On 11th March, we witnessed the successful conclusion of the inaugural Australia FIX Conference 2009 held in Westin Sydney.
Despite the difficult market conditions, over 280 industry professionals participated at the Australia FIX Conference, making it possibly the biggest FIX and Electronic Trading event in Australia.
The conference leveraged the tremendous success of the Asian FIX conferences (since 2003) where buy and sell side participants and vendor specialists explored the dynamic world of electronic trading. The event attracted wide support from the industry as we hosted 15 sponsors representing the leading financial institutions and solution vendors.
Key Issues Covered
Throughout the day, the event addressed both business and technical issues of electronic trading in Australia with a series of presentations and lively panel discussions.
FIX Protocol and the Evolving Global Trading Landscape
What Does Electronic Trading Bring to the Australian Market
Electronic Trading - Buy-Side, Sell-Side and Exchanges Perspectives
Trading in International Markets
Performance Benchmarking, Best Execution and Cost Analysis
Smart Order Routing
Case Studies: FIX Tried and Tested in Australia
The Future Capabilities of FIX
The event was kicked off by Bridie Barry of Sky News. The lovely guest host warmed up the audience with a few funny interactive survey questions, where delegates cast their votes using the special voting handsets provided. It was followed by a welcome note from John Fildes, the global co-chair of FPL, who highlighted the interesting fact that in Australia, which was one of the first markets in the world to go electronic, FIX has only started to gain significant usage fairly recently.
The morning plenary started with an interesting video interview of Michael Block of FuturePlus Financial Services, who set the scene of the day by illustrating why the industry needs to change in order to allow superannuation funds to access global markets more effectively. He cited that providing better transparency and reducing trading costs are amongst the top priorities apart from driving better returns. His views were echoed by Richard Coulstock, Head of Dealing of Prudential Asset Management in Singapore who highlighted the change of role of the buy-side over the years in order to fulfil the increasing demand of their clients.
Greg Yanco, the regional commissioner of ASIC, highlighted the latest plan of the regulator in tackling various industry issues. For those who were not familiar with FIX Protocol, Martin Koopman, former co-chair FPL Americas Regional Committee, gave a timely overview.
After the coffee break, the buy-side panel and sell-side panel discussed the past, present and future of electronic trading and FIX usage in Australia. The interactive voting sessions catalyzed further debate among the panelists, which comprised representatives from domestic and international brokerage firms and buy-side firms.
The afternoon session started with the thought-provoking presentation of Seth Merrin, CEO and co-Founder of Liquidnet, who looked at the new institutional landscape and the power shifts to buy-side.
Another highlight was the exchange panel discussion, chaired by Greg Yanco. With the audience having rated “Licensing of Alternative Trading Venue” as important as “Tackling the Global Financial Crisis”, it sparked interesting and at times controversial discussions amongst the representatives from various exchanges, alternative trading venues etc. Issues such as supervision, pricing, competition, etc. were also brought up. Greg also highlighted how he is reforming his supervisory team to further improve the engagement with the market.
The Solution Panel Discussion kick-started with an invigorating speech from Mark De Courcey of Perpetual. The panel discussion looked at the various technology and solutions available in Australia and discussed the criteria of vendor selections. The original developer of SEATS, John Cameron and the founder and CEO of IRESS, Peter Dunai were among the panelists.
The trading practices breakout session, chaired by Michael Corcoran of ITG, looked at how electronic trading impacts the daily operations of the trading desks with the views of buy-side, sell-side and vendors.
The technical breakout session hosted by John Cameron (Orc Software) and Zoltan Feledy (State Street) generated a lot of participation from the audience. The session, with an open discussion concept, provided delegates a chance to gain face to face access to FIX professionals and discussed the nuts and bolts of the FIX Protocol. The delegates expressed keen interest in FIX Protocol and there were a lot of interactions between the participants and speakers.
Looking ahead, the Future Capabilities of FIX session featured a joint presentation from Kym Graham of Instinet, Martin Koopman and Jason Lapping of SG Securities. The presentation was rich with data and insights from the perspectives of US, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
The final session of the day, presented by Andrew Fraser of Dimensional and Matthew Saul of Fidelity, explained how their firms implemented FIX to trade in and out of Australia whilst Danny Lee of NYFIX focused on the technical implementation issues.
Chris Jenkins, co-chair FPL Asia Pacific Regional Committee, rounded up the day with the final voting question of the day and it was clear that the majority would like to have FIX more widely used in Australia.
Following this very successful FPL initiative, we hope that more firms based in Australia will help to drive FIX adoption, which can only help create opportunities for more efficient trading in Australia.
The exhibition zone proved to be a very popular destination as delegates crowded the booths, enquiring about the latest industry solutions available. The FIX Protocol booth was also packed with delegates who were interested to know more about FIX and it was reflected by a queue of people waiting to subscribe to the free FIXGlobal Journal.
The day was brought to a close with a cocktail reception which made for a great finale to the day's networking opportunities.
With keen interest, the evening continued with an after event reception at the Ivy Main Bar nearby where Citi, UBS, ITG, Tora Trading, NYFIX, Charles River, TNS and FPL bought rounds of drinks till late. It provided delegates with the chance to meet up with speakers, FPL representatives and other delegates in a more casual environment.
About FIX Protocol Ltd
FIX Protocol Ltd is a non-profit organization that owns the intellectual property rights of the Financial Information eXchange protocol (FIX), which is provided free in the public domain. FIX is a globally recognized messaging standard enabling the electronic communication of pre-trade and trade messages between financial institutions, primarily investment managers, broker/dealers, ECNs and stock exchanges.