The InfoReach Universal Test Symbol Initiative
Participation from the global electronic trading community will simplify the configuration and validation process in the production environment and reduce errors
As a long-time global electronic trading technology provider, InfoReach regularly has witnessed common problems and errors that arise during the process of enabling connectivity between trading counterparties. And we’ve even seen clients send–and lose–money in the markets just to verify live routing and trading capabilities or test a new algorithm.
So the “Efficionados” at InfoReach have come up with a simple, free solution that makes the configuration and testing process more efficient, reduces the chance for errors and eliminates the need for real money to be used in the markets.
We propose that the industry adopt two “fake” test symbols that will work across all trading counterparties (sell side, buy side, exchanges, ECNs and other routing destinations, etc.) and are easy to remember: OOOO and 0000 (for numeric symbology markets).
Sure, a few of the largest exchanges offer their own test symbols–such as “ZVZZT” for NASDAQ–but there is no standard symbol that is universally recognized and easily remembered. Through the collaborative use of OOOO and 0000 as test symbols for any asset class in any global destination, market participants can easily verify the production readiness of routing and live trading between counterparties across the globe. And they can “ping” connectivity on a recurring basis and detect problems before they affect live transactions.
Why it’s needed
While the FIX Protocol revolutionized electronic trading by standardizing the transactional language spoken by market participants, it does not in itself verify the ability of the trading counterparties to actually transact business. Configuring connectivity is a largely manual process involving many parties and components, and inconsistency in the production environment and the lack of a standard test symbol further increase the chance for errors. And any configuration changes introduced on either side of the connection can adversely affect order handling between counterparties.
Furthermore, many trading participants around the world do not support the use of any test instruments, forcing their counterparties to validate readiness of routing and trading capabilities by using real financial instruments. This results in unnecessary costs and further exposure to risk.
Using the “OOOO” and "0000" symbols is simple. After adding the symbols to their Security Master, traders send a “dummy” order in the production environment using either or both symbols. The fictitious financial instrument that will appear is “INFOREACH TEST SYMBOL.”
Once the dummy order is received, the trading counterparty must acknowledge receipt of the order and/or simulate execution. The lack of order acknowledgment/execution or rejection of the order will indicate that the ability to handle live orders might be compromised at the transaction destination.
If desired, the trading system can automate this test and routinely verify production readiness of each counterpart on a regular basis.
There is no cost for using the test symbols nor does InfoReach benefit financially.
Request for global support and feedback
InfoReach hopes that the global capital markets trading community will join forces to support this initiative that is beneficial for all involved. Market participants simply need to use the test symbol(s) in the production environment and notify InfoReach at firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments and ideas are also welcome at email@example.com
InfoReach Test Symbol Contact:
+1 (312) 332-7740 x2018
+1 (312) 332-7740 x2000
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