Buy-Side Technology Awards: Best Buy-Side EMS─Portware

Grant Lowden collected the award for Portware.

Just as RealTick won the execution management system (EMS) award last year after being bought by ConvergEx, Portware earned the win in this perennially competitive category thanks largely to an acquisition of its own. In May, the company acquired a suite of technology assets from Aritas, the dark pool operator then known as Pipeline Trading Systems that had been fined $1 million by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not disclosing to customers that much of its liquidity came from a trading affiliate.

The new technology was rebranded Alpha Vision, a broker-neutral trading and analytics solution that helps asset managers improve performance and increase automation and efficiencies. It injects artificial intelligence and commission-optimization tools into the trading process by monitoring more than 40 factors in real time, and using that information to generate predictive analytics that determine where a stock may be heading and with what algorithm it should be traded. Control is enhanced while adverse selection and information leakage are reduced.

The other big change at Portware is its cloud deployment option, which has been made available on all of its products. Its 130 clients are warming to the idea of receiving the customizable Portware Enterprise trade management system over the cloud. Pennsylvania-based asset manager CBRE Clarion Securities is one of those. "If you look at the fully loaded headcount cost, outsourcing to the Portware environment is definitely economical," says CBRE CTO Bob McManus. "It's not just the support aspect-you get high availability and that would cost a lot to do internally."

Mike Harris, director of trading at Baltimore-based alternative asset manager Campbell & Co., says he is similarly impressed by Portware's cost-reduction potential. "Because many counterparties and electronic communication networks have a point-of-presence either in the same datacenter as Portware or in the same zip code, you can connect to another point of liquidity or counterparty easily and quickly, which reduces cost," he says.

Look for Portware, which offers algorithmic trading strategies in equities, futures, options and foreign exchange (FX), to focus on the latter asset class in the months to come. CEO Alfred Eskandar has promised to enhance trading and transaction-cost analysis (TCA) capabilities in that growing asset class.

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