After five years’ operating as a division of TradingScreen, BidFX has emerged as a standalone business focused on delivering a workflow solution for FX.
According to CEO Jean-Philippe Malé, this has opened up opportunities to partner up with new players operating on more advanced technology platforms and with more aggressive business models.
One of the most important aspects in which BidFX’s offering differs from that of other FX platforms is that it sits within a multi-asset class trading system, he says.
“As well as operating as a software-as-a-service solution – which makes it easy for our clients to use and deploy – we offer customizations such as the flexibility to manage large orders and trade them by using different trading protocols, custom system enhancements and the ability for clients to script their own flow automation logic on top of relationship liquidity or bank algos.”
Malé says more than a dozen clients have been onboarded and that platform adoption and volumes have doubled since the start of this year. “This is especially impressive considering certain segments of the market experienced a contraction over the same period,” he says. “We expect to double in size again over the next 12 months.”
TradingScreen has announced a number of technology partnerships over the last 12 months. When asked how these partnerships have improved its FX offering through its order/execution management system, Tradesmart, Malé observes that the front office tie-up with SimCorp is an example of how the company is adding value for the buy side.
“By combining our respective expertise and products in the order and execution management system space, we can deliver cross asset coverage to the global buy side in one workflow management system for use across the entire investment and trading lifecycle,” he says. “Other partnerships – such as the addition of a new liquidity pool or algo provider – help us enrich the liquidity available to our clients and help them obtain better execution for their investors.”
BidFX is also encouraging more trading activity on its platform by developing a ‘sandbox’ environment. Malé explains that this was developed as a delivery model.
“Our clients’ trading systems are all different and they need a way to test and certify how their internal systems will interface with the rest of the market,” he says. “We wanted to offer our customers an easy way to get a very accurate view of how the system will look and behave when they decide to promote to a live trading environment.”
Another advantage of the software as a service approach is that it enables the company to take advantage of agile development techniques to speed up the product development process.
A project to create a new product or service typically starts with a research phase, which lasts between one and two months depending on the complexity of the problem, says Malé. “We then hold a series of customer and prospect workshops to present the prototype. The final design is published to the group, which starts designing the technical architecture and estimating the cost of the project.”
Joe Ahearn, co-founder of TradingScreen has previously stated that in many cases banks have curtailed enhancements to single dealer platforms, suggesting that clients are demanding workflow solutions that integrate their start-of-day, intra-day and end-of-day activities and that the limitation of most single dealer platforms is that they are restricted to a single asset class.
Malé observes that BidFX is vendor neutral. “Our clients are on both the buy side and sell side and we don’t feel it is our role to dictate what our customers should use and access to obtain liquidity,” he concludes. “We remain committed to providing an open system.”