Sell-Side Technology Awards 2019: Best Automated Trading Platform—FlexTrade Systems

FlexTrade wins the best automated trading platform category at this year's SST Awards, thanks to its FlexTRADER integrated multi-asset EMS and OMS.

Lak Loi, Louis Rudd and Vahid Shirani

Once again, FlexTrade wins the best automated trading platform at the SST Awards, winning the category for the third year in succession. FlexTRADER, the firm’s integrated, multi-asset execution management system (EMS) and order management system (OMS), allows users to execute orders either by way of algorithms or instantaneously. Clients can trade through multiple execution venues as well as set asset-trading strategies, customized according to their preferences. It allows them to create proprietary algorithms if they wish, although the EMS also provides access to broker-developed algorithms. FlexTRADER includes pre-trade, real-time, post-trade and predictive analytics and optimized portfolio trade scheduling, while the EMS provides control over multiple portfolios comprising several sub accounts. On the OMS side, FlexTRADER offers risk and position monitoring, audit capabilities, and streamlined compliance reporting, market-making, and principal trading functionality. 

Even with all the functionality already embedded within FlexTRADER, FlexTrade is still keen to improve its flagship offering. Jamie Benincasa, senior vice president at FlexTrade, says that one key enhancement to the platform in the past few years is an “algo wheel” that allows users to further customize trading algorithms. “There has not been a pitch we’ve done in the past year that didn’t include the algo wheel—every client wants to see it,” Benincasa says. 

The algo wheel allows clients to customize routes per stock, according to Benincasa. Along with the algo wheel, FlexTrade has also built out its analysis allowing users to see how algorithms are performing and to adjust them accordingly. Within the algo dashboard, traders can refine routing decisions in real time, a crucial function particularly for passive traders as they can choose to place trades in dark pools if there is a potential shortfall on an algorithmic route, according to Benincasa. 

Benincasa adds that FlexTRADER’s multi-asset class support has become even more important to users in the past few years as firms continue to consolidate desks and require traders to do more. “Desks are getting smaller and having a multi-asset class platform really helps clients deal with that,” he says. “Banks are cutting desks, but are asking their traders to do more.” 

According to Benincasa, three years ago, FlexTrade typically signed clients to trade just a single asset class, but since then clients have signed for two to three additional asset classes. He adds that the financial services industry has long been talking about adopting multi-asset class strategies, but that move has only recently taken hold as institutions seek to reduce costs.

Looking to the future, Benincasa says FlexTrade is focused on improving delta one, options and ETF trading functionality, which has made them the preferred vendor for brokers who are looking to add these businesses. 

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