Convergex Trades Up for Better Exchange Monitoring, Compliance Surveillance, and Development
Improved client onboarding, trading, compliance surveillance, and fraud detection
“Convergex takes a great deal of pride in making its clients’ interests and service needs of top priority,” says CIO Ann Neidenbach. “We like to tackle the industry’s toughest challenges—from complex trades to complex business solutions. Since regulation changes in 2008, there’s been a proliferation of places to trade. In the US alone, there are over 50 light pool (LIT) and dark markets. This makes it incredibly expensive, complicated, and very difficult for our customers to find best execution. They’re seeking liquidity and trying to figure out the best place to fill their orders. We’re trying to simplify that for them.
“Convergex historically had consisted of several different affiliated companies, which meant that we had silos of trading systems, technology solutions and data. As a result, it was difficult to understand the revenue and profitability for each client across our businesses.”
“My number one objective is to help us improve operational efficiencies, and I’m doing that in three ways. One is a technology roadmap that collapses multiple trading systems into one. The second is leveraging cloud technologies so we can reduce our infrastructure spend. And third is rationalizing all our data and leveraging business intelligence to transform it into information.”
“When people talk about trading systems, they usually focus on the glamour— how fast you can trade or how good your algos or your smart routers are—but Convergex actually needed something in addition to that,” says Joe Weisbord, managing director, development of equity trading products. “With 500 million messages and peaks of a hundred thousand messages a second flowing through the system, it’s impossible to know what’s going on unless you have a tool to evaluate it. We needed an event-enabled process to analyze and correlate this data, and alert us. Our current systems would tell us whether a component was up or down. We needed to monitor our whole environment. We needed to understand all the interactions within all the components of the system. But most importantly, we needed to use the data and not just monitor the components.
“We started a proof of concept project on a trading system, and it became obvious that TIBCO StreamBase® was a tool that can manage large amounts of fast data. We used this tool to build probably the best monitoring system on the street.”
Improved Client Onboarding and Trade Executions
“Two areas we’re very fixated on is improving our onboarding process for new clients—automating to make it more efficient and a faster experience for both our customers and our support teams—and examining data from client trades to see how we can help them improve for better liquidity,” says Neidenbach. “We’re using StreamBase for two of our key products right now, and it’s really making the workflow for our internal traders and customers much more efficient.”
Faster, Easier Development
“StreamBase allowed us to process Fast Data with less hardware than we previously needed,” says Weisbord. “It also helped us improve development productivity and build software much quicker than we had in the past. It gave our developers the flexibility to back-test and modify, to really build a system in an interactive fashion. We’re able to get a basic product out very quickly for people to see, take their feedback, and make fast changes. It gives us the flexibility to not only get to market quickly, but also add enhancements continuously.”
Compliance Surveillance and Fraud Detection
“One result of the StreamBase monitoring system was that we had all the data, which allowed us to build other applications,” says Weisbord. “One application we built was a compliance surveillance system. Compliance surveillance used to be a T+1 platform, but we needed real-time surveillance. Our compliance department now has the ability to detect noncompliant practices in real time, where in the past it would take until the next day.
We’ve been able to take our 500 million messages and cull them down to a 1,000 meaningful alerts a day that can be managed very efficiently and proactively. That is not something we could have done previously.”
“As part of the Convergex leadership team, we’re always looking at ways to leverage technology to grow our business and provide new competitive products and services,” says Neidenbach. “We will always be looking at ways to differentiate ourselves, optimize our workflow and automation, and provide better, more efficient services.”