screen real estate on the traders’ terminals. With the aggregated view that Apama provides, our traders have a much better picture of an FX market that has become increasingly fragmented over the last few years. This aggregated view enables far more effective FX pricing strategies. And the ability to develop and deploy such a sophisticated and highly distributed system in a mere three months time illustrates the “acceleration” inherent in the Apama platform.”

As part of the Apama implementation, which went live in all ECNs in the same week, Standard Chartered has implemented a set of custom FX algorithms that allow traders to execute trades across the varied venues. Traders have extensive ability to parameterize the trade algorithms, thus greatly enhancing their ability to make or take orders based on fluctuations in currency positions. And with the aggregated view of FX liquidity and pricing depth across the different venues, traders can now determine the volume weighted average price (VWAP) for heavily traded currency pairs, an important element in the prospective trading of larger currency positions.

The flexibility of the Standard Chartered implementation extends to the inclusion of a custom Java-based User Interface created within the rich Apama development framework. The User Interface allows traders to have highly customized views of FX liquidity, including separate panels for groups of currency pairs (e.g. emerging markets, European currencies, North American currencies). Those panels can be tabbed, docked or floated, providing a flexible mechanism to accommodate individual trader preferences as to how they want to manage trading within the constraints of the available screen real estate.

Standard Chartered traders can make and take FX orders using a traditional FX trader keypad that has been integrated with the Apama FX Market Aggregator. Though the first phase involves directly-quoted spot FX trading, Standard Chartered plans to add the support for synthetic currency pair crosses. The openness of the underlying Apama CEP platform will allow Standard Chartered to expand its use in the future to support trading in other asset classes. "As we develop experience with Apama, we will look to employ the platform to support trading in other assets, which may include bonds and rates," says McDonald.

Dr. John Bates, founder and general manager, Apama division of Progress Software Corporation, commented, “Over the last two years Foreign Exchange market fragmentation has increased with the creation of new FX trading venues. The drive of algorithmic trading continues to influence FX and its growing popularity created a need for greater algorithm differentiation in the face of intensifying competition. We have seen tremendous interest in our FX aggregator by a large number of firms who, like Standard Chartered, can have a single, yet customizable view of the entire fragmented market. With Apama, they can meet their business goals of access to deeper liquidity from multiple ECNs, gain a single market view accessible on one trading screen, achieve better fill rates and ultimately a more profitable and efficient business.”

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