Another Year Over And A New One Just Begun…

By Tim Healy, Global Marketing and Communications Manager, FIX Trading Community.

Tim Healy 14January is an odd month. A time to look back on the past year, to look forward to the New Year, make resolutions and be very abstemious. All of this following the hectic overindulgence and festivities of the previous month. An odd month indeed.

As we look back over the achievements and milestones for the FIX Trading Community in 2014, we also look forward. There was a huge amount of work done by the various committees, subcommittees and working groups during the year. The events organised by the membership and the FIX Program Office were very well received. The targets and aims for 2015 are to continue this work and improve on what we did during 2014. The markets move and we need to keep up to speed with them.

Looking back first, there were a number of specific highlights for the year across the different regions.

The Asia Pacific Regional Committee worked collaboratively with a number of different bodies such as the Singapore Exchange (SGX), Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Shanghai Stock Connect Project to further promote the use of FIX. Additionally, the Committee established a group to promote ‘new blood’ into the region and encourage greater participation.

In October, the Japan Regional Committee helped to host the Biennial Japan Trading Conference which saw a record number of delegates – more than 600 people attended the event. The President and CEO of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Akira Kiyota, gave a keynote speech and outlined their plans to become the premier exchange in Asia. The Committee also worked closely with the Financial Information Services Centre (FISC) in Japan to provide information for its annual report.

In EMEA, the work of the Investment Management Working Group was to the fore with continued development of the execution venue analysis and a new initiative to address the workflow for transmission of orders for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). The Trade awarded the IPO initiative the Buy-side Project of the Year. Our flagship EMEA 2014 Conference was a great success and planning is in full swing for the 2015 event on 10th March.

In the Americas, similar to what has been done in EMEA and Asia Pacific, there was a drive to get fresh impetus in the region as two new networking groups were launched in New York and Boston. A successful conference in Brazil was followed by a standing-room-only audience in New York to discuss Trading and Transparency. Elsewhere the region also re-launched the Risk Management Working Group to look at a number of different topics as well as globalize the group.

Looking at the more specific product Committees, the OTC Markets Committee Group accomplished a large body of work as the Fixed Income and Foreign Exchange markets become more electronic and regulated. The vast majority of Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs) and bond trading venues use FIX and the Committee continues to engage with both venues and vendors to push for greater standardisation. Project Neptune gained a lot of media attention during 2014 and our penultimate press release of the year announced the draft publication of the Best Practices for the use of FIX for pre-trade in the bond market.

The Global Buy-side Committee was active across all regions during 2014. Inherent differences in every country and region means that there are diverse challenges to be met but the global collaboration on the IPO Initiative and the Execution Venue Initiative show that working under the umbrella of the FIX Trading Community, significant results can be had. Additionally, the Global Post Trade Working Group are working to widen the asset class coverage for FIX in the post trade space having published guidelines for equities earlier in 2014. There will be a strong focus on regulation in 2015.

The Global Technical Committee has focused its efforts on High Performance whilst also continuing to develop FIX to address the significant increase in regulatory activity. Their work on the next generation of the FIX Protocol will fully support high performance on all levels (application, presentation, session) with the objective to offer an open standard that can replace today’s proprietary interfaces for high performance trading and market data.

Each committee has outlined its own respective targets for 2015, however there are a number of themes that cut across all the different working groups and committees:

• Continue to assess the ongoing changes in regulation and address how FIX can help.
• Continue to work with different trade associations and regulatory bodies to promote the use of standards in the different markets.
• The promotion of FIX as the de-facto messaging language for all asset classes.
• Continue to encourage greater involvement from market participants.
• Continue to encourage new users to become involved with the committees and working groups.

One other area which FIX will look at is cybersecurity and if there is a role that the FIX Trading Community and its members can play to address the issues in this space. This will be a new departure for the Community but given the prevalence of FIX in the lifecycle of a trade, the information that can be gleaned could prove to be key in helping meet the challenges.

The work that these groups do should not be underestimated. The FIX Trading Community holds a somewhat unique position in the market and will continue to work in a collaborative and unbiased manner as we go through 2015.

Let’s hope it’s a good one.

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