The Fix Trading Community is overhauling its standard protocol with FIX Orchestra’s latest release, an open standard with machine readable capabilities for any messaging protocol.
Release Candidate 3 of FIX Orchestra means that firms can certify their flows faster, with greater accuracy and significantly reduce the need for manual intervention. In its most extreme adoption level, FIX Orchestra can be used to automate the entire process of onboarding, normalising, and validating disparate counterparty implementations.
The ultimate goal of FIX Orchestra is to bring the capability of “plug and play” into the FIX ecosystem, much like PC users are no longer required to work with printer drivers or graphics cards on installation.
Jim Northey, co-chair of the Global Technical Committee, Americas Region, FIX Trading Community, explained that FIX Orchestra is not about transaction messaging in and of itself, rather, it describes a messaging protocol in a machine-readable format.
That’s important because presently, those descriptions are trapped in PDF or Word documents, which are not exactly efficient when it comes to onboarding.
For example, a sell-side firm wanting to onboard an asset manager may need to coordinate with a third party EMS system that already has a FIX interface. Rather than making this work manually, which could take months, FIX Orchestra will create automated normalization scripts to take in the flow, and translate it into an internal format.
Moreover, since the sell-side firm will have all the information on how the counterparty is using FIX, it can generate test cases to validate that the message flows coming in from the client are accurate, and the translations are successful. In other words, FIX Orchestra will make it possible to create the tools for an automatic translator between protocols.
By the end of 2018, the FIX standard will be completely retooled and based on Orchestra’s Release Candidate 3. It will be the way firms access and use the FIX standard, and how it will be published.
“When we were developing FIX Orchestra, one of the key things we said was: if it’s going to require people to rewrite their core systems, nobody is going to do it, nobody is going to invest that kind of money 25 years into a protocol,” Northey said.
“It has to be able to work around the interfaces, and around the periphery of the system to create automation opportunities as opposed to having to go right in the core of the systems.”