CameronFIX Survey Captures Latest Industry Views on FIX
CameronTec conducted a worldwide CameronFIX user survey last month to capture latest industry opinion concerning the adoption and broader usage of the FIX Protocol; movement in FIX volumes since the financial crisis hit; and the greatest challenges currently facing FIX, its users and FPL itself. Annie Walsh, Chief Marketing Officer for CameronTec sums up the findings while drawing on industry participants for further comment.
Respondents to the survey represent both buy- and sell-sides, across large to smaller firms, as well as exchanges and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s). In terms of geographic location, respondents cover every major financial precinct.
For many firms where technology is a key market differentiator on their trading desk, the need to maintain a competitive system with all the requisite functionality has importantly included FIX.
Over 75% of FIX users reported an increase in FIX volumes; with FIX usage considerably greater since the financial crisis hit in 2008. FIX investment has remained stable with 60% of firms reporting no downsizing to their FIX team over the same period.
While overall FIX usage is up worldwide, many firms did however reign in investment on new FIX infrastructure, translating to strong stability for existing FIX frameworks. Both the versions of FIX used (72% are still using FIX 4.2) and the age of their infrastructure (four years on average) indicates that firms preferred to keep with existing frameworks over anything new during the crisis, but they are now shifting gears as they look forward.
“Performance is always on the radar but in harder times project prioritisation is more a factor for long-established firms,” notes Max Colas, Chief Product Officer of CameronTec. “At the same time, the emergence of High-Frequency trading has driven stronger demands on FIX engine performance pushing the vendors to continuously deliver.”
Adds Colas: “Long-established firms have looked at recent innovations and performance upgrades in FIX engines with mixed appetites, but survey responses indicate the need for upgrades is brewing with many looking to the future and making plans with partners that will still be there tomorrow.”
There was an overwhelming consensus among respondents for the need to explore ways to reduce latency within FIX, although this enthusiasm was also met with some reservations that such efforts could, in reality materialise with a tangible outcome.
“The major challenge for big financial houses, brokers and trading firms is to achieve ultra-low-latency per inbound and outbound FIX messages in direct market access flow,” says Erika Bajer-Jurkovic at Deutsche Bank. “It is very important to accurately measure and present these latencies in the real time and flag delays. An easy to follow, unambiguous latency-measurement standard on the top of the FIX Protocol could introduce and shape new metrics with a business to be considered, especially in the area of algorithmic trading.”
Commenting on buy-side firms driving FIX latency requirements, Jet Tek’s CEO Greg Orsini says, “While there has long been pressure from buy-side firms to continually shrink market data and transaction latency, there has been no standard way to measure and communicate total latency as well as all of the constituent point-to-point latencies. Recently, the FIX Interparty Latency Working Group has been tasked with defining FIX extensions to formalise how these discrete latencies can be presented. This will provide sell-side firms the opportunity to distinguish themselves from their peers by providing new information, which their customer can use to investigate network elements, make real-time routing decisions and eliminate slow liquidity providers.”