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Devexperts – the new phase in platform development

Interview published in ForexMagnates Quarterly Market Report For Q3 2012

The online foreign Exchange trading market has been dominated by a handful of trading platforms. Brokers who entered the markets in the early 2000’s started off with their own unique proprietary platforms, as the market grew and expanded the whitelabel concept flourished and new firms were setting up using existing off the shelf technology which was the standard in the market. Devexperts a financial technology firm had developed custom trading platforms exclusively for a couple of clients in financial derivatives (outside Russia). Those plat forms have been very successful and came with a wide range of useful features from a trader and broker perspectives.

Forex Magnates team caught up with Devexperts’ VP of FX Products Stanislav Stolyar to find out about the firm and its products as they prepare to unfold a new trading platform aimed at the masses.

Please provide background of the company, projects you have worked on in the past, company registration, directors and their expertise.

Devexperts is a financial software-development company with headquarters in St.Petersburg, Russia. Our R&D centers are located in St.Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, while our sales offices are in Japan and USA. Devexperts is led by a team of dedicated professionals, each with 10+ years in financial software industry. Ten years ago, we have made a decision to have a very clear focus and become experts in a specific area. Even though from time to time there were multiple opportunities to engage into various projects not related to financial industry, we were able to stick to this decision, maintaining our focus and growing expertise. Well, actually, one of Devexperts solutions, monitoring system, is not directly related to financial industry, but the core of this system is the same high-performance message bus that has been created in-house for our trading platforms.

Why has the company only worked with two non-Russian companies in the past?

For quite some time we have two major clients, at the same time we also have enjoyed working with financial companies on the Russian market for over 8 years. Major securities brokers include Kit Finance, BFA and OSL. Additionally Russia’s exchanges, RTS and MICEX, (recently underwent a M&A into Moscow Exchange) have been our clients since 2006.

Currently MICEX-RTS uses Devexperts FAST and FIX gateways as well as monitoring system MARS. Over the last two years our sales & marketing interests have expanded geo graphically, we opened representative offices in Tokyo and Shanghai, in addition to our presence in USA.

During last year we have been working with another European client on one of the most intriguing project in yet to come, it is scheduled for launch this autumn. We are also working on an exciting project for equities and derivatives in Asia. It is working with a partner firm in India and is looking at a solution to launch high frequency trading on the leading stock exchange NSE (National Stock Exchange in Mumbai).

Devexperts is also a market data vendor; we provide market data for all US-traded instruments as well as historical data, corporate actions and fundamentals. We believe Devexperts is becoming a better-balanced ser vice/ solutions vendor for the financial industry. We feel that we have not spent enough resources on sales and marketing in the past, as per our new growth strategy this will be changing.

What are the main reasons why you decided to offer your platform to the wider market?

For the past several years we were regularly receiving leads when some brokers were willing to work with us (as a softwarevendor, system provider) based on our experience and proven record in this domain. However we found that clients weren’t ready to make substantial investments in an expensive project of developing their system from scratch.

Nowadays clients rather favor an option of having a “ready to use” system to jump-start their business, which may be further developed and customized according to their needs as they go. So, one day we realized we have enough experience and domain knowledge to build a “generic” online-trading system and offer it as a simple, yet powerful “turnkey” solution or substantial parts of it as building blocks for more complex environments.

What makes your platform different?

Over the last decade we have built platforms that were tested in the most difficult market conditions, the rapid price movements of 9/11, and the May 2010 “Flash Crash”, our systems have gone through hundreds of non-farm payrolls, unemployment rates, new home and retail sales announcements, while handling tens of thousands of online users. Using our systems and technologies you are backed with creativity, skill and integrity of system design that minimize the chance of failures and time to recover.

Our platform is highly modular – you can take almost any piece and integrate it alone with your existing infrastructure – like playing a Lego. Combined with our strong belief in long term relationship with our clients this provides great power to customize and grow platform in any direction, following your needs.

What new technologies have been used?

dxFX Suite backend part – dxCore – is created in Java and provides support for generic business logic of a trading platform. It relies on our message bus, called QDS, which has proved its maturity. On web-UI side dxTrade utilizes Flex technology, which saw its performance and stability improve significantly by Adobe over last 2 years and works reliably in all modern browsers. Our desktop version of powerful trading terminal for professionals – dxTradePro – is also a Java application, which works perfectly on Windows and Mac platforms. Mobile apps exist for smartphones and tablet versions and are native iOS and Android applications.

Who is the target market in terms of traders?

dxTrade is the perfect platform for beginners and also advanced traders. It’s easy to use interface, configurable layouts, technical analysis module, dashboard, news module, market calendar, alerts and social integration will attract all types of traders. dxTradePro with its algo-trading module, complex orders and strategies, support of multiple screen configurations and highperformance UI is the platform of choice for professional traders. Both platforms connect to the same high-performance OMS: dxCore.

What type of brokers do you target – startup or established ones?

For startup brokers we are ready to provide a full-featured solution – dxFX Suite:

  1. dxTrade platform (browser-based)
  2. dxTradePro (desktop)
  3. dxMobile (iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone and tablet versions)
  4. dxDeal – risk management, exposure, A/B books
  5. dxBackoffice – CRM, data consolidation, reporting and compliance solution
  6. dxLiquidity – liquidity provided by the leading banks, ECNs and PBs
  7. MT4 bridge

Established brokers willing to diversify their platforms portfolio can benefit from integrating dxTrade/ dxTradePro and dxMobile into their trading environment, without changing their OMS and other subsystems. Larger brokers running multiple platforms will like our dxBackoffice solution that will help them consolidate all their clients, accounts, introducing brokers, commission schedules, regulatory reports – all in one place in order to be able to see in real-time a “bigger” picture of their business, or to dig into particular IB or even one account within the same platform. Any component of dxFX Suite can be integrated into brokers existing IT and trading infrastructure.

What are some of the specific features?

dxTrade has a really nice layout management engine, easy-to use order entry, one-click trading, powerful charting module with ability to trade from chart and post chart with all studies and comments to Facebook, Linkedin Windows, price alerts, dashboard and quote-board view of real-time quotes, news, economic calendar and more.

Are there any advanced order types?

dxTrade platform supports market, limit, stop, trailing stop, protection and attached orders. Among others we have added a nice feature that allows you to place protection and attached orders in terms of projected profit or loss in dollars or points. Platform will fill in the right price. Professional platform, dxTradePro, supports complex order strategies.

What do you think makes a good platform?

A good platform has to be a good balance of features variety, visual attractiveness and usability. It is difficult to create a platform that is equally perfect for novice and professional traders. Product managers put a lot of effort into the design of “default” layout that will never be altered by the majority of users. We have decided to make two different platforms – dxTrade and dxTradePro, one for novice or intermediate trader and another for advanced or professional.

Apart from MT4 no other platform has had so much popularity, why do you think so? What have you learned from MT4 (if anything) that you will apply to your own platform?

Metaquotes has created the right platform at the right time and backed it with the traders community that promoted the platform, spread the knowledge and forced all brokers to adapt their technology. It was a brilliant move. Nowadays the trading platforms industry continues its transformation and growth around communities: traders sharing the same algo-trading technology/language, traders engaged in mirror trading etc. Also a new concept is getting attention in the industry. Platform becomes a container for plugins created by the members of developer’s community for traders.

When is the launch, how does the pricing work?

Platform is already available. We are very flexible in terms of cost and partnership opportunities. dxFX can be tailored to your specific needs, not just the logo and colors. We are ready to make it unique for a client to step-out from a row of brokers most of whom look like twin-brothers.

What have you planned for the next 12 – 18 months?

We have plenty of work to do.There are plans to enhance our social trading features, PAMM, CRM, add payment processing service for startups and beef-up dxTradePro with various interesting features.

Have you integrated social media?

dxTrade has a feature that allows you to publish a chart with all studies and tools to Facebook. This is just the first step. Twitter integration is also around the corner.

Tell us about the back office and risk management tools, how useful are they for dealing desk? management?

dxFX Suite can help you build an STP-brokerage, a market-maker broker or utilize a mixed approach to risk-management. Dealing desk can configure the pricing stream that your clients will see in dxTrade/ dxTradePro, process orders manually or configure STP scenario, monitor real-time exposure, zoom into client details, trading history etc. Management has access to operational reports via dxBackoffice. All clients, accounts, trading data are consolidated here for reporting and analysis purposes. Data can be imported from various sources including MT4 platform. If broker has multiple MT4 installations (and other platforms), dxBackoffice can serve as a single storage place for all operational data. Complex commission schemes can be automated within dxBackoffice in order to support business relationship with introducing and omnibus partners, it also allows them to manage their client’s accounts and see their statistics (thanks to its client-server architecture and efficient user permissions).

How can market data be integrated? Are you feeds coming from exchanges or banks?

Market data is integrated via dxLiquidity hub using Devexperts easy-to-deploy dxFeed technology. Connections to several leading banks, ECNs and prime brokers are already available. However, if someone needed to add another liquidity source it can be done as well.

New trading platforms are being designed with the access to various mediums like mobile and iPads. Devexperts have collated their industry expertise plus knowledge of future trends and developed their new platforms. The forex space has evolved now to be highly technology driven, brokers and users have established workable pricing that is hard to compete with, how low will the spread of EUR USD go?. The differentiating factor is now with technology and who can build the fastest, best looking and most feature laden platform.

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