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Best Front-Office Execution System


Bloomberg is primarily known for its data and its flagship Terminal product, but it’s no surprise that it has been able to create a powerful execution management platform – EMSX – that is widely used across the industry. It incorporates transaction-cost analysis through its BTCA technology, as well as real-time analytics that analyse the performance of orders and venue selection, as well as compare liquidity providers. The platform has applications for both buyside and sellside traders. For the former, it has access to 6,000 broker-dealer destinations, along with dark pools, electronic communications networks and cash desks at sellside firms. For sellside traders, it claims to have one of the widest algorithmic strategy libraries on the market, and allows users to examine client order flow. In March, it announced a partnership with the Chicago Board Options Exchange to link the bourse’s workstation with more than 17,000 users of EMSX.

Charles River IMS

Counting more than 25,000 traders, from 350 investment firms in 44 countries as users, Charles River’s Investment Management System is one of the staples of buyside trading technology. While execution is still one of the primary features, it also handles a range of other functions, including compliance, investment book of record capabilities, post-trade confirmations and custodian notifications, and risk management from a single screen. The fact that it is still continuing to sign big names shows its enduring popularity – clients from 2016 have included Affirmative Investment Managers, Polen Capital Management, Milford Asset Management and Krung Thai Asset Management. In January, the company received ISO 27001 security certification for its cloud-based, software-as-a-service offering of IMS. Other feathers in its cap have included integrated transaction cost analysis, as well as integration with more than 60 broker algorithm providers and 150 trading venues.

Eze Software Group

Eze Software Group has had an interesting journey since its formation in 2013, but its products are extremely well known throughout the industry. Its execution management system in particular, RealTick, has been a mainstay of trading desks since the early days of electronic trading. As with other systems in its weight class, it includes transaction-cost analysis functionality, provided through Abel Noser, and is cross-asset by design, working across equities, options and futures. It counts links to more than 250 liquidity providers and sources, including primary exchanges and broker-dealers, and is used by more than 3,000 traders in 50 countries, spanning hedge funds and asset managers through to broker-dealers, wealth managers and mutual funds. The product is also designed to work with its order management and portfolio accounting applications and can be operated as a single workflow – in April, it signed the UK’s Liontrust Asset Management for just this.

Fidessa Electronic Execution

Fidessa is well known throughout the UK trading technology scene, and with good reason – the vendor constantly updates its software throughout the year, following a strict process of upgrades as well as new product launches as and when necessary. Its electronic execution offering for the sellside has received particular attention, with the release of its Order Performance Monitor to track orders and executions in real time, as well as Prospector, its new tool designed to source trading and crossing opportunities that may be missed in the course of a day’s trading. Its dedicated electronic execution platform provides direct access to 210 markets through FIX, and a library of core algorithms is included, along with test environments for firms to develop their own and simulate how they react in live trading environments. Most recently, the London-headquartered firm signed ABN Amro Clearing, and will provide the bank with cross-asset execution services across global equity, currency and derivatives markets.

FlexTrade EMS

In addition to winning this category in the Trading and Technology Awards in 2015, FlexTrade celebrated 20 years of operation this year, having launched in 1996. The firm now operates across 10 countries, with clients in 20. The firm partnered with bank-backed communications platform Symphony in February, integrating its messaging platform with the vendor’s execution system, FlexTrade EMS, giving clients the ability to communicate directly with their brokers from their trading blotter. In October 2015, the firm also announced that it was integrating apps from vendor OTAS, boosting its analytics capabilities. The EMS has connectivity to over 200 venues across asset classes, including equities, foreign exchange, options, futures and fixed income, covering primary exchanges as well as broker-run venues, dark pools and alternative trading systems. Outside of pure trading, the vendor also announced a partnership with RSRCHXChange in the UK, ahead of upcoming rules around how research and execution fees are divided in the EU’s review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.