Published On: Sun, Oct 23rd, 2011

Australia Fix Protocol Conference 2011 Highlights

FIX Protocol Australia 2011 Tweet CloudThe FIX Protocol Australia Conference 2011 was held October 20th in Sydney with over 300+ attending. The theme “Trading in a Multi Market World” while perhaps old hat for the West is the exception rather than the rule in Australia. But that distinction will vanish come October 31 and the Aussie FIX Protocol community was out in full force to embrace that forthcoming change.

The opening speaker, Richard Kimber Global Head of Equities & Global Head of eCommerce Australia and New Zealand Bank Group, had an interesting discussion on social media of all things. He talked of closed and open systems and the move to crowd platforms that source the best ideas were coming to the fore and reinventing the wheel was slowly becoming ubiquitous. The discussion paralled the close system that Nokia once dominated to the open platform at the root of Apple’s success. His diatribe then went one further to underlie the open FIX Protocol standard and the community that can be built around it.

Mark Adams from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) spoke next on competition in Australia, and among other things, explained how the Australian regulator was ready for a multi-market country. Coincidentally, CP 168, the second-phase consultation paper on equity market structure issues was announced the morning of the conference much to the delight of Edward Mangles the FIX Protocol Regional Director and Master of Ceremonies during the event.

The first panel of the day addressed High Frequency Trading (HFT) and Market Making with John Fildes Director of Getco, Paul Hilgers CEO of Optiver in Asia and Alex Frino CEO of the Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre with Ben Radclyffe of Deutsche Bank presiding over discussion. The pro-HFT group discussed at what point should a market maker pull away from their obligations during excessive volatility, circuit breakers vs. price limits and how these buy-side types enhance liquidity and smooth volatility. There was an interesting point comparing the HFT trader to the old school exchange floor jobber. Emma Quinn of Alliance Bernstein countered by saying the jobber would offer many more shares than the one or two lots an HFT does. A poll during the discussion still maintained HFT was not good for market structure much to the chagrin of the panelists.

After lunch, a buy-side only panel was held where, beforehand, the sell-side had prepared a list of survey questions of which the results were the topic of discussion. Not too many conferences anywhere have a buy-side panel where they explain to the sell-side what they want and how they are motivated in such a public forum. There were too many points to recount but certainly a high water mark discussion by any measure.

The rest of the afternoon saw individual presentations from Richard Murphy of the Australian Securities Exchange explaining their offering, Steve Grob from Fidessa on the fragmentation issue and Jason Keady of Chi-X rounding out the days dialogues on the merits of the alternative exchange descending on Australia.

This FIX Protocol conference certainly rivaled the event they hold every year in Hong Kong and raised the bar for any other forums like it in Sydney. The diversity of attendees, quality discussions and the depth of electronic trading industry personalities makes this a must go convention for next year.

Just as an aside, we did manage to get some tweets on Twitter during the course of the event. The image above is the Tweet Cloud for FIX Protocol Australia 2011. To see what was said search Twitter for the hashtag #FIX_Protocol and #FIX2011.

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