Summer C-Level Series: Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity

Terry Flanagan

What have been the major themes of your business so far this year?
We are seeing a couple major themes throughout the financial software business. First, trading firms are minimizing time from trading strategy development to deployment. Financial markets are more complex than ever – meaning that firms need to tweak money-making strategies throughout the day, week or month. This means that the software itself needs to be ‘architected’ in a way that is flexible and allows fast iterations.

Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity Software

Hazem Dawani, OptionsCity Software

Second, the trading community is becoming increasingly collaborative. For an industry that has been secretive about how and where it makes money, traders have begun to embrace open sourcing and a build and buy mentality – which means that traders are demanding software and tools that they can customize to fit specific parameters.
What has surprised you in 2014?
The most surprising thing has been the attention that Michael Lewis’ book generated on ultra-low latency and high-frequency trading. For those inside the industry, we understand that trading firms are all fast. What they are focusing on, instead of squeezing an extra microsecond, is flexibility and intelligence – and the quick deployment of strategies. On an ROI basis, $1 spent developing a more intelligent strategy will yield more profits than $1 spent to become faster.

What are your expectations for the duration of 2014?

For the rest of the year, we expect to see a growth of modular software and a blending of the traditional build vs. buy discussion to help firms gain a competitive advantage. We are positioning OptionsCity to take advantage of these mega-trends.

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