07.22.2013
By Terry Flanagan

‘Democratizing’ Low Latency

While technology has enabled trade latency to near zero, not all market participants have the opportunity to achieve the fastest possible order and data transmission. The owners of Quincy Data and its co-owned, separately run network company McKay Brothers hope to level the playing field.

“Trying to bring a technology that only the best proprietary-trading firms have to firms that execute on behalf of clients so they can benefit from very low-latency data” could boost market liquidity broadly, said Stephane Tyc, co-founder of Quincy Data and McKay Brothers along with partner Bob Meade.

Tyc said the firms’ goal is to “build the fastest network, put more data on it, and get it to more people,” and become the ‘go-to’ when proprietary network owners stop competing for lower latency.

McKay Brothers claims its transmission routes between Aurora, Illinois and points in New Jersey including Secaucus, Halsey and Carteret are the industry’s fastest at 8.27 milliseconds round-trip.

Quincy Data uses this to provide market data along the east-west path and continues to leverage the growth of the McKay Brothers network to add market-data sources and distribution points, Tyc said.

While their microwave network delivers latencies substantially lower than best-in-class fiber between the co-location centers, it is not possible to be the fastest “from everywhere to everywhere,” Tyc acknowledged.

Quincy Data has said its Quincy Extreme Data (QED) service delivers the lowest known latencies for any commercial market-data service for CME, CBOT, NYMEX and COMEX data, using the McKay Brothers routes.

With the European CME Globex hub inside Equinix’s London/Slough LD4/LD5 data center set to begin transmitting data, all network and data sources on all continents will compete for latency. “For us, it’s another important data source that we’ll need to transport,” Tyc said, noting there is not one clearly dominant microwave network that can be sold for all traders to access the lowest latency between all global exchange data centers.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for microwave networks is what Tyc termed “meshing the world” – connecting Eurex and New Jersey, Eurex and CME, or CME and farther-flung markets such as Seoul, he said. “We haven’t yet opened (a route between) London and Frankfurt,” he said. “The fastest routes there (and to the NYSE’s co-location facility in northern New Jersey) are owned by prop firms.”

Educated in physics at Harvard, Tyc and Meade became quantitative researchers in derivatives and learned high-frequency trading before building the Quincy and McKay businesses (named for buildings they occupied in Cambridge, Massachusetts).

Their trading background helps them understand what data is most crucial for traders. Clients also inform them which bits of data are most relevant so they do not unnecessarily squander scarce bandwidth. Plus, their own background as traders is inspiring their work to “bring part of the HFT experience and know-how to a wider audience,” Tyc said.

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