Financial Technology Laboratories Release Enhancements to BondPub Bond Execution Management System for Fixed Income Markets

BondPub provides bond traders a fast and reliable method for quote distribution and order aggregation across multiple trading venues in one application, enhancing productivity.

FT Labs BondPub

Financial Technology Laboratories, Inc. (FTLabs), a leading technology solution provider for the fixed income securities market, announces enhancements to the BondPub fixed income liquidity management system for the second quarter of 2020.

Designed by electronic trading industry experts and built for use on Windows and the Amazon AWS platform, the combination of FTLabs BondPub liquidity and execution management software and FTLabs BondHub managed routing network enables fixed income traders to centralize and manage much of their daily workflow from a single screen.

BondPub is a highly responsive and productive software tool for active corporate, agency, and municipal bond traders that want to free up hours of their day otherwise spent manually updating multiple systems. It is scalable for use by a single trader or by an entire department with any updates immediately reflected in real-time on the screens of other traders on the desk. BondPub provides:

  • Multi-level quote pricing and distribution to multiple ATSs from one spreadsheet-like interface
  • Mass quote markup/markdown
  • Aggregated order blotter showing consolidated view of all ATS orders
  • Configurable order alerts through pop-ups or email
  • Enhancements for taxable traders with spread-to-benchmark pricing and two-sided markets

“Productive management of quotes demands fewer mouse-clicks and keystrokes. BondPub achieves this with an intuitive workflow interface and reliable network connectivity. This translates to speed and accuracy, which is what matters in the market today,” says Robert Bottoni of American Capital Partners LLC.

The FTLabs BondHub managed, hosted routing network enables BondPub to communicate with ATSs and clearing firms with:

  • Outgoing quote distribution to the ATSs and other systems
  • Incoming orders and drop-copy trade notifications from the ATSs and other systems
  • Outgoing drop-copy trade notification for integration with in-house or 3rd-party systems
  • Programming API available for system integration with both BondPub and BondHub
Finance trade manager analysing stock market indicators for best investment strategy, financial data and charts with business buildings in background

Financial Technology Laboratories Enhances Sell-Side Fixed Income Execution Management System

Financial Technology Laboratories, Inc. adds trade reporting and compliance capabilities to BondPub, a state-of-the-art software system for sell-side fixed income traders centralizing quote distribution, order aggregation, and trade reporting.

Finance trade manager analysing stock market indicators for best investment strategy, financial data and charts with business buildings in background

Financial Technology Laboratories, Inc. (FTLabs) announces new system enhancements for the BondPub fixed-income execution management system for sell-side bond trading desks, providing clearing connectivity with the major clearing platforms to allow for straight-through processing of trades, trade and account level compliance checking, and trade compliance reporting.

Built for the Microsoft Windows platform and designed by industry experts in electronic trading, the BondPub execution management system (EMS) enables bond traders to efficiently control the real-time outbound distribution of their corporate, agency, CD, and municipal bond market quotes, aggregate inbound order flow from the most requested bond trading venues, and report trades to clearing.

The BondPub application software connected through the BondHub managed connectivity network gives sell-side bond traders a competitive edge by providing them with a clean and intuitive user-interface where they can manage quote pricing and distribution to multiple fixed income alternative trading system (ATS) venues in one place. Orders from all connected trading venues are aggregated in a single order blotter. A consolidated trade blotter supports trade reporting to the major clearing platforms.

“When American Capital Partners began expanding our fixed income division, we needed a platform that would enable us to control all our ATS markets with one system. We chose FTLabs BondPub as our platform. They also built in straight-through processing so all our ATS executions instantly report and book with our clearing firm. FTLabs is turning out to be a great fit.”, said John Picerno, Head of Trading for American Capital Partners, Inc. of Hauppauge, New York.

BondPub protects the sell-side desk from broken trades and overselling with built-in distribution controls that automatically reduce quantities or remove quotes on all other trading venues the instant an order is received. It incorporates a high-performance calculation engine that supports real-time quote pricing on a yield, percent of par, or spread-to-benchmark basis.

BondPub securely connects clients to the FTLabs cloud-hosted BondHub managed connectivity network where quotes, orders, and trade notifications are exchanged with data vendors, trading venues, and clearing firms. BondHub acts as a shared integration platform as a service (IPaaS) so that client firms do not have to manage and support their own individual connectivity to industry vendors and services.

FT Labs Enhance BondPub

Financial Technology Laboratories Releases Enhancements to BondPub Bond Execution Management System for Fixed Income Markets

BondPub provides bond traders a simple, fast, and reliable method for quote distribution and order aggregation across multiple trading venues in one application, enhancing productivity.

FT Labs Enhance BondPub

Financial Technology Laboratories, Inc. (FTLabs) releases major upgrade to BondPub, a fixed income execution management system for bond traders, including:

  • Enhanced support for corporate bond trading with spread-to-benchmark pricing and bid-ask quoting for making two-sided markets.
  • Expanded integration with most major ATS platforms supporting drop-copy trade messaging for incorporating ‘done-away’ trades into the BondPub workflow.

Built for the Windows platform and designed in conjunction with electronic trading industry experts, BondPub’s execution management system (EMS) software solution enables bond traders to control the real-time outbound distribution of their corporate, agency, CD, and municipal bond quotes and aggregate the inbound order flow from the most requested bond trading venues in one simple user-interface.

BondPub gives bond traders a competitive edge by providing them with an intuitive Microsoft Windows application to manage quote pricing and distribution to multiple alternative trading systems in one place. Orders from all the connected trading venues are aggregated in one order blotter.

BondPub increases the efficiency of the trading desk with built-in data distribution controls that eliminate overselling and broken trades by automatically updating quotes across all venues as soon as an order is received.
It also includes a high performance calculation engine that supports real-time quote pricing based on percent of par, yield, or live spread-to-benchmark pricing.

“BondPub is a big productivity enhancer for our trading desk. We used to spend hours a day updating prices across all the major platforms to keep up with the markets. When we sold, we would race to update our listings to keep quantities accurate to avoid the risk of overselling. BondPub now automatically handles all of that giving us back hours in our trading day.”, said Peter Scott, Managing Director Fixed Income Investments for Moors & Cabot, Inc..

Bond Execution Management Software

Financial Technology Laboratories Launches Bond Execution Management Software for Fixed Income Markets

BondPub provides bond traders a simple, fast, and reliable method for streaming distribution of quotes and aggregation of orders to multiple trading venues in one platform, maximizing return.

Bond Execution Management Software

Financial Technology Labs, Inc. (FTLabs), a leading provider of technology solutions for the fixed income securities market, announced today the beta launch of BondPub™, a fixed income execution management solution tailored specifically for bond traders.

Built on a Windows platform and designed in conjunction with electronic trading industry experts, BondPub’s execution management solution is intended to serve as a complete solution-in-a-box that enables bond traders to control the outbound distribution of their corporate, agency or municipal bond quotes and aggregate the inbound order flow from the most requested trading venues in one simple real-time interface.

  • BondPub increases productivity by responding in a fraction of a second to confirm orders and send updated quotes.
    Key features for bond traders include:
  • High performance calculation engine that supports real-time quote pricing based on percent of par, yield, or live spread-to-benchmark pricing.
  • Security controls that eliminate overselling and broken trades when an ATS order is received by automatically updating all trading venues at once.
  • Automatic drop copy trade notifications of transactions completed on the ATS platforms into a consolidated order blotter.
  • Integration with the firm’s existing systems resulting in reduced manual keying and minimal (minimized) reporting time.

James Rucker, President of FTLabs said, “BondPub was developed with the trader in mind so that they can focus on trading in one interface rather than the mechanics of managing quotes and transacting with many different platform interfaces.”

Bond Calculator Decision

Open Source or Commercial Vendor? How to Qualify and Select a Bond Calculator.

Bond Calculator DecisionSpecialized bond calculation libraries are often used in developing financial market software applications and can be found from a few different sources – both commercial and open source. Finding the correct match for your project or organization is an important decision with potential long-term consequences. Qualifying and selecting the right vendor will help to minimize the overhead costs of current operations and avoid costly migrating to a different library.

Due diligence is required up front to ensure that the bond calculation library selected is fully accurate, performant, and compliant with applicable market conventions and regulatory rules. Making a correct choice prior to project start is key since migrating to a different library component later is an expensive and time-consuming task.

Therefore, a review of some of the considerations and concerns with selecting an open-source bond calculation library instead of a commercial library should be reviewed and understood before making a final decision. Many of the considerations for selecting an open-source bond calculation library mirror those for other open source technology components. Important criteria for vendor selection reviewed below include accuracy, support, defects and missing features, security, technical skills and development support, design choices and user-friendliness, and licensing.

Accuracy

Accuracy must be the top criteria for the selection of any mathematical library – including a fixed income bond calculation library. Even if the library produces results that are accurate 99.9% of the time, in many operating environments one exception out of 1,000 calculations represent an enormous number of support cases requiring time and effort to research and resolve. Open source bond calculation solutions just don’t commit the same level of resources to testing that commercial vendors do. Most often, the volunteer resources working with open source alternatives commit their time and efforts primarily to coding. The time – or lack of it – spent testing influences the quality and accuracy of the solution. In contrast, commercial vendors like my firm, Financial Technology Laboratories (FTLabs), spend a significant percentage of resources to building testing tools, test case benchmark databases, and repetitive automated testing procedures that are carried out after any code change.

Support

There are many open-source products that are well supported – either by the community of users or by commercial organizations that choose to offer paid support for open-source products. However, in smaller, vertical-market products like bond math libraries, neither of these is common. One of the most important considerations in the selection of a bond calculation library is the availability of technical support – both during implementation and on an ongoing basis as issues with specific securities arise that require review and research. In the absence of any support option, the responsibility and onus fall to the firm and technical users of the product within the firm. For most companies, the path to profitability and growth is the focus on their own core competencies and distinctive products in the marketplace – not spending time and resources supporting and researching issues with third-party software libraries.

Defects and Missing Features

Due to the reliance of most open-source products on volunteer labor, the release cycle for fixing bugs and adding new features can be long. Some open source projects will have a mechanism for capturing and addressing these concerns – especially if they use best practices for source code control and project management. But, many thousands of open-source projects languish as once active volunteer developers move on to other newer or more interesting projects. They continue their existence as zombies – not quite dead, but not living and growing. Defects remain unfixed. Enhancements are never finished. Community help is rarely available. This is an awful situation to be in – certainly for a bond calculation library that is fundamentally a mathematics library at the core. There are few things more objectionable than a defective or inaccurate math library. Open source projects must maintain an ongoing recruiting effort to attract new developers and overcome the natural turnover in project participants. Another common challenge shared by many open source projects is the lack of sufficient resources to complete regression and performance testing. Business analysis and QA resources are just as important as development resources for producing software that is reliable, robust, scalable, and defect free. But, open source projects rarely receive the same level of QA and testing that commercial products do. This results in unintended consequences and side-effects such as the introduction of new defects when attempting to fix existing defects or add new functionality. Unless the project is extremely well-coordinated and supported, things will be missed that affect the performance, reliability, and results of commercial products incorporating it.

Security

Security can be a difficult issue with open-source software due to the risk of incorporating malware, planned vulnerabilities, and defects in the product through inadequately reviewed contributions, inadequate engineering practices, or casual attitudes towards review and testing. These risks are not limited to open-source software – commercial software can contain these problems also. However, for commercial software, there is a responsible organization that can be held liable for exploits or vulnerabilities that are transferred to a commercial product by the incorporation of tainted or flawed open source software.

Technical Skills and Development

Which brings up another significant issue… where or to whom do you go to fix something that is broken in an open source library? In most cases, corporate users of specialized vertical market open source software products have only internal developers and resources to depend on when things break. This really defeats the whole purpose of acquiring and using a third-party software product. It is expensive to maintain an in-house resource with expert knowledge of bond mathematics to research, maintain, and fix issues. The expense to hire and maintain these experts exceeds the cost of licensing and support of a commercial product. In the case of maintaining bond calculation code internally, it’s not enough to have good developers on staff – it requires good developers with an expert knowledge of bond calculation math and market conventions.

Design and User Friendliness

Many open source products grow organically over time as new functions and features are added. Commercial products go through the same cycle – with a distinction.  Commercial product vendors usually have the incentive and resources to refactor and rebalance the design, update the technical and user documentation, and communicate this to clients. Over time, ignoring these tasks can result in incorrect or missing documentation and confusing or difficult to use class structure. These things can exist in commercial software as well – but usually, these products don’t last long in the commercial market.

Licensing

Licensing is a business consideration that comes along with open-source software. This is not an issue often considered when using open source software for personal use, but can be a concern or even a liability for corporate use or incorporating into a for-profit software system. There is several different free and open source (FOSS) licensing models with different characteristics. Open source software distributed under the GPL (GNU Public License) family of licenses use ‘copyleft’ licensing which requires that derivative works be distributed under the same terms. Richard Stallman and others that developed this concept wanted assurance that their work would remain free and would benefit the whole world without being assimilated and sold for profit by corporations. Linux is the best example of GPL licensed software. Another popular open-source license – the BSD family of license – is less restrictive, but does require attribution and contains other clauses that may conflict with the software license agreement of a commercial product incorporating the BSD-licensed product. Finally, the MIT and related licenses are popular and permissive licenses that are widely used for products like node.js, jQuery, and the X Windows system. Like other licensing models, it requires incorporation of the license and copyright notices. Due to the varied terms and conditions, corporate legal counsel should undertake a license compatibility review before any free or open source software is incorporated into software intended for commercial use.

Summary

Open source has an obvious advantage over commercial software – it has no upfront cost. But, that is not the same as not having a cost – the costs are just hidden and are paid throughout the product lifecycle. They include potential licensing liabilities, security vulnerabilities, lack of development and user support, extended periods of known defects and missing features, increased cost of in-house development and support, and increased time and cost to work with poorly designed or documented products. Taken together, these costs often exceed the costs of commercial licensing.

Commercial products on the other hand – have the profit motive to encourage prompt support for security-specific issues, prompt response to defects and enhancement requests, regression and performance testing and tuning, design and documentation updates, and support for new platforms and languages. Clients of commercial fixed income security analytics library vendors like FTLabs receive these benefits along with expert financial technology consulting advice on integration and usage.

When the time to select a bond calculation component comes around, remember these points and select a reputable commercial vendor for your fixed income bond calculator. FTLabs has been in business since 2005 providing excellent components built for use with Microsoft.NET, C++, Java, and Web Services API under the FISA (Fixed Income Security Analytics) product name.