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May 5, 2009

NYSE Amex Adopt LiquidPoint Technology on Floor

By Nina Mehta

In March, NYSE Amex Options began using LiquidPoint's Floor Broker Workstation technology in Amex booths and on floor brokers' handheld devices. About 60 floor brokers use handhelds and another 140 users operate the LiquidPoint technology in their booths, said Ed Boyle, head of options at NYSE Euronext.

The plan is to roll out the LiquidPoint systems on the NYSE Arca Options San Francisco floor later this year. LiquidPoint, which is owned by agency broker BNY ConvergEx Group, provides execution management technology and brokerage services for listed options.

The LiquidPoint technology enables brokers to route and track orders efficiently. "This enables brokers to execute orders more quickly, because of the point-and-click functionality, and we now have a stringent regulatory audit trail, which the earlier system couldn't provide," Boyle said.

The handheld device is the same as that used on the NYSE floor, but the software is from LiquidPoint. Boyle added that the new technology was part of a broader overhaul of Amex trading systems.

"All the technology the exchange employs was redone, including the architecture, matching engines, clearing system, connectivity and gateway access to the exchange," Boyle said.

Mark Bromley, head of business development at LiquidPoint, noted that the technology increases efficiencies for traders. "One of the real benefits for floor-based exchanges is the large network of brokers and traders that use LiquidPoint, so we can connect upstairs clients to floor brokers electronically," he said. "This is key for exchanges and clients, since it means orders can be routed electronically to the floor instead of phoned down."

Firms that don't use LiquidPoint can write into the network using FIX. LiquidPoint also provides software for handhelds on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

Not all Amex floor brokers are enthusiastic about the new handhelds. The complaint is that brokers must enter more information now than was previously required.

Boyle, who has heard the gripes, replied simply: "We need a more complete regulatory audit trail."

He added that Amex now also puts a time stamp on manual orders. An exchange official in each of Amex's 14 pits uses a LiquidPoint terminal to time-stamp and officially release orders traded in open outcry.


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