AFTAs 2019: Best Front-Office Initiative—Pragma


The front office has traditionally been the area of the business that has received the greatest attention from a funding and technology perspective, and rightly so. After all, that is where execution and performance emanate from and firms of all description are judged on the efficacy, judiciousness and efficiency of those functions. New York-based algorithmic trading specialist Pragma wins this year’s AFTA for the best front-office initiative, thanks to its Pragma360 multi-asset algo trading platform, offering users a range of functionality, including a real-time trade monitoring tool, transaction-cost analysis (TCA) and various risk controls. It is compatible with a number of order and risk management systems, including FXConnect, FXAll and Bloomberg, while Panorama, an Algorithmic Management System, sits at its core, allowing users to monitor where orders are routed, filled or canceled in real time. 

According to David Mechner, CEO of Pragma, the aspects of Pragma360 that deliver the most value to clients are its breadth of customization capabilities and the speed with which they can be implemented. “Whether a client leverages our equity or foreign exchange (FX) execution algorithms, they leverage over 15 years of algorithmic trading expertise and focus, which enables them to customize algo behavior to a very granular level, including routing logic,” Mechner explains. 

It is no secret that the volume of real-time data and the speed at which it is generated makes it near impossible for human traders to process without the assistance of sophisticated trading tools like execution algorithms. This, Mechner says, is where machine learning algorithms add value, functionality that Pragma’s algorithms have leveraged for a number of years. “The nature of our algorithms is that they learn from previous orders as well as historical and real-time market data to identify the optimal method and venue to execute trades,” Mechner says. “Over time, the use of our execution algorithms, and thereby machine learning, has spread to other asset classes we support such as futures and FX.” 

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