Fixnetix: Providing Real-Time Pre-Trade Risk Assessment

18 November 2014

Over the last six years the financial markets have been subjected to constant turmoil and change. New players in the capital markets have moved from relative anonymity into the spotlight, as the regulatory environment has become more exacting and the priorities of trading firms’ shifts in response. The rise of the Managed Service Provider has been among the most prevalent of changes. As even the largest investment banks feel the financial strain of maintaining legacy trading systems which they constantly need to adapt in order to keep up with industry regulation, outsourcing to third party firms has become an increasingly attractive and popular choice.

Fixnetix was founded by three highly respected and experienced members of the financial industry who recognised the changing face of the business and moved to embrace it. Hugh Hughes, Paul Ellis and Alasdair Moore came from backgrounds which combined investment banking and technology. This expertise has enabled Fixnetix to build a highly focussed team and to be at the forefront of developing dynamic products and solutions for their clients in the tough world of electronic trading.

Fixnetix was born from a need for efficient, agile and robust technology and it is these principles which form the core values of the company. Fixnetix actively invests money into research and development in order to keep their trading solutions in line with the market’s needs. As a result of this, Fixnetix’s Field Programme Gate Array (FPGA) microchip, iX-eCute, is one of the world’s fastest and most deterministic pre-trade risk systems available today.

iX-eCute, for which we seek recognition with this award, is logically designed to provide real-time pre-trade risk assessment in addition to real-time market data and trading connectivity to a variety of liquidity venues. Overall trading times are in the low single digit microseconds in both native and FIX protocols and that includes over 40 pre-trade risk checks.

iX-eCute utilises FPGA technology to the highest degree and has been specifically designed as a response to global regulation and best practise such as the SEC 15c 3-5 and IIROC & CSA’s NI123-103. iX-eCute hardware is tailored to an individual customer’s risk and compliance requirements; it’s bespoke design ensuring operational speed and safety. Even after an initial iX-eCute deployment, Fixnetix will continue to support clients trading on the technology. Every solution is confirmed in writing by a robust Service Level Agreement (SLA), which guarantees agreed performance and support response times in case of complications, providing a clear escalation plan. A 24/7/365 service desk is also in operation at our London headquarters which provides, with support in local hours available in New York and Tokyo, assistance to clients around the world whenever they need it. Fixnetix takes these steps to ensure that the client achieves complete peace of mind around the operational efficiency of their Fixnetix trading system for them and their clients.

A little over one year ago, in June 2013, Fixnetix deployed iX-eCute for the first time in the Canadian cash markets. The solution was designed to help a client (a Tier 1 Investment Bank) implement a pre-trade risk control system that would ensure they adapt to specific changing industry regulations. The solution went live on several Canadian markets simultaneously. Not only did Fixnetix make sure that the client achieved complete regulatory compliance through using iX-eCute, but they also guaranteed security in the marketplace for all participants, and the implementation had an imperceptible latency impact on orders.

Today, 17 months on, over 25% of all cash equities trading across Canada takes place via Fixnetix infrastructure. This iX-eCute installation represented the largest managed service FPGA deployment in the world, and is still unmatched in size and complexity. It has without doubt been a resounding success, demonstrating perfectly the ability of Fixnetix to deliver on global trading systems projects.

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