Best Options Technology: OptionsCity Software

Terry Flanagan

2013 WAS A BANNER year for OptionsCity Software. The company grew from 46 to 59 employees – and, perhaps most notably, its footprint expanded internationally with a new London office, to serve the European mar­ket and become a gateway to Asia and the Middle East. It also added to its global busi­ness development team in London as well as expanded its New York team.

“Every year, we set aggressive goals for OptionsCity – for our company, for our prod­ucts and for our role in the trading commu­nity,” said Hazem Dawani, Options City’s CEO. “Looking back, I’m pleased to say we have met and exceeded our goals in many important ways.”

Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity Software

Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity Software

Last year started off with the rollout of an online client resource hub through the OptionsCity’s algo store in January, and in March, the company announced the rollout of Metro 4.1, featuring performance enhance­ments and advanced visualization capabilities.

“Be on the lookout for v5.0, with expanded asset classes, enterprise risk management and improved analytics, in 2014,” Dawani told Markets Media.

In November, Chicago-based OptionsCity introduced Freeway Analytics, a simulation platform designed to allow traders and developers to quickly build and back-test strategies, discover opportunities and simulate real world trading based on sub-millisecond futures market data.

“Freeway Analytics, which builds on our auto­mated trading platform, Freeway, caters to more specialized trading needs, such as back­testing, simulation, and analytics,” Dawani said.

Closing out the year, the company unveiled OptionsCity Hosting. “We are able to offer cli­ents a hosted solution for Metro and Freeway as a result of building our global hosting infra­structure,” Dawani said. “Our goal is to further provide our customers with a seamless experi­ence, making our software a turnkey solution and becoming a one-stop shop from trading software to exchange access and co-location.”

The year also marked an expansion into the institutional markets. A Tokyo-based financial institution, which OptionsCity declined to iden­tify, deployed OptionsCity Metro and Option­sCity Freeway for its traders in New York and London. The trading platforms were adopted by the bank’s energy trading operations for trading on Nymex and its over-the-counter trades in Europe. The bank integrated its inter­nal systems into Metro via the Freeway API.

“In 2013, we signed up a couple of global banks, which was big for us,” Dawani said. “For 2014, we will capitalize on what we built with our international expansion and global hosting infrastructure, to widen our reach beyond our core customer base in Chicago and New York.”

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 company has expanded its trading, infrastructure and data product line to other asset classes such as futures and equities.

OptionsCity developed the Metro electronic trading and market-making platform, which has powered derivative trading since its launch in 2008.

Both in Chicago and around the world, the automated and electronic trading com­munity is expanding – and OptionsCity in 2013 took a more active role. In addition to participating in dozens of industry events and exhibitions, its 2nd Annual Chicago Algorithmic Trading Conference: for Developers, by Developers expanded to more than 350 developers, traders, and technology professionals.

“A major theme of this conference was our intense focus on education – to provide the latest information to the trading and development community,” Dawani said. “By positioning ourselves as technical subject-matter experts, 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.”

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