3Forge Strikes Anvil at Real-Time TCA

By analyzing costs across multiple dimensions, firms can see and react faster to any underperforming areas.


The Anvil software runs within a firm’s infrastructure, capturing market data and order and execution data from the firm’s trading systems, so the data never leaves the firm. Then the software displays the analytics via either a software user interface or a web-based front-end.

The premise of Anvil is that by analyzing trading costs in real-time in different dimensions, firms can react faster to address any areas of trading that are underperforming. 3Forge founder and chief technology officer Robert Cooke says the platform would ideally collect market data in the form of trades and quotes, plus a firm’s own orders—both parent and child orders—and executions. 

“You don’t have to give us everything—though you really do need to give us at least orders or executions—but the more that you put into the software, the better results you will get. As you add each new field, you’ll get more out of it. And if you give us acks [execution acknowledgements] as well, we can also show you latency, and create alerts based on latency,” Cooke says.

Anvil allows users to slice data by six dimensions, including symbol, sector or industry, account, strategy, or orders and executions, among others. For example, portfolio managers could use it to leverage TCA as a stock screener to see what symbols they should move in or out of. Or similarly, they could look at data on particular sectors or industries to see which are performing well or badly. Users such as quantitative analysts could look at the data broken down by individual trading strategies to see which are performing well or badly, and could discontinue or change an underperforming strategy, while salespeople could look at the data on an account-by-account basis to provide a high-touch service to important clients, or at the performance of individual orders within a portfolio, and take action.

Anvil currently supports equities trading, though potential clients have also expressed interest in using it to analyze foreign exchange and fixed income trading as well, says John Akbari, chief business officer at the vendor.

Cooke says 3Forge developed Anvil after three large banks separately approached the vendor asking for this kind of product and saying that they had each tried unsuccessfully to build it themselves, whereas 3Forge already “had a lot of the building blocks in place.”

However, the product represents a different proposition and a different type of sale for 3Forge, focusing on clients in a firm’s risk management group rather than its base of IT departments, Akbari says.

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