Korean Market Upgrades
DATAROAD’s David In-hwan Lee shows how Korean traders are utilizing FIX to improve both domestic and international trading capabilities.
How has FIX adoption improved Korean trading?
It was at the end of 2002 that Korean institutions were able to process orders from foreign institutions using the FIX Protocol for the first time. During the following years the FIX Protocol in Korea developed very fast over almost a decade of use.
Before the adoption of the FIX Protocol, approximately 60 securities firms, 40 institutional investors and multiple foreign institutions had been processing orders using telephone, FAX and emails, which were very inefficient means of one-toone communication. Now, most sell-side and buy-side firms are able to place orders conveniently and promptly, and receive execution reports realtime using the FIX Protocol.
After adopting the FIX Protocol and Order Management Systems (OMSs), both institutional investors which place orders and securities firms which receive orders and execute them at the exchange were able to improve their internal trading tasks noticeably. Korean securities firms were now able to connect via networks with the trading systems of overseas institutional investors more efficiently, in contrast with the past. Moreover, since they are actively using the FIX Protocol in connection with outbound orders such as FX transactions and overseas future trading, as well as inbound orders, the adoption of FIX greatly contributed to the internationalization of the Korean securities market.
What is the opinion of Korean brokers toward algorithmic trading?
As OMSs are adopted along with the FIX Protocol, Korean securities firms perform basic algorithm trading using the automatic order system provided by their OMS. Although they currently support simple types of algorithmic trading only, I believe that more diverse algorithm trading functions will be necessary as the Korean securities industry goes through environmental changes.
The Korean securities market is expected to go through a major systemic change in the near future. Although it has not been finalized yet, securities exchanges in Korea are expected to compete with one another starting from the second half of 2012 because the establishment of an Alternative Trading System (ATS) in the Korean securities market will be allowed by then.
Also, the Korea Exchange (KRX) announced a plan for developing a next-generation trading system EXTURE+ in late July 2011. More specifically, KRX plans to develop a new system aiming for two-digit microsecond latency for its trading system. I believe that Korean securities firms should expand the functionality of their own algorithm trading for brokerage business and adopt ultra-high speed DMA systems in order to be able to perform low latency trading demanded by the algorithm trading systems commonly used by buy-side firms. As a result of the changes in the environment of the Korean securities market, High Frequency Trading (HFT) and algorithm trading are expected to develop quickly during the next several years.
What benefits have Korean buy-side firms seen since adopting FIX?
It was the buy-side that received the greatest benefit after adopting the FIX Protocol.
Before discussing the benefits of adopting FIX, it is important to know the relevant circumstances before the adoption of the FIX Protocol. During the early 2000’s (right after the IMF crisis), Korean asset managers’ systems for managing funds had several problems. For example, the distinction of the roles between fund managers and traders was unclear, the compliance system was not established and people processed orders (placing orders and confirmation of executions) manually, often using telephone, FAX or email. Moreover, although there were back office systems for calculating NAV (Net Asset Value) and accounting, they were not prepared with OMSs for their trading systems.