Buy-Side Technology Awards 2016: Best Buy-Side Commodities Trading Platform—Rival Systems

This is Rival Systems' first Buy-Side Technology Award.

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Robert D'Arco, CEO of Rival Systems

Just because you haven’t been around for a while doesn’t mean you’re not the best at what you do. Rival Systems might have only officially launched in June 2015, but what Rival Trader, the vendor’s derivatives front-end trading system, and Rival API, its algorithmic strategy development framework, lack in history they more than make up for in performance.

Chicago-based Rival nabbed the best buy-side commodities trading platform award, a category dominated in the past by Trading Technologies’ X_Trader, which won this category six times since 2007. 

“Rival Trader and Rival API provide a fully integrated trading and execution tool tailored to professional trading groups, market-makers and commodity trading advisors,” says Robert D’Arco, CEO of Rival Systems. “The platforms have highly sophisticated, innovative features and analytics that hold particular appeal for commodities traders, as commodity markets are often illiquid or highly volatile, whipping around frequently and increasing the chance that a trader will get picked off.”

One of the first things that stands out about Rival Systems’ approach to trading commodities is its contingent order feature.

Traditionally, a trader wants to trade the option as soon as the future moves by a tick. With Rival Trader, users can trade the future first, then the option, allowing them to trade with edge more effectively, according to D’Arco. This feature is particularly beneficial when dealing in illiquid commodities markets where hedging is difficult. 

Another area Rival Systems looked to address early on was offering users the ability to quote options effectively and provide liquidity during fast markets so that they can be more competitive.

Rival Systems has implemented nearly 100 new features and enhancements to the platform, the majority of which were driven by client requests and turned around within an average of two weeks of the original request.

The solution was the Auto-Quoter low-latency market-making engine, which uses advanced quoting logic to create a synthetic underlying price as the market is trading through the current bid/ask, D’Arco explains. This allows users to quote with confidence during fast markets. 

In fact, since its launch, D’Arco estimates that Rival Systems has implemented nearly 100 new features and enhancements to the platform, the majority of which were driven by client requests and turned around within an average of two weeks of the original request. The improvements won’t stop there, says D’Arco.

“This year we will further expand our direct connectivity to additional equity, equity options and fixed-income exchanges. We will be adding new Auto-Quoting functionality to enable users to further optimize their market-making strategies,” D’Arco says. “We will also be adding additional futures and options algorithms and spreading functionality that users can leverage to automate their trading strategies.” 

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