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August 31, 2001

More Options For Traders? A Web-Based View of Options World by Brian O'Connell

By Brian O'Connell

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  • More Options For Traders? A Web-Based View of Options World by Brian O'Connell
  • Page 2

No secret that the savviest options traders make their best moves after discerning subtle trends in the stock market. So when one of Wall Street's top options trading firms opens up its previously proprietary Web-based market information service, maybe it's a good idea to sit up and pay attention.

The firm is Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Susquehanna Financial Group and the product is CrowdLink, an Internet-based market analysis and commentary tool.

The firm is releasing the tool to non-Susquehanna traders, fund managers and brokers hoping to make money from its equity options market analysis prowess.

Market Volatility

"Our goal is to provide traders a window of intelligence into the forces behind market volatility," said Eric Noll, an associate director at Susquehanna. "We can do this through the use of Internet technology, which delivers information to the traders as they make their trading decisions."

That means providing details of actual trades made by Susquehanna traders, including the date, time, symbol, message type, size, strategy, and price but only after the trade is executed. The trade information is augmented by online commentary from Susquehanna traders and analysts on notable trades and market events.

"CrowdLink takes advantage of the immediacy of the Web to provide real-time reports of market activity along with analysis and commentary from our own traders and analysts," added Michael Howe, a spokesperson for the firm. "We think that the system gives traders solid insight into options and equity market activity so they can consistently make smarter, more informed trades."

Institutional traders can use CrowdLink to gain access to real-time trading information derived from activity across U.S. options and equity market centers.

These traders can also access commentary from CrowdLink's editorial desk. With trading desks in equity options exchanges in some 20 global venues, including Amsterdam, London, Paris, and all the major U.S. markets, Susquehanna officials contend the firm is well-positioned to offer a multi-exchange, global view of the world's options markets.

"We think that traders want insights not just into the options market, but into all markets," Howe said. "CrowdLink provides a nice decision support framework for executing trades. That helps traders get in and out of positions aggressively. The information is all real-time. If a trader wants to get more information on a given company, security, or index, he can conduct historical searches."

Howe adds that CrowdLink can be customized to individual traders, so that the hundreds of daily real-time trade messages can be filtered to cater to a user's specific needs. It also filters out other market information that busy traders don't want and don't need.

User Profile

"The system has the ability to set up a trader's profile and alert him when trading conditions meets his selected criteria," Howe said. "CrowdLink can also be based on a particular security or index and only deliver data when the information is relevant to the trader. He can click on a rolling data stream that feeds all kinds of market information throughout the