Waters Rankings 2020: Best Algorithmic Trading Provider—Dash Financial Technologies

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For all the advancement and efficiency algorithmic trading has brought to the capital markets, traders still struggle when it comes to two areas: sourcing liquidity and the rise of exchange fees. By virtue of its efforts to help customers manage both challenges, Dash Financial takes home the title of the best algorithmic trading provider in this year’s Waters Rankings.

Specializing in US-listed options and equities, Dash’s algorithmic execution and routing suite, Sensor, features various trading algorithms that serve both asset classes, including its Sensor Improve algo for single-leg and complex options, which seeks to work orders as a high-touch trader would and maximize price improvement, and which was released earlier this year.

In October 2019, the company also released Sensor Dark, a dark liquidity aggregation algorithm designed to provide traders with optimal levels of transparency, performance and control in their attempts to minimize footprints when seeking dark liquidity in a fragmented market, which preceded the re-launch of its options alternative trading system (ATS) in January this year.

Dash co-COO Stino Milito says trading volumes within the options ATS have risen every month since January. Throughout the Covid-19 shutdown, Dash’s executed listed options market share neared 20%, with the majority of that flow being handled by Sensor, as floor brokers turned to electronic ways to cross orders. “We’re just trying to give our clients another opportunity to either find more liquidity, get cheaper liquidity or get price improvement,” Milito says of the ATS. “And hopefully we can save them some money on exchange fees.”

Now that 16 options exchanges (and counting) are in operation globally, many firms—especially on the sell side, Milito says—don’t have the time or personnel to expend on nuanced microstructure expertise and knowing where to route orders and why, which is where vendors like Dash make their mark. Milito says that while there currently aren’t any plans to expand into new asset classes, the idea is under consideration.

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