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Tim Quast
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We're All HFTs Now

In this guest commentary, author Tim Quast looks back at the history of HFT and how the market has evolved to where many firms now fit the definition of high-frequency trader.

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September 17, 2008

UNX Puts New Engine Under Its EMS Hood

By James Ramage

UNX Puts New Engine Under its EMS's Hood Agency broker UNX recently added more trading horsepower to its EMS.

The firm built into its execution system an upgraded engine that generates intelligent, responsive, low-latency tools used to augment traders' orders. The tools-called "tactics"-work alongside algorithms or smart orders so traders can more efficiently and actively find liquidity.

UNX tackles traders' orders by joining these tactics with algorithms into "blocks," according to Scott Harrison, UNX's chief executive. So, while the algorithm might apply its benchmark-oriented approach to seeking liquidity, he added, a tactic helps by taking a simple, more utilitarian tack-such as knowing how to take liquidity as soon as it arrives.

"If I'm looking for some way to sweep out an illiquid stock that's got a very wide spread, I want to have a little tool that knows how to find hidden liquidity," Harrison said. "I may take that hidden tool that knows how to find hidden liquidity and plug it into my algorithm when it's trading an illiquid name."

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