Getting the next generation involved in FIX Trading

Published on 24 August 2020

Industry participation with the FIX Protocol group supports capital markets firms, their investors and asset owners, by creating efficiency of communication and integration between different market participants. New faces need be brought into the FIX family, and the FIX Next Gen initiative is helping to bring fresh ideas and skills into the fold.

Sapna Swaly of Vela, Sakeena Lalljee of Aquis Exchange and Alex Ings of Credit Suisse explain the value that value that new contributors can get from attending the virtual FIX EMEA Trading conference on 18 September 2020, including key agenda items and benefits to employers.

Details of the event can be found here: FIX EMEA Trading Conference – Going Virtual, Going Global.

Dan Barnes Welcome to Trader TV. I’m Dan Barnes. Joining me today are Alex Ings, of Credit Suisse, Sakeena Lalljee of Aquis Exchange, and Sapna Swaly of Vela, to talk about how FIX NexGen provides continuity between different generations of traders through the fixed community. Guys, welcome to Trader TV.

Sapna Swaly Thanks for having me, Dan.

Sakeena Lalljee Thanks, Dan. It’s great to be here with you.

Alex Ings Thanks. It’s great to be here.

Dan Barnes So how does FIX NexGen provide continuity across generations of traders and capital markets experts?

Sapna Swaly So, FIX has been around for quite some time, I think 1991 is when it was initially established, and we’ve seen a lot of the people who have been involved right at the beginning are still involved. And there’s a real need to get new technologists who are coming into the industry up and running and up to speed very, very quickly. So it’s really trying to ensure that we have a nice, easy pathway for people to come into the community.

Sakeena Lalljee It’s providing opportunities for growth and contribution. So, for example, the next generation that we talk about supporting, it’s providing a place and an opportunity for them to get more involved in fixed initiatives, and to dip their toe in the water and then grow from there with a view that ultimately in the years to come, they will be literally the next generation looking after and maintaining FIX.

Alex Ings You do tend to see a lot of more experienced people getting involved in, not just the presentations but working groups, and other areas around FIX, and you do tend to see the same old hands, if you will, cropping up again, which is obviously very good, but we need to make sure that newer members feel that they have the ability to get involved in those working groups, in those presentations, so that as the older members move on to other things, potentially retire, those newer members can pick up the mantle and start contributing or continue to contribute.

Sakeena Lalljee I think it needs to be quite a gradual and an organic process whereby there is continuity maintained, rather than a clear-cut handing over from one set of industry participants onto another group of participants. I think this is why the NextGen is needed so that there is this gradual process of increasing involvement and an environment where they can feel comfortable asking questions.

Sapna Swaly Part of it is education; some of the initiatives that we have are bite-size, learning environments for the next generation to not feel such a big barrier to entry, when it comes to joining those working groups. I think a lot of people feel like, ‘oh, I need to be an expert before I can join a working group’. And actually, that’s not what it’s about. We want to have new ideas and that comes from people joining before they’re necessarily experts.

Dan Barnes Do you think the skill-sets that you see across different generations are changing?

Sapna Swaly Absolutely. Even in the nonstandard IT industry, I think you see a lot more developers coming in, a lot more people with technological skills alongside the financial skills, being able to really combine those efficiently.

Dan Barnes Alex, how would you describe the advantages for financial services firms and having their staff as part of the NextGen program?

Alex Ings Oh, it’s incredible. People really need to get involved and understand what FIX is about and how it is, it’s everywhere, really. It pervades throughout the industry. Without FIX there wouldn’t be a financial industry; from client connectivity into brokers, through to exchange connectivity, it is incredibly important. Our new members, be they technologists, be they business users, really should understand exactly how that fits in across the industry.

Dan Barnes Why should somebody attend the virtual conference?

Alex Ings You know, some of the foremost experts within the industry on regulation and market structure are heavily involved in the FIX community and they are the some of the people that will be talking at the events. It’s a unique opportunity to hear exactly how they think that regulation and market structure is going to impact the financial services, both in terms of the business and in terms of technology.

Sapna Swaly In a COVID-19-based environment where everyone’s working from home, you don’t have as much exposure to the current issues that your clients are seeing, that your peers are seeing. And it really enables us to get together, get our heads together and explore what those issues are, what are the solutions to those issues, discussing changes and regulations, changes the exchanges have had to make, changes that firms themselves have had to make to cope with the crisis.

Sakeena Lalljee For those individuals and team members who don’t normally get a chance to attend the conference in person, where maybe there are a limited number of tickets assigned to company fx.  This is the prime opportunity to take advantage and be able to join in from the relative comfort of your own home. One point that’s worth mentioning is that FIX has registered the conference for CPD qualification, I believe. So any individuals who are collecting CPD hours, for example, or participating in a CPD program, attending this conference will be able to contribute towards those hours that they need to demonstrate.

I want to say thank you all very much for coming on.

Sapna Swaly Thank you.

Sakeena Lalljee Thanks for having us, Dan.

Dan Barnes I’d like to thank the Sapna, Sakeena and Alex and of course, you for watching. To catch up on our other shows, go to TraderTV.NET, ETFTV.NET, and we’ll see you at the FIX Conference in September.