When Activ Financial launched in 2002, it was considered a low-latency, options specialist. But the plan was always to expand and become a major player in the world of market data. Fast forward to 2013 and Activ has a distribution network across North and South America, Europe and Asia, and has added over 15 feeds across different asset classes since last year. This growth led the Sell-Side Technology Awards judging panel to name Activ the best data provider to the sell side for 2013.
As a result of this expansion, Activ has been able to find a home among tier-one banks and brokers as it has increased its client base from smaller trading shops to some of the largest sell-side firms, says Will Kennedy, Activ's executive vice president of global strategy and business development.
"As a result of these efforts, we're encouraged that we're in a series of conversations with large sell-side firms," Kennedy says. "They're acknowledging that Activ has a content set broad enough for us to address a much more significant percentage of their requirements."
Just as importantly, Activ has been an early adopter of cutting-edge technologies, especially field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology, says Frank Piasecki, president of Activ.
"We're getting this award and recognition for our data, the data quality and coverage. However, the way we achieve that quality is through enabling technologies," Piasecki says. "One of those mechanisms is to future-proof our capacity within our system-that's our collection system and distribution system. When we show sell-side technologists and data strategist how we've designed for capacity planning, at the core of that is FPGA technology and the supporting data distribution technology."
Recently, Activ has worked to grow its asset-class coverage in fixed income and has expanded its capabilities in the foreign-exchange (FX) and over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives spaces, while in May, it went live with its new co-location facility for the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Additionally, ahead of the May 31 Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada deadline, Activ went live with its production environment in Toronto, allowing clients to address new regulatory demands for pre-trade risk checks across all asset classes.
ACTIV FINANCIAL REACTION
"Activ Financial is thrilled to be recognized as the best data provider to the sell side. We are continually adding innovative technologies to address the demands of the current market, which is characterized by growing data volumes and sources, global trading strategies, and continued cost pressures. Our clients are looking to access more markets at lower costs. Receiving this award demonstrates our commitment to providing our clients with a high-quality, comprehensive market data and infrastructure solution to manage the growing data volumes in an operationally efficient and cost-effective way. It is a testament to the hard work of our dedicated employees and the strength of our partner relationships that we continue to be able to offer such a valuable service to the sell-side community."
Frank Piasecki, president, Activ Financial