Citadel

When Market Makers Ate Their Own…

Right out of the gate, this story might emit a whiff of last year's news. Maybe. But, that sense would only last until you realize that this is also a template for improving predictions about future events. And, that kind of predictive power relies upon the bet that more markets and opportunities are becoming winner-take-all in the digital era... (Hint: As the functioning of markets - and other economic opportunities - become more "digital," a single leader can emerge in that market. This is how we end up with the "FANG's" - Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. It's also how US equity markets end up with ~80% lit market-making flows being split between Virtu and Citadel. Here are some facts to fill in the background: In the three years beginning 2006, the Timber Hill market making unit of Interactive Brokers Group (IB) had an annual revenue run rate of around $1 billion, peaking at over $1.3 billion in 2008. By 2017, Timber Hill's revenue run rate had declined 94% to [...]

By |2020-10-14T21:51:05-04:00July 18th, 2018|For Subscribers|

What Does Citadel* Spend on Technology?

Take a deep breath... Focus your attention... Now, consider that there are only about five people on the face of the planet who actually know the answer to our opening question - What does Citadel spend on technology?  Moreover, someone would likely need to hold one of these folks at gunpoint for that executive to spill those beans. The same scenario plays out for a firm like Millennium or DRW or Jump Trading or Two Sigma or IMC or any other privately-held manager. Only a hand full of the most senior people at any one of these mythological shops actually knows the answer to the question: What does [manager name here] spend on technology? Now, if we took one giant step further into the realm of absurdity, and wanted to know what any two or more of these players spend on technology - essentially attempting to answer the question: What does any Manager X spend on technology? - then the odds become significantly more improbable. What are the odds that [...]

By |2020-10-14T21:51:26-04:00April 18th, 2018|For Subscribers|

Riffs Ep 4 – What Do Hedge Fund Managers Spend on Technology?

Set aside some time to watch Alphacution Riffs Ep 4 wherein we walk through the foundational hypothesis; key highlights; an extraordinary case study involving Citadel, Millennium Management, Point72 and Vanguard (teaser); and, the strategy behind the release of our latest - and, most impactful - study to date, "The Context Machine: Estimating Asset Manager Technology Spending" (April 2018). And, for those of you with a slightly longer attention span, stick around for another "public service announcement" at the end of this one (starting around 11:17) - as we did in the Director's Cut for  Ep 3 - Proprietary Trading, Extreme Automation. The urge to provide value to the human capital component (i.e. - you, me, and everyone in our audience and beyond) - which is actually coming to life as a direct result of our technology focus - seems to be gaining momentum... Enjoy... And, as always, if you value this work: Like it, share it, comment on it - or discuss amongst yourselves -  and then send us feedback@alphacution.com. [...]

By |2020-10-05T21:19:41-04:00April 17th, 2018|Video|

Virtu Financial: More Acquisitions on the Way, If…

When we launched our first trading program at Quantlab in the late 90's, we didn't have direct market access yet. We generated an order list (overnight) that was worked throughout the subsequent market session at the discretion of an algo-equipped executing broker; some of whom now roam the halls at Jefferies / Leucadia. This was the era when 1- to 3-day portfolio turnover was considered fast - SOES bandits were still a thing - and Schwab would soon acquire electronic trading pioneer, CyBerCorp, from Philip Berber - a short drive down the road from our Houston headquarters in Austin, TX. Of course, everyone had nicknames then - as I suspect they still do now. Ed Bosarge, founder of what eventually became Quantlab (after at least 3 prior related incarnations that began for me around 1996), was known as Dr. Evil. Let's just say it's a hair-raising story about a swashbuckling pioneer of applied math involving a hideous toupee... I was known as Mr. Bigglesworth - or, "Bigsy" for short. No [...]

By |2020-10-05T21:19:11-04:00March 27th, 2018|Open|

The Dawn of Operational Alpha

They say, it is always darkest before the dawn. They don't say, however, that no one is up and working their asses off before the first light of a new day... By many accounts, the concept of operational alpha has been around for years. I first heard this term in the context of Citadel's launch of its eponymous, mid- and back-office technology externalization effort, Citadel Solutions - later known as Omnium. Citadel even went so far as to trademark the term, operational alpha. It was the exuberant days of late 2006. The timing for mainstream appreciation of such a seemingly hair-splitting concept was not particularly hospitable. Not too long later (during the immediate aftermath of the GFC), Till Guldimann - then Vice Chairman of SunGard - was loudly promoting his vision for operational analytics; a new category of data designed to help asset managers run their businesses better and respond to market shifts with greater agility. The timing was improving, but now market operators were way too distracted - by unprecedented dislocations and the specter of regulatory [...]

By |2020-10-05T21:15:59-04:00May 25th, 2017|Open|

Virtu and KCG: A Tale of Technical Leverage?

Here's an update from the initial post on March 15, 2017... The first wave of commentary is in, and the consensus seems to be that the unsolicited bid by Virtu for KCG is all "about the little guy." In other words, this deal is all about the position of a wholesaler relative to retail order flow. Maybe so. There is also some suggestion that these firms are not competitors; that, in fact, they may be complementary. Ok, I guess. But, widen your interpretation of the situation a bit and consider this: According to the 2016 Virtu 10-K, it is disclosed that, "We make markets by providing quotations to buyers and sellers in more than 12,000 securities and other financial instruments on more than 235 unique exchanges, markets and liquidity pools in 36 countries around the world." The notable liquidity venues are as follows, (and notice the part about "major private liquidity pools.") Since #HFT and narratives about highly-automated trading strategies are crowded topics among capital markets punditry, Alphacution has not followed the nuances close enough to know for sure whether the sponsor [...]

By |2020-08-17T07:14:09-04:00March 21st, 2017|For Subscribers|

Digital Noise in the Fintech Space – Numerix Video Blog Series

In this FIFTH and final installment of a five-part video blog series Jim Jockle, CMO of Numerix sits down with Paul Rowady, Director of Research at Alphacution to discuss the recent FinTech Revolution. They discuss how firms are gearing themselves towards a digital culture, and how companies are working to distinguish themselves in this new age. The five videos cover the following: Part 1: Paralysis by Analysis: Preparation & Analyzation for Digital Disruption Part 2: IT Outsourcing and Transformation Part 3: Revolutionizing FinTech: Looking into the World of Data Automation Part 4: Technological Implications of Cultural Transformation Part 5: Digital Noise in the FinTech Space Jim Jockle (Host): There’s so much noise, right. And whether its hitting the trades or the New York Post, you know, this company’s going to take down Bloomberg, this company’s going to disrupt payments for the next rest of the world. I’m now dealing with Apple Pay, you know, just naming names not pointing fingers. How do you cut through the noise? Paul Rowady (Guest): [...]

By |2020-10-14T21:53:46-04:00December 6th, 2016|Video|

IT Outsourcing and Transformation – Numerix Video Blog Series

In this SECOND of a five-part video blog series Jim Jockle, CMO of Numerix sits down with Paul Rowady, Director of Research at Alphacution to discuss the recent FinTech Revolution. They discuss how firms are gearing themselves towards a digital culture, and how companies are working to distinguish themselves in this new age. The five videos cover the following: Part 1: Paralysis by Analysis: Preparation & Analyzation for Digital Disruption Part 2: IT Outsourcing and Transformation Part 3: Revolutionizing Fintech: Looking into the world of Data Automation Part 4: Technological Implications of Cultural Transformation Part 5: Digital Noise in the Fintech Space Jim Jockle (Host): What is the role of outsourcing? In the sense of at the end of the day traders are paid to trade. Financial advisors are paid to give advice and on the benefit and breadth of their customer base. Banks are meant to control and manage deposits. There’s still a fundamental core business but yet technology and the risk profile of all these institutions is the [...]

By |2020-10-14T21:53:09-04:00December 3rd, 2016|Video|

Back to the Front: Post-Trade Processing Getting Sexy-er

If you happen to hear the drumbeat of these things called "operational analytics" getting louder, then you just may be dialed in to the subtle downstream impacts of some of today's most common headlines related to financial enterprise transformation. For instance, the fintech revolution we are living through - with all its new-fangled and often overly-hyped gadgetry - is really about harnessing the opportunity for unprecedented process efficiencies. But, while it is a soothing distraction to daydream about deploying new digital tools during the ongoing regulatory hurricane, the economic impact that they will have on the FSI landscape is barely going to move the needle anytime soon. Of course, there are exceptions to this broad brush stroke: The impact of evolving IT infrastructure solutions from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to software defined networks (SDNs) to any number of other high-performance compute and storage tools are already sufficiently mature to be making a major impact on architectures and technology buying patterns. A similar statement could be made about open source big data tools such [...]

By |2020-10-05T21:08:22-04:00September 14th, 2016|Open|