Equinix Offers Trading Firms Access to Atomic Clock Timestamp

When it comes to trading, time matters. It matters all the way down to the microsecond, especially for firms when it comes time for compliance checks and oversight.

Equinix, a provider of market data centers, announced it is bringing its clients “High Precision Time” via connectivity provider Perseus Telecom to each point of the globe. Each data center will now offer a standardized time-stamping service linked to the atomic clock for electronic trading.

It is being made available in financial markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Financial firms collocated in Equinix data centers in North America, Europe and Asia stand to greatly benefit from this new offering, the firm said, which reduces the costs of electronic trading through more efficient and cost-effective trade verification.

In the financial industry, time-stamping all trades to NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) timing is a regulatory imperative. Equinix and Perseus have simplified this task by offering High Precision Time to Equinix customers in Chicago (CH1), Frankfurt (FR2), London (LD4), New York (NY4) and Tokyo (TY3). By offering financial firms a standardized method of time-stamping trades globally, Equinix enables them to more efficiently and cost effectively connect to the NIST time scale in Boulder, Colo. through the very data centers in which trades are occurring.

Equinix’s diverse financial services ecosystem, comprised of more than150 exchanges and trading platforms and 480 buy- and sell-side firms, presents Perseus with a rich pool of prospective customers. Companies wishing to use High Precision Time can simply request the service from Perseus, who can then set up a cross connect within Equinix’s data centers. Customers new to Equinix that come through Perseus’ offering can join.
Equinix currently operates more than 100 global data centers.

With certified time stamps to sub-nanosecond accuracy, Perseus provides an objective measure by which to award trades that occurred first. High Precision Time can be calibrated to customer need with options to adhere to NTP (Network Time Protocol) and PTP (Precision Time Protocol). It provides companies an alternative to connecting to NIST through GPS or ingesting time across NTP over the Internet, both methods susceptible to disruption or malicious attack.

Perseus’ turnkey service eliminates the operating costs of time stamping for traders, including the purchase of stratum 1 atomic clock infrastructure, the network costs associated with connecting to NIST and the human capital required to man such a system and match trades on the back end.