BST Awards 2022: Best buy-side algo trading tool/suite—Dash Financial Technologies, an Ion Group company

Product: Dash Sensor


Sensor is an algo suite for trading US-listed options, a market in which Dash is the largest agency execution provider. Trading options requires specialized tools to address the unique market structure and data consumption requirements. Sensor addresses these needs through functionality designed for a range of execution scenarios such as crossing, complex order book interaction, and volatility trading.

“Trading options at an institutional scale is challenging for many reasons. The market data processing requirements are a magnitude of order more significant than other asset classes, the market structure is unique, and interacting with things like complex order books requires highly specialized technology. Dash Sensor handles all of this incredibly well, while giving us the ability to customize to our precise execution needs.”
Hedge fund head trader

What problem does it address?  

Sensor includes a suite of benchmark and liquidity-capture strategies. Dash’s concierge desk works with clients to fine-tune these strategies to their specified firm-, trader- or symbol-level preference. Working in tandem with the Dash360 Analytics portal, Sensor users can create a perpetual cycle of execute, analyze and refine that supports performance optimization. The Dash360 Analytics portal provides transparency into how orders are/were routed, how much liquidity capture was achieved, and the associated fees or rebates.

Secret sauce 

A perennial bugbear cited by options traders regarding algo suites is the lack of genuine customizability. Nearly all such platforms offer parameters that can be adjusted for variables like aggressiveness and the opportunity to select liquidity destinations. However, the true ability to tailor strategies for the desired speed, yield-capture, fee mitigation, price discovery or other parameters is rare. Sensor’s customizable nature is its primary differentiator.

Recent milestones

  • Added an advanced volatility trading suite that allows users to create a basket of options orders across a series of expirations, strikes or strips of calls and/or puts to achieve their target Vega
  • Ongoing refinement of the routing logic to accommodate order type, fee schedule and other market structure changes made by the exchanges and trading venues with which Sensor interacts
  • Integration with Dash’s recently launched options-specific order management system, Dash OMS
“Dash has carved out a successful niche in the options execution space over the last decade, and Sensor is key to our offering. Marrying Sensor’s advanced technology and high degree of customization with the transparency offered through Dash360 is a game-changer. We offer our clients the ability to define performance as they see fit, analyze their executions with an extraordinary level of granularity, and then continue to optimize their strategies based on that analysis.”
Stino Milito, president, Dash Financial Technologies

Future objectives 

  • Global expansion of the Dash options product suite.
  • Tighter integration into other Ion Markets’ technology platforms, based on client needs.
  • Further integration with the Dash OMS

Why they won 

Dash Financial is no stranger to the winners’ circle of the Buy-Side Technology Awards, having won the best buy-side execution venue category in the 2020 edition. Earlier this year, it won the best smart order routing product/tool category in the Sell-Side Technology Awards, underlining its versatility across the front office on both sides of the market. Dash Sensor’s value proposition is largely predicated around the ease with which it allows users to customize their algos, an often overlooked factor when living with an algo trading platform on an ongoing basis.  

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