Although 2015 was challenging for KCG Holdings trading revenue was down year-over-year in three of the four quarters as a result of light equity market volumes and low volatility the Jersey City, New Jerseybased brokerage firm had a great year on the technology front, according to CTO Jonathan Ross. You saw a lot of the costs come down over the course of the year, and a lot of that is due to technology, says Ross, 47, who was CTO of high frequency trading shop Getco before its 2013 acquisition of executing brokerage Knight Capital Group created KCG. We continued to optimize our infrastructure and reduce our data expenses. KCG, which has computer servers in 50 co-location facilities worldwide and trades in 70 markets, completed the integration of the merged companies networking infrastructure last year and currently is working on consolidating data centers. Customers are starting to see the benefits of, for example, the combination of the firms smart order router and algorithmic trading platform, says Ross, who oversees a team of some 350 technologists. An avid programmer, he believes financial technology is at a major inflection point: Youre seeing really amazing stuff being done at Internet start-ups and in the open-source community thats applicable to finance. As a result, he expects more financial firms to collaborate, pointing to KCGs recent New Line Networks joint venture with World Class Wireless, widely believed to be owned by HFT firm Jump Trading: It combines the firms microwave towers to create a global wireless network. Ten years ago you would never have seen two highly programmatic high frequency market makers collaborating like that, he says.
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