Opening Cross: Will 2015 Be a Happy New Year?

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As predictable as the inevitable wave of unwanted Christmas gift returns, the New Year has brought a wave of new fees and policies from marketplaces, including a new minimum fee from Nasdaq for exchanges, ATS and broker-run trading platforms that use non-display market depth data from Nasdaq in their platforms. While the fee seems more aimed at standardizing how the exchange governs this type of usage rather than being an arbitrary price increase designed to raise revenues, no one likes the prospect of new costs—even though Nasdaq’s SEC filing says most of those affected will not pay higher fees as a result.

We’ll bring you more on new fees in the coming weeks beside Nasdaq's, along with an expanded discussion on the role of outsourced sales agents—the ranks of which grew in number during 2014, with some notable names swapping corporate structures for the freedom to bring their sales skills to bear for a range of different clients. So to whet your appetite, check out the Q&A with six industry veterans in this week’s issue, and find out how they see their roles within the industry, and what areas they expect to be hot in 2015.

The New Year has also brought more fundamental (no pun intended) changes for some: Any employees of Canadian technical analysis software provider Recognia who departed early for their holiday break will have returned to find the company under new ownership in the form of French fundamental research provider Trading Central. But according to the companies’ three-year integration plan, staff shouldn’t feel apprehensive: in fact, the deal promises greater potential for Recognia, which will receive a boost from leveraging currency analysis already developed by Trading Central, instead of having to invest in developing its own, which would have been a mandatory step in Recognia’s efforts to broaden its reach beyond active traders into the front offices of large financial institutions.

In a different kind of “coming-together,” data industry association FISD is setting up a new working group to address the data challenges facing online brokers, such as making it easier to define non-professional users and prove that a user falls into this category. The group is expected to comprise exchanges and online brokers, as well as vendors serving the brokers, to encourage cooperation between all interested parties.

Some, though, are moving in the opposite direction, severing ties with long-standing partners. For example, the Bucharest Stock Exchange has stopped distributing market data via Wiener Börse’s Alliance Data Highway feed—which consolidates data from other exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe—in favor of distributing its data directly to vendors and end users, with the ambition of becoming a Wiener Börse-like gateway to regional markets in its own right.

Meanwhile, Chicago-based single stock futures platform OneChicago is migrating off technologies operated by co-owner the Chicago Board Options Exchange in favor of its own technology infrastructure, including the OCXdelta1 trading platform that it rolled out last year and onto which the exchange is now migrating all its contracts, and a new proprietary ticker plant and distribution network.

But will these moves lead to more competition, or merely more fragmentation and higher fees? And will 2015 prove more positive than 2014? UK-based real-time systems monitoring technology provider ITRS is no doubt hoping so, with plans to release a platform for distribution and analysis of data this year, moving the vendor into pastures new, while Interactive Data has laid out a roadmap for expanding the scope and coverage of its Continuous Fixed Income Evaluated Pricing service this year that will see the service encompass new asset types and geographies.

So if you’re hungry to know about other new products in the works for this year, watch this space—we’ll do our best to make sure you hear about them first and to ensure that 2015 is indeed a Happy New Year.

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