Instinet Newport won Best Execution Management System (EMS) at the 2021 Markets Choice Awards.
Markets Media caught up with Tom Whelan, Head of Instinet Technology Solutions, to learn more.
What is your reaction to Instinet Newport winning Best EMS in the 2021 Markets Choice Awards?
I’m delighted that our Instinet Newport® platform has been recognized by Markets Media. I’m also proud to be part of a team that has demonstrated a great degree of continued commitment to our business and our clients in a year that has brought many challenges to both our personal and professional lives. While Instinet Newport has won several awards in the past, I find it especially gratifying that our client focus, innovation, and resilience is recognized this year. I’d like to thank client support and the product and development teams for delivering a great client experience against the backdrop of explosive volumes and high volatility. And, of course, thanks to our clients for working with us and trusting us to be a crucial part of their daily execution workflow.
Please describe what Newport is all about — what are the primary capabilities and how does it differentiate in a competitive landscape?
Instinet Newport is our broker-neutral, multi-asset class EMS that was designed to deliver an all-in-one integrated workflow for institutional traders. The specialized Portfolio Trading DNA of the platform includes fully integrated real-time analytics and advanced workflow automation tools. This means clients can automate the “simple” order flow through controlled best-ex competitions, and hone in on the tougher orders through a powerful analytic lens to aid in decision support. And we designed the platform to be fully customizable – including the ability to quickly and nimbly create bespoke automation. Clients can tap into our extensive network of brokers, algo stacks, and venues to trade 24/6 across over 65 countries. Newport’s multi-asset trading capabilities include equities, complex order types, options, and futures on one seamless system. Newport is built on exchange-grade technology and market-tested by leading firms and our own high-volume agency business. Our EMS is continually developed and supported by an experienced team that understands client workflow needs and the trading environment, and can help dig into Newport’s deep capabilities to meet almost any trading need. As data increasingly drives how traders approach execution strategies, we’ve embedded our rich analytics offerings into Newport, though they are also offered as standalone platforms. When you consider the full solution set of Newport, our Analytics suite, and our workflow automation capabilities, on top of knowing that you can comfortably engage with a single provider that will consult with you to tailor a solution across those three components, it is pretty compelling.
How have EMS users’ needs evolved over the years and how has Newport adapted?
I think most participants in this industry try to do more with less every year and technology is the great enabler. We designed our workflow automation to specifically address that trend. A broker wheel is a popular example of workflow automation, and obviously the uptake to these types of solutions has been and continues to be significant. Newport has shown itself to be very powerful for those using broker wheels, because monitoring this flow and applying our analytics intraday offers extraordinary transparency into their performance in real time.
Clients seem to like that we present a seamless convergence of the tools they want, whether it’s the dynamic front end of Newport, the ability to quickly implement a broker wheel rotation, or our deep and rich analytics. Knowing they can have all of it or that our tools can stand alone from each other is an appealing option. Having a single, integrated vendor also provides a lot of efficiency to the buy side. There’s that doing more with less theme again.
What are recent accomplishments for Newport?
The past year brought us plenty of challenges: unanticipated volumes, unanticipated workspace and operational shifts, unanticipated geo-political volatility. It was a proving ground for the quality of our Execution Desk team, our scalability, and our advanced technology-integrated model.
We’ve made great enhancements to our customized pre-trade and real-time monitoring dashboards. Our real-time analytics toolkit has rich visual features for performance monitoring and order/trade visualization.
And we know 2020 and early 2021 were challenging markets — Instinet Newport deftly handled multiple record volume days without issues this past year. Trading days in excess of $7bn became almost routine. Our investments in scalability and massive increases in data storage and the Cloud (via AWS) are part of that capacity.
We made several senior-level new hires during the 2020 period in order to expand our ability to provide experienced, proven insight and deep expertise to clients during this tumultuous environment. We also added senior talent in the areas of desktop platforms, algorithmic development, liquidity strategy, and quant analytics.
What are your current initiatives for Newport?
We have an increased focus on presenting the Newport functionality to both sides of the street and seeing organic growth with Newport as a sell-side solution. Sell-side outsourced relationships have dramatically grown, with other brokers seeking to leverage Instinet’s technology and global footprint. As a result, we’ve translated the value of Newport EMS to the broker-side OMS, and the demand to deploy it has been expanding organically. Part of the interest we see from the sell side has to do with the efficiency of consuming a full, top-tier solution set from a single vendor and not having to consume from multiple.
The strengths of Newport apply to both the sell side and buy side. We fit our whole tech stack behind all of our analytics in Newport and have been expanding upon our broker-wheel capabilities for all clients so that the analytics monitoring and feedback loop works hand-in-hand with execution for them. We offer a unique level of transparency in the broker wheel process, letting clients set an automated, randomized, unbiased selection across their executing brokers according to routing criteria they choose.
Many participants have turned to us over the years because of our unique combination of markets and technology expertise, asking to outsource components of their trading life cycle to us. Increasingly, clients have also asked Instinet to build customized infrastructures, bespoke platforms, and uniquely integrated software solutions for them. In response, Instinet Technology Services was formed in 2020 as a dedicated business unit to build and deliver these kinds of solutions for clients. We think of ourselves as a collaborator and solutions provider, offering our software and integrated services either on a front-to-back or on a highly customized à la carte basis.