OTAS Technologies’ Tom Doris is creating machines to do (part of) a trader’s job

At OTAS we use big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to extract meaning from market data and provide traders and portfolio managers with insights that would otherwise lay hidden. Our decision support tools help traders to focus on what’s important and interesting, you could say that we use machines to identify the areas that humans should be paying attention to.

I did my Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, and around 2009, it was clear to me that several of the more sophisticated hedge funds were converging on a set of approaches to market data analysis that could be unified and made more efficient and general by applying algorithms from machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Better yet, it quickly became clear that the resulting analysis could be delivered to human traders and portfolio managers using natural language and infographics that made it easy to absorb and action. At the same time, the role of the trader was becoming increasingly important to the investment process, while the problem of executing orders was becoming more difficult due to venue fragmentation, dark pools, and HFT, so it was clear to me that there would be demand for a system that helped the trader overcome these problems.

How does leveraging artificial intelligence for trading help traders and portfolio managers make better decisions and manage risk?

Experienced traders and PMs really do have skill and insight. With all human skills, it is not easy to apply the skill systematically. We can leverage AI to help humans scale their investment process to a larger universe of securities, and also to ensure they apply their best practices on every single trade.

In many professions, everyday tasks are too complex for a human to execute reliably, for instance, pilots and surgeons both rely on extensive checklists. Checklists aren’t sufficient in financial markets because hundreds of factors can potentially influence a trader’s decision, so the problem is to first find the factors that are unusual and interesting to the current situation. This is the task that AI is exceedingly good at, and it’s what OTAS does. Once we’ve identified the important factors for a given situation, machine learning and statistics help to quantify their potential impact to the human, and we use AI to generate a natural language description in plain English.

What is compelling the increased use of artificial intelligence and big data analysis in financial services?

A basic driver is that the volume of data that the markets generate is simply too much for a human to analyze, but the more compelling reason is that AI and machine learning are effective and get the results that people want. Intelligent use of these techniques gives you a real edge in the market, and that goes to the firm’s bottom line.

How do you see artificial intelligence and big data analysis playing a role in trade execution in the future? Any predictions for 2016?

AI is going to provide increased automation on the trading desk. Execution algorithms have already automated the task of executing an order once the strategy has been selected by a trader. Now we’re seeing a big push to automate the strategy selection and routing decision process. The next milestone will be to see these systems in wide deployment, and with it will come a shift in the trader’s role; traders will have more time to focus on the exceptional orders that really benefit from human input. Also, the trader will be able to drive the order book in aggregate according to changes in risk and volatility. Instead of manually modifying each order, you will simply tell the system to be more aggressive, or risk averse, and it will automatically adapt the strategies of the individual orders.

What’s the biggest challenge in acquiring new customers in your space?

Traders have largely been neglected in recent years as regards technology that helps them to make better decisions. Even when the benefits of a new tool are clearly established, it can be difficult for the trading desks to get it through their firm’s budget. Despite the recent hype around HFT and scrutiny of trading, there’s still a lag when it comes to empowering traders with the best information and tools to support them.

RSRCHXchange adds OTAS Technologies to its online marketplace for institutional research; expands universe of research providers on its platform

London, 11 November 2015: RSRCHXchange, the online marketplace for institutional research, today announced the addition of OTAS Technologies (OTAS), the leading provider of market data analytics, to the ever growing community of research providers on their platform.

Launched in September 2015, the RSRCHX platform was built in consultation with asset management institutions and research providers and designed to improve upon the cumbersome legacy practices of research distribution and procurement. The platform is designed to help asset managers buy research in a more efficient, discerning and transparent way, while staying ahead of the upcoming MiFID II unbundling requirements. At the same time, RSRCHX offers research providers a smarter, more advanced distribution tool which not only expands the breadth of their reach, but also eases their administrative burden and accelerates  payment terms.

OTAS provides traders and portfolio managers with the information needed to make better investment decisions, by offering market intelligence, pre-trade and trade analytics products, powered by artificial intelligence and big-data analysis. OTAS allows portfolio managers to access relevant signals and risk forecasts, enabling them to identify investment and trading opportunities and get ahead of the market when the risk landscape changes. By making their research available via the RSRCHX platform, OTAS is able to provide a wider group of  asset managers with market leading insight and analysis that positively impacts their investment decision making.

Tom Doris, CEO of OTAS, said: “As a firm, we are always looking to improve our reach into the asset management community, to offer access to analysis necessary to make better investment decisions. RSRCHXchange not only helps us market our insights better, but the onboarding process ensures that the necessary compliance checks are carried out up-front, making our content instantly accessible on the RSRCHX platform once onboarded.”

Vicky Sanders, co-CEO of RSRCHXchange, commented: “We are delighted to welcome OTAS to our ever increasing universe of providers. Since launch, we have been steadily growing the number and variety of providers on our platform, seeking out unique content that will benefit our expanding list of buy-side clients. The incoming regulatory changes around unbundling bring great opportunities for asset managers to access a wider range of research, and we are thrilled to make our partners’ unique insights available to a wider audience via our platform.”

FlexTrade integrates OTAS Trading Intelligence and Analytic Solutions into FlexTrader EMS

FlexTrade Embeds All Current OTAS Apps and Alerts into Buy-Side EMS

Great Neck, New York, October 27, 2015 – FlexTrade Systems, Inc., a global leader in multi-asset execution and order management systems, and OTAS Technologies, today announced the integration of OTAS Apps and Alerts, including Core Summary, Microstructure, Stacked Graph, Lingo, Express and News with FlexTRADER EMS.  The flexible integration ensures all current and future OTAS Apps will be available in FlexTRADER EMS.

OTAS is a specialist provider of market analytics and trader intelligence, empowering traders and portfolio managers with a complete view of the market. It provides customizable alerts based on users specific needs, such as short interest, insider transactions, options and CDS.  Fully embedded into FlexTRADER’s trading blotter, OTAS’ primary features include sentiment indicators, an early warning risk system, and advanced decision support for order placement timing.  OTAS Alerts are also available alongside order details in transaction cost analysis tool FlexTCA to ensure regulatory compliance and provide clients with a complete picture of the trade lifecycle from within their workflow.

Tom Doris, CEO of OTAS Technologies, said: “OTAS Technologies strives to simplify complex trading workflows for our clients, providing intelligence and analysis that enable them to make better trading decisions faster. By integrating OTAS Apps and Alerts into the FlexTrade system, OTAS and FlexTrade are continuing to address these needs for our joint clients, making it even easier for them to access the intelligence they need right from within their workflow.”

According to Vikas Kedia, Managing Director of FlexTrade UK Ltd in London, OTAS analytics are an ideal match for FlexTRADER EMS, and is an integral part of FlexTrade’s wider open-architecture policy.  “Successful technology is always deliberate, especially when it comes to electronic trading,” said Kedia.  “As such we endeavor to keep our clients trading capabilities well ahead of the curve, and ensure they have the right information to trade their best. Integrating OTAS market intelligence with FlexTRADER is the next step forward in that process.”

About FlexTrade Systems, Inc.
Founded in 1996, FlexTrade Systems Inc. is the industry pioneer in broker-neutral order and execution management trading platforms for equities, foreign exchange, listed derivatives and fixed income. With offices in North America, Europe and Asia, FlexTrade has a worldwide client base spanning more than 175 buy- and sell-side firms, including many of the largest investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers, commodity trading advisors and institutional brokers. For more information, visit FlexTrade Systems at www.flextrade.com or follow news of the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/flextrade or LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/flextrade.

About OTAS Technologies
OTAS Technologies provides next-generation market analytics and trader intelligence to the world’s leading banks and institutions. It uses artificial intelligence and big data analysis to alert clients to opportunities and risks, in real-time and in plain English, allowing them to make faster and more informed trading decisions. Due to its open architecture and extensive partnership network, OTAS is seamlessly integrated into clients’ existing OMS, PMS or EMS, providing access to OTAS Apps and Alerts from within the trading workflow.

Founded in 2011, OTAS Technologies is headquartered in London, UK with offices in major financial centres around the world. For more information on OTAS, please visit us at www.otastech.com or www.tryotas.com, our blog, blog.otastech.com, or follow us on Twitter @otastech.

OTAS Technologies Advanced Market Intelligence Available in Thomson Reuters Eikon

LONDON, 14 October 2015OTAS Technologies has today announced the availability of its advanced market intelligence and analytics directly inside Thomson Reuters Eikon. Two applications, OTAS Core Summary and OTAS Microstructure have been integrated to provide users with immediate access to OTAS analytics and visualization tools for supporting trading, risk and portfolio management from within their Eikon workflow.

Tom Doris, CEO of OTAS Technologies said, “OTAS is continually working to simplify life for our clients while ensuring they have access to the intelligence they need to make better trading decisions. One of the ways we do this is by keeping our platform open and easy to integrate with existing systems. The integration and availability of OTAS market leading intelligence and analytics in Thomson Reuters Eikon is another example of how we are achieving this goal.”

The OTAS apps were built using App Studio in Eikon, Eikon’s third party app development suite. The OTAS apps are tightly integrated with Eikon creating a seamless user experience and efficient workflow. Unlike firms with legacy architecture, OTAS is able to quickly and easily integrate with customers’ existing systems to drive a smoother transition between applications, and a more streamlined trade workflow. Combining Eikon’s news, market data and analytical tools and OTAS’ powerful data analytics and market intelligence, OTAS’ clients can leverage real-time market insight and analysis for trade decision support.

Albert Lojko, Global Head of Desktop at Thomson Reuters said: “Promoting openness and collaboration within Eikon is one of the primary reasons we created App Studio, and we’re thrilled that companies like OTAS are seeing the possibilities and creating ways to streamline workflow for our joint customers.”

OTAS Core Summary provides equity market analytics to portfolio managers and traders facilitating greater visibility into relevant signals and risk forecasts for trades. OTAS Microstructure provides live visual analysis of market events, enabling traders to adjust their strategies based on real-time market conditions and movements. Both applications are available now to use in Eikon.

OTAS Plugs Trading Analytics into Portware EMS

London-based trade analytics provider OTAS Technologies will integrate real-time trade and market analytics into trading technology vendor Portware’s Enterprise execution management system (EMS), to support the real-time trading decisions of its trader clients.

The two vendors held talks over the summer before recently signing an official agreement.Portware is currently integrating OTAS Technologies‘ analytics into its workflow, and will beta test the offering with customers before a full launch later this quarter.

Under the deal, OTAS will integrate two of its core analytics offerings into Portware’s EMS. The first is its microstructure analytics application, which provides analysis of real-time microstructure events and alerts traders to usual movements in volume, spread and price of equities. The application leverages real-time market data sourced by OTAS directly from exchanges, as well as a range of quantitative models to analyze previous behavior of stocks.

Once the microstructure analytics application is integrated in Portware’s Enterprise environment, the vendor’s asset management clients will be able to use the application to monitor the stocks that they are interested in trading or have traded in the past. Leveraging historical data, OTAS has calculated its own model for each stock to determine movements that constitute “usual” behavior.

The second piece of the deal is OTAS’ summary application, which includes information relevant to the equities markets, such as options and credit default swap data, insider transaction, technical data, news flows, events and dividend yields. Traders using the application can query an individual stock, and have the application carry out analysis and provide them with a sentence or paragraph in English describing the conditions. OTAS uses “best-of-breed” providers for each dataset, but does not expose the raw data to traders.

“We are very much not interested in regurgitating data. Rather, we want to provide the same analysis to traders that they would get after many hours of work,” says OTAS chief executive Tom Doris. “We have feed handlers that understand how to analyze information for each dataset as analyzing insider transactions is different from analyzing sentiment in the options market.”

Rather than providing the analytics as a standalone product, Portware is seeking to implement a deeper integration to provide customers with “seamless” experience, Doris says. “Portware is managing the workflow integration, but is not building an app store. We are currently working with them to explore ways to deliver a deeper integration and more detailed analytics into the EMS front end,” he adds.

Doris says there has been a major change in the industry over the past 12 months, as trading platforms have recognized the need to provide specialized analytics in the trader workflow. However, he adds the advantage of partnering with a third-party provider like OTAS, rather than building analytics in-house means that firms like Portware can focus on their core business. “It’s not that they wouldn’t be able to do it in-house, but that it would shift their cultural focus. They are an EMS provider, and they need to focus on EMS regulations, the constantly changing landscape of connectivity, and algorithmic trading issues.”

OTAS currently provides analytics for equities instruments, exchange-traded funds and futures, but may look to expand its coverage in 2016 to include other assets traded by Portware’s customers, such as fixed income.

Fidessa New Partnership Program Blends Third-Party Tools

Financial technology provider Fidessa unveiled a new partnership program that aims to allow third-party services into Fidessa’s global trading workflow platform.

“Market participants have always recognized the role that technology can play in delivering value and demonstrating relevance to their customers. The challenge with this today, however, is that many new innovations need to be plugged directly into the traders’ workflow in order to be truly effective, compliant and resilient,” according to a Fidessa press statement.

“Fidessa recognized that its global distribution and workflow infrastructure could be used to curate and deliver third party applications as well as our own,” said Steve Grob, director of group strategy at Fidessa. He added, “Our role in this program is to evaluate and select the right partners that add real value and integrate their tools with Fidessa’s platform, data and community.”

The program is built around a technical framework that allows multiple third-party applications to work directly with Fidessa’s trading workflow software. These third parties can also leverage Fidessa’s infrastructure and global reach to provide “a unified trading experience.”

The first partner in this Fidessa program is OTAS Technologies, a market analysis solution provider.

“We are excited to have been selected as the first partner in this program”, comments Tom Doris, CEO of OTAS Technologies. “We have worked closely with Fidessa’s development, deployment and compliance teams as part of this initiative. This now positions us well for the next phase of our growth by providing a common lexicon for the industry to interpret trading performance across increasingly complex markets.”

Why OTAS? As James Blackburn, global head of sell-side equities product marketing, explained, “The OTAS tools form a key part of our optimised trading initiative and sit alongside our Order Performance Monitor. They provide traders with detailed market micro-structure analysis and the ability to drill down and understand why their orders are trading the way they are, as well as what factors might be influencing them.”

Blackburn added, “Going forward we will add more and more of these tools to further enrich and add value to the trading capabilities that we provide to our clients. This will ensure that the very best new financial markets technology, regardless of who builds it, will make its true impact felt on the trading desks of today and in the future.”

OTAS Market Data Analytics Offered on Fidessa’s Trading Platform via New Partnership Program

OTAS Technologies has announced Fidessa is integrating its market data analytics into its trading platform. The announcement is part of Fidessa’s Partnership Program, which allows select third-party content providers to implement programs into Fidessa’s trading workflow.

OTAS represents Fidessa’s first partner in the new program.

“OTAS is a valuable addition to our Optimized Trading initiative sitting alongside our Order Performance Monitor to provide our customers with valuable insights into their order performance and their trading strategies,” said James Blackburn, global head of sell-side equities product marketing at Fidessa, in a statement.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the best available technology regardless of who builds it. OTAS provides a best of breed product that optimizes trading outcomes offering a complete breakdown of market conditions and allowing traders to adjust orders in real time based on dynamic market micro-structure changes.”

To read more on the announcement and Fidessa’s program, check out Joanne Faulkner’sInside Market Data story here.

OTAS integrates its market intelligence and analytic solutions into Fidessa’s Global Trading Workflow Platform

OTAS Technologies today announced that Fidessa has selected OTAS to be the first partner to deliver its market data analytics into the Fidessa trading platform. Fidessa’s Partnership Program allows carefully selected 3rd party content to be integrated directly into its trading workflow.

As a specialist provider of market analytics and trader intelligence, OTAS content is ideally positioned to seamlessly integrate into the trader workflow. The OTAS Base app suite and API makes it easy to deliver this content to existing platforms. The users can immediately benefit from superior visualisation metrics and natural language text.

Fidessa is leading the industry, recognising the benefits of partnering with specialist content providers, and in building the technical infrastructure required to deliver a seamless user experience.

Fidessa Launches Partnership Program, Taps OTAS Technologies For Analytics

Data and trading technology vendor Fidessa will today launch a new Partnership Program to provide added value to its trading customers, and has named analytics provider OTAS Technologies as the first third-party provider to integrate directly into its trading workflow platform.

James Blackburn, global head of sell-side equities product marketing at Fidessa, says the program helps solves the vendor’s problem of wanting to add value to its customers day-to-day activities without having to embark on “ambitious” internal builds.

“News aggregation, structured and unstructured news and data…that’s something that really excites us. We knew that we weren’t in the position to build some of these exciting new applications but we thought that by bringing both sides together we could work out what our clients wanted and we could really just take in best-of-breed,” Blackburn says.

Specialized analytical content has become increasingly vital to investment strategies over the last two years, adds Tom Doris, chief executive at OTAS. However, trading platform providers have realised that it is not something they can effectively build in-house, so they need to look beyond internal builds to provide their clients with more granular data, he says.

Fidessa, which started looking at the partnership with OTAS about a year ago, is not the first investment platform to explore becoming an ecosystem of content providers. “Others have effectively said ‘if you have any content you can stick it in there’, whereas Fidessa have taken a much more measured approach to curate the content and integrate it into their workflow…. they are in the coal-face of understanding how a trader gets his job done and understanding what would be irritating versus helpful,” Doris says, adding that Fidessa understands “how to take the information that we can extract from the market data and how to put it in front of the users exactly when it’s most needed and most useful.”

Doris adds that while there will always be challenges when it comes to integrating content to a single system, OTAS benefits from its use of HTML5 technologies, which are becoming the norm. “Had we tried to do this five years ago it would have been a much more onerous task,” he says.

Not an app store

Fidessa is currently evaluating future partners for its platform, particularly companies developing news aggregation, social media and visualization, and has identified a number of companies who would add valuable content. However, Blackburn says the Partnership Program is “not an app store concept. We’re looking at two or three possible partners by the end of the year but we’re not going to turn on 150 third-party applications.”

Blackburn adds that the vendor is taking a hard look at HTML5 technology as well as unstructured data, where the challenge is filtering out the noise. “Opening up a firehose doesn’t solve a problem because too many source signals are almost worse than no signals at all. Our challenge is to find the best-of-breed in that sector that can filter out all the nonsense to just show me stuff that is relevant,” he adds.