Sell-Side Technology Awards 2023: Best smart order routing product/tool—Dash Financial Technologies, an Ion Group Company

Product: Sensor


Despite advancements in the smart order routing (SOR) tool market, one complaint by users has been unchanged for years: a lack of customizability. Nearly all platforms now offer parameters that can be adjusted for variables like aggressiveness and the opportunity to select liquidity destinations. However, the ability to truly tailor strategies for desired speed, yield capture, fee mitigation, price discovery, or other parameters is rare. Given the pressure faced by sell-side firms to provide value and reduce costs, this flexibility is paramount.

“Dash has been fortunate to carve out a very successful niche in the options execution space over the last decade, and Sensor is key to our offering. By marrying its advanced technology with an extremely high degree of customization and the transparency offered through Dash 360, we’re able to 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

The solution

Several years ago, Dash created its Sensor algo trading/SOR platform, which includes a suite of benchmark and liquidity capture strategies for US options and equities. The suite was built with customization in mind―Dash’s concierge desk works with clients to implement the Sensor strategies in the same way a tailor creates a bespoke suit. Clients work with Dash to fine-tune the strategies to their specified firm, trader, or even symbol-level preference. Working in tandem with the Dash360 Analytics portal―which provides transparency into how their orders were routed, how much liquidity capture was achieved, and the associated fees or rebates―Sensor users can create a perpetual cycle of execute, analyze, and refine that enables performance optimization.

Secret sauce

Sensor offers unique functionality, especially for trading US listed options, a market in which Dash is the largest agency execution provider. Trading options requires specialized tools to address the market’s unique structure and intensive data consumption requirements. Sensor was built with these in mind, with specific functionality designed for complex execution scenarios such as crossing, order book interaction, and volatility trading.

Recent enhancements

  • The continued refinement of Dash OMS, built specifically for traders with options-centric workflows
  • The continued refinement of Dash ATS, an alternative trading system designed to solve the liquidity sourcing challenges inherent in today’s US listed options market
  • Further integration within Ion, specifically to help Ion’s European-domiciled clients gain greater access to Dash’s products and services

Future objectives

  • Global expansion of Dash’s options product suite. Dash held its first roadshow event in Amsterdam in November 2022 and hosted its London event in April 2023.
  • Further enhancements to Dash OMS, including incorporation of Dash 360 transparency tools into the front-end and introduction of broker-neutral capabilities
  • Tighter integration into other Ion Markets’ technology platforms based on client needs

Why they won

Dash Financial’s Sensor smart order routing tool has delivered yet again for the New York-based algo trading specialist, following up its successes in this category in 2020 and again last year. Sensor, which includes a suite of benchmark and liquidity capture strategies for US options and equities, is all about customizability, allowing users to tweak a wide range of parameters to support their execution endeavors.

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IMD & IRD Awards 2024: All the winners

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