Neena Dholani, Global Marketing and Programme Director
The first half of 2018 has been far from quiet. Whether it’s the Beast from the East bringing trains to a standstill or fun in the snow for our children, the endless conversations about Brexit, or the Royal Wedding bringing cheer on a sunny day. As for the City of London and the wider European markets, the first six months have been just as busy, with the implementation of MiFID II standing out as an all-consuming challenge. It’s still early days, but things appear to be moving in the right direction, albeit with some issues still needing attention. A lot of that early success appears to be the general climate within the industry as one of collaboration and information sharing, and also in large part down to firms’ willingness to adopt change and technological innovations to drive the industry forward. Quite simply, business and technology working in synchronicity together to get the job done!

FIX Trading Community Working Groups have been more active than ever as testament to this, reaching a crescendo in discussions at the 10thanniversary FIX EMEA London Trading Conference held in March, where over a thousand members and participants gathered in Old Billingsgate to discuss key topics, network with their peers, as well as exhibit and showcase the latest technology. Up for discussion on the day were a myriad of themes, principally the key European regulatory challenges emerging, in particular, from the 20,000 pages of MiFID II. Panel conversations were far reaching, with some of the highlights being best execution, post-trade data flagging and understanding the use for the right data, the electronification of fixed income, cybersecurity, and the use of blockchain. The one overriding concern that emerged was the central importance of good standards and good data.

Discussions continued in April at the FIX Trading Community Americas Briefing in New York, where participants agreed cryptocurrencies need to be in full focus, with planning around them now a priority in the US. The electronification of the fixed income markets, as well as digital crypto and blockchain, are also areas that members agreed were a high priority.
Then in May, the FIX Trading Community Milan Regional Meeting looked at data quality issues posed by trade and transaction reporting – a key stepping stone to help achieve MiFID II objectives. Panellists addressed how firms should use the data they have access to as well as transparency challenges of data fragmentation, the different interpretation of data, different standards, challenges in order and record keeping, and how FIX can support these challenges. The Members of the FIX Trading Community are actively working on all of these topics throughout the year on the Steering Committees, Subcommittees and Working Groups across EMEA, Americas and AsiaPac.

Business must continue as usual, as fresh challenges require dynamic responses, which is why the FIX Trading Community is holding its London Summer Regional Event on the 27thJune in London, this year kindly hosted by Colt Technologies. Designed for both buy-side and sell-side, exchange and vendors alike, the agenda will provide expert insight into the challenges ahead. It stands to be a lively meeting, six months on from the MiFID II deadline, discussing where we are with implementation as businesses adopt new practices to adjust to the regulatory framework. As with all FIX Trading Community events, the neutral environment enables free discussion and the evening will bring together industry experts who will focus on current issues that will impact electronic trading in the EMEA region for years to come, and provide essential insights on current and future trends. As well as hearing from the speakers, the event itself will provide an essential networking opportunity to discuss the Working Groups’ activities ranging from cybersecurity, to blockchain, MiFID II and fixed income, as well as TCA best execution and more.

The individuals who give up their spare time to work together to solve some of these pressing issues through the FIX Trading Community Working Groups make a huge difference. I joined FIX Trading Community as Global Marketing and Programme Director recently, having previously come from the world of electronic fixed income trading, where I worked for many years with banks selling into the buy-side engaging with vendors to increase electronification of the fixed income market. I could see before I joined the difference collaboration between business and technology can make. It is clear that regulation has been a driver of technology adoption in this area and that FIX Trading Community will continue to play a key role in helping the industry achieve these goals.

As we go into the second half of the year, we will all be looking forward at the trading landscape for 2019 and beyond. We know that the London Regional Event on the 27thJune will be an opportunity for members to engage and collaborate on core industry challenges. I, for one, look forward to meeting you there and hearing about the issues you think are key to moving the industry forward.