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March 9, 2009

RealTick to Accelerate Algo Implementation

By James Ramage

Broker EMS provider Townsend Analytics wants to simplify-and speed up-the process of implementing algorithms. Doing so would ultimately shave lots of time and money from the lengthy procedure.

Townsend wants to be the first firm to enable an EMS to support a new FIX-standard protocol-called Algorithmic Trading Definition Language.

The ATDL protocol makes it faster for brokers to add or change algorithms' coding by requiring far less programming on the EMS vendor side. Townsend expects to offer its first ATDL-ready version of its RealTick EMS this month, said Stuart Breslow, the firm's chief executive.

With ATDL, when a broker wants to tweak an existing algo, he need only change the text in the algo's text file, Breslow said. Doing so lets the broker add strategies, change parameters or alter one parameter's impact upon another, he said.

"It's all being done by the broker once," Breslow said. "And then they can deploy it to all the different technology providers. The [brokers] that have embraced ATDL no longer have to wait for any of the ATDL-based technology providers to change anything."

The benefits are legion, Breslow added. ATDL protocol lessens EMS providers' overhead significantly. At Townsend, Breslow estimates it will save several man-weeks of work, on average, on each broker's strategy for each EMS.

Finally, ATDL-protocol functionality also gets brokers' algos out to market-and into buyside hands-faster.

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