VanKar Trading Corp.
VanKar Trading Corp. was a futures brokerage group established in 2001. As an NFA-registered independent introducing broker, VanKar was founded by two veteran futures industry professionals with over 30 years of combined experience in the futures industry. The company was known for its expertise in the futures markets and its commitment to providing top-quality service to its clients.
SoftAtBest was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with VanKar on the development of Autotrader, an application that executed futures contracts based on signals generated by Tradestation. This was a pioneering development, as Tradestation did not have this functionality at the time. Autotrader allowed traders to automate their trading strategies and take advantage of market opportunities more quickly and efficiently, while reducing the slippage and errors. In addition to working on Autotrader, SoftAtBest also participated in the full-cycle development of trading systems using Tradestation’s EasyLanguage.
In 2006, VanKar ceased operations and one of the partners, Emil van Essen, moved into the CTA business with a very successful Spread Trading Program. SoftAtBest participated in the early stages of research and development for this program, providing help with data quality and back-testing. Working on this project gave us a deep understanding of the futures markets and the factors that influence price movements. It also allowed us to develop strong skills in back-testing and cross-validation, which are crucial for ensuring the accuracy and reliability of trading systems.
Emil van Essen LLC
In 2006, Emil van Essen founded his own CTA-registered company, which was focused on the development of a highly successful Spread Trading Program. This system generated average annual profits of 18% from 2006 to 2014, and had an almost 0% correlation to the S&P.
By 2014, the firm’s assets under management had soared to $140 million. In 2021 Emil van Essen merged with Katonah Capital, a systematic futures manager with a unique machine learning approach.
Bloomberg is a financial, software, data, and media company headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1981, the company developed Bloomberg Terminal, its flagship product.
The Bloomberg Terminal is a widely recognized and respected platform in the financial industry, known for its comprehensive and up-to-date market data information, powerful analytics, news and industry communications, delivered through the consistent user interface.
SoftAtBest was pleased to have had the opportunity to provide consulting services to Bloomberg’s news group, retrieving financial data from news and exchange releases. SoftAtBest worked closely with Bloomberg’s team to understand the requirements and develop effective solutions that were integrated into the Bloomberg Terminal.
One specific project SoftAtBest worked on with Bloomberg involved optimizing the delivery of Tokyo Stock Exchange earnings releases to the Bloomberg Terminals worldwide. This required us to improve the efficiency of TSE’s API and work with Bloomberg network engineers and developers on data path optimization. This was an important project that helped Bloomberg to beat the competing provider and we were pleased to have played a role in its success.
Overall, our work with Bloomberg was a valuable learning experience that allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the financial data management industry and the tools and technologies used by leading companies like Bloomberg. We are proud to have contributed to the success of Bloomberg and to have had the opportunity to work with such a respected and influential company.
Nexus Trading, the software arm of Saxis Prime, developed custom trading and risk applications for in-house use. SoftAtBest was proud to have developed two products for Saxis Prime: Razer and Armor.
Armor is a real-time risk management platform that allows firms to manage their total risk, broken down by various criteria like risk factors, sectors and industries and individual accounts. This platform supports multiple currencies and many asset classes of traded instruments, with the emphasis on options portfolios. It is able to display the current real-time situation as well as analyze value-at-risk, expected shortfall and portfolio stress testing . This makes it an invaluable tool for risk management professionals looking to understand and mitigate risk across their organization.
Saxis Prime was a prime services broker that relied on technology to help hedge funds and family offices analyze risks and customize trading applications, as well as automate asset allocation into portfolios. Founded in 2009 by Sohail Khalid, the company was acquired in 2013 by Weeden and Co. and continued to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary called Weeden Prime Services. In addition to assisting in raising capital and providing access to custody and clearing services through Goldman Sachs Executions and Clearing, Saxis Prime also provided sophisticated tools to manage complex trading activity.
Weeden & Co
Founded in 1922, Weeden & Co provided premier global trading solutions, specializing in best execution through the use of high-touch and program trading, proprietary algorithmic strategies and derivatives. The company was acquired by Piper Jaffray in 2019.
Weeden Prime Services (WPS) was a technology-powered prime brokerage business that provides institutional quality services to hedge funds and family offices. With a focus on capital raising and cutting-edge technology, WPS has created an ideal platform that allows clients to substantially grow their businesses.
WPS offered a comprehensive global platform that includes dynamic proprietary risk management and analytics technology (Armor), automated allocation technology, and sophisticated portfolio reporting tools. These tools allow clients to effectively manage their complex trade and allocation demands. WPS has assembled a team with deep domain expertise in the design and implementation of these tools and has earned a reputation for streamlining the adoption of these systems by its clients. WPS is now part of JonesTrading Prime.
JonesTrading is one of the oldest and largest executing equity trading firms in the U.S. and is a worldwide leader in equity block trading. Since 1975, the company has focused on creating liquidity for institutional and corporate clients on an unconflicted basis, using its secure and trusted platform to connect a diverse group of market players and unlock liquidity. This enables JonesTrading to provide its clients with best-quality execution for larger and more complex trades.
SoftAtBest was proud to have developed the Armor risk management software for Saxis Prime, which was later used by Weeden Prime Services and is now in use by JonesTrading. We continue to enhance and maintain the platform and its FIX connectivity, helping JonesTrading Prime Services to serve their clients.
Chimera Securities is a NYC-based broker-dealer specializing in discretionary and automated trading in equities and options. Since its launch in 2000, the company has focused on the long-term success of its traders, investing in capital allocations, advanced technology, and robust infrastructure to support over a hundred professional traders.
SoftAtBest was proud to have developed a trading platform called Blink for Chimera Securities. Blink is a high-volume, low-latency equities trading technology that was developed with input from the Chimera’s best professional day traders. Speed, precision, and stability are key to the success of these traders, and Blink was designed to provide all of these features in a powerful and customizable system. SoftAtBest developed all of the components of Blink, including the market data system, which receives data directly from the US equity exchanges and delivers it in a pure level 1 and level 2 view, as well as hundreds of real-time calculated analytical columns that can be filtered and sorted to provide unique real-time whole market views and generate trade ideas and signals.
The Blink front end is capable of organizing a trader’s computer into a highly efficient and customizable trading desktop, with multiple workspaces and order templates that are accessible from the trader’s fingertips. Blink fully supports all US exchange order types and parameters, as well as enhanced synthetic orders and basket trading. It also includes advanced risk management capabilities that allow supervisors to see the rolled-up whole firm positions and control traders risk parameters. Finally, Blink includes advanced real-time and historical charting capabilities that can display market data from multi-year intervals down to the trade-by-trade level, along with technical analysis indicators and tools.