Traders Take to Voice Over IP

Terry Flanagan

Trading turrets have historically been big, expensive and hard to manage. However, Voice Over IP (VoIP) technology leveraging cloud telecom and storage capabilities is enabling traders to conduct business wherever they are, without being chained to a trading floor.

An example is Trader Voice Box from Green Key Technologies, which enables global financial market participants to rapidly set up and instantly speak on private, secure voice networks without hardware. Communication takes place using a downloadable software client that is installed on the user’s PC connecting over the internet into Green Key Technologies’ cloud telecom infrastructure.

“Turrets cost $10,000 apiece, and if I am a broker in Chicago and you are my customer in New York, I need to build a T1 channel direct line from my office to your office, and I may have 8 of those going from New York to Chicago to London etc.,” said Charlie Stenger, managing director of Green Key Technologies’ Chicago office. “It is a pretty costly monthly expense and it is completely unnecessary, from our point of view, so what we created was a virtual turret; it is a Voice Over IP turret. You basically turn your computer into your primary communication tool.”

Stenger continued, “Sell side firms are spending millions a month so their brokers can have direct lines into their different trading parties. We think it’s unnecessary.”

Trader Voice Box enables brokers and traders to rapidly set up multiple private voice communication channels without the need to purchase, setup or maintain hardware

“We’ve created a mobile turret. You can actually download this onto your laptop,” said Stenger. “So if a broker is leaving New York and going to Houston to call on a customer, he doesn’t have to be out of the game for the day. He can flip open his laptop, trade the open, just like he’d be trading the open in New York, meet his customer, and trade the close, and it all fully recorded, encrypted, and stored in the cloud.”

Trader Voice Box was created with Dodd-Frank financial industry legislation and new CFTC data capture and storage requirements in mind. The effective date for the oral recording to be in place at FCMs and interdealer brokers was December 21, 2013.

IPC Systems., a provider of trading communications for financial services firms, recently launched voice recording management (VRM) service as a response to customer demand for specialized services to support their voice recording compliance efforts, reduce operational risks of managing the system and improve flexibility.

“Capital markets firms face the challenge of complying with multiple, evolving global regulations,” said Paul DiBlasi, IPC’S director of product management. “Being able to continuously capture and archive required calls as well as retrieve complete records for compliance and regulators is both an art and a science.”

Noted Stenger, “We understand that we are not going to be able to change everybody’s mind day one, that there are going to be certain people that say, ‘I can’t walk away from my PC. I’ve got too much infrastructure put in place. I’ve spent millions upon millions of dollars on these pieces of hardware.’ For companies that actually want to reduce costs moving forward, this is a great solution. Voice Over IP has come a tremendous way since the early 90’s.”

Featured ima via Flicker/Darren Kirby under CC

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