Interactive Data To Launch Direct Exchange Feed Offering

News Wire

From A-Team Group’s Market Data Insight, March 2007: Interactive Data Corp. is set to join Reuters and Thomson Financial in offering a direct exchange data capability designed to meet the increasingly low-latency requirements of client institutions’ algorithmic trading, order management and other applications. The company plans to launch its new DirectPlus hosted service at the end of April, with Phase I of the rollout proving access to direct feeds from five high-volume U.S. exchange and ECN sources.

The new services – to be hosted in partnership with BT Radianz at the network services provider’s Nutley, N.J., data facility, selected for its close proximity to the New York metropolitan area – will complement Interactive Data’s existing Plusfeed consolidated data feed offering. By offering a hosted service – and allowing clients to collocate their application servers adjacent to its ticker plant at the Radianz site – Interactive Data believes it can provide sub-one millisecond delivery of market data.

According to Mark Hepsworth, president of Interactive Data Real-Time Services, the former Comstock, DirectPlus has been six months in the making. The new service, he says, is aimed at rounding out the company’s product lineup in the trading data space. “We want to create a complete environment for customers,” he says, citing the combination of both direct and consolidated feed access, supplemented by tick histories and Interactive Data’s range of fundamental and reference data services.

As such, Hepsworth says, clients of the new service could opt to receive DirectPlus-delivered data for time criticaltrading applications, and additionally take the consolidated Plusfeed for both back-up and value added data, such as calculations of 52-week highs and lows and other capabilities.

The hosted service approach seeks to allow customers effectively to outsource their real-time data feed maintenance activities, providing a simplified service alternative to often complex – and expensive to implement and maintain – internal market data platforms. Hepsworth points out that with regulations such as Reg NMS and MiFID beginning to take hold, the complexity of the systems – and the volumes of data they will be required to handle – will rise significantly, adding to customers’ costs.

For its release, DirectPlus will provide access to direct feeds from the New York Stock Exchange (Openbook), Nasdaq Stock Market (Level 1 and SingleBook) and the ArcaBook and Direct Edge ECNs. A second phase will include more data sources, yet to be defined. Candidates for inclusion, Hepsworth says, include ECNs like Bats and Pure Trading, as well as feeds from the Options Price Reporting Authority (Opra) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Board of Trade. Hepsworth says he would also like to see international exchanges available, including the likes of the London Stock Exchange, Euronext and Deutsche Boerse. He says Interactive Data hopes to add a European availability for the service.

The introduction of DirectPlus follows a major delivery infrastructure upgrade resulting in the launch of Interactive Data’s Titan low-latency data network last year. That in turn followed the introduction of a standard data protocol, the Comstock Token Format (CTF), two years ago, which is used by both Plusfeed and DirectPlus. The use of a common protocol, Hepsworth says, means that many clients are familiar with the feed’s characteristics, making it relatively straightforward to link to applications using the CTF API. Hepsworth says that to facilitate the new hosted service, the company “stripped down and souped up” its ticker plant software in order to minimize latency, and worked hard to ensure consistency of the CTF protocol across all the data sources it handles.

For BT Radianz, the new Interactive Data service appears to replace an earlier capability developed with the now-defunct Hyperfeed Technologies. The two announced their High Performance Center, which offered hosting of clients’ trading applications adjacent to a version of Hyperfeed’s HTPX ticker plant software, last spring. The introduction of DirectPlus, though, brings Interactive Data into direct competition with Reuters and Thomson Financial, both of which have direct feed offerings of their own. Reuters Data Feed Direct (RDF Direct) service, ostensibly designed to take the weight of the high-volume Opra feed off Reuters’ aging Integrated Data Network (IDN), provides managed direct exchange feed access. Meanwhile, Thomson Financial announced a direct feed capability, based on Wombat Financial Software’s data model, through its Thomson Data Feed (TDF) just last month, and recently announced plans to use BT Radianz as its network services provider.

For his part, Hepsworth says he expects that while some clients will opt for the hosted solution route, others may elect to receive the new DirectPlus feed at their own premises, where it can plug into applications using the CTF API. Those choosing to receive the feed at their own offices will gain access via their BT Radianz connections, and this will add some latency.

While Interactive Data doesn’t yet have any signed contracts for the new service, Hepsworth says, “we’re in discussions with potential early adopters among our client base.” Hepsworth adds: “We believe there’s a lot of life left in consolidated feeds, but we want to layer on options for our clients.”