Chicago Algorithmic Conference Draws FinTech Professionals

Terry Flanagan

Developers of algorithmic trading software will be gathering in Chicago on Wednesday, June 12, to network and exchange ideas about the rapidly changing trading environment.

The Chicago Algorithmic Trading Conference, which is hosted by OptionsCity Software, has as its tagline “For Developers, By Developers,” signifying the emergence of trading software development as a discipline in its own right.

The event brings together algorithmic community thought leaders with those who bring virtual trading tools to life, thereby helping to shape and refine the industry.

“A major theme of this conference is our intense focus on education – to provide the latest information to the algorithmic trading and development community,” said Hazem Dawani, founder and CEO of OptionsCity Software. “By positioning ourselves as technical subject matter experts in the algorithmic trading space, we will once again bring together other industry experts to create a rich forum for the exchange of ideas and to explore the latest issues relevant to developers and financial technology experts.”

Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity Software

Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity Software

Long-only traders use an average of 8-12 algorithm providers, and commonly use upward of 50 algos across the algorithm suites, according to a report by research firm Tabb Group. These algorithms range from straight schedulers to more strategic learning algorithms that incorporate increasing levels of quantitative data.

“For the most part, there may be little difference in the outcome from one broker’s algorithm to the next, and the onus is on the trader to constantly switch in and out of such algorithms as market conditions and the state of the order change,” said Tabb Group analyst Miranda Mizen, author of the report.

OptionsCity Software created and organized the inaugural Chicago Algorithmic Trading Conference in 2012 as an educational and communal means of bridging the knowledge transfer gap between developers’ experience and the trends seen in the financial industry at large.

The 2012 conference brought together a cross-section of the financial industry, with trading and prop firms representing 44% of attendees, along with vendors (20%), students (19%), and banks/hedge funds (15%).

The conference presents an afternoon of sessions detailing topics and trends echoing through the financial technology community. Participants can expand their knowledge base through presentations and interactive panel discussions from leading algorithmic trading experts, as well as open crowd discussions.

“Getting a wide range of opinions about the countless decisions that go into developing a trade from people with successful track records is quite valuable, as are the networking opportunities,” said Jeff Gomberg, proprietary trade engineer at CGTA, a division of HTG Capital Partners. “My key take-away from last year’s event is that there are many ways to succeed (and fail) in algorithmic trading, and deciding how to spend your time, what problems you solve, and who you team up with is a key factor on whether you make it or not in this industry. A conference like this provides some hints to those questions.”

The event will also draw upon OptionsCity Software’s connection to the academic community through a session showcasing the inaugural UChicago Midwest Trading Competition, which was powered by OptionsCity’s automated trading platform, Freeway.

“Remaining connected to the core of education allows us to maintain an ongoing conversation with the next generation of financial technology professionals in area universities and beyond,” Dawani said.

Founded in 2006 by Dawani and fellow software professionals Victor Glava and Rudy Fasouliotis, OptionsCity specializes in building electronic trading platforms for professional options traders. The Chicago-based company has expanded its product line to other asset classes such as futures and equities, as it aspires to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for electronic trading, infrastructure and data.
OptionsCity developed the Metro electronic trading and market-marking platform, which has powered derivative trading since its launch in early 2008.

The company’s latest product, Freeway, is a multi-asset automated trading platform designed to offer developers and traders a comprehensive environment to create, test, and deploy algorithmic trading strategies with micro-second execution.

In April 2013, OptionsCity announced an investment in its business by growth equity firm Edison Ventures, marking the first institutional capital investment in OptionsCity.

Chris Sugden, managing partner of Edison Ventures, said in a statement: “OptionsCity is a proven innovator. We believe Freeway represents the next major development for options and futures trading. Traders demand a multi-asset capability where they can quickly test and deploy new strategies.”

For agenda information and to register for the 2nd Annual Chicago Algorithmic Trading Conference on June 12th at W Chicago City Center, visit http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1210182

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