Phil Morris

Reactive Markets and its Switchboard network

January 2023 in Partner Content

Reactive Markets provides a unique ultra low latency institutional OTC trading network for FX markets called Switchboard. We spoke to the CEO of the firm Phil Morris to discover more about this cutting edge service and his plans for the coming year.

Phil, please tell us a little about the products and services that Reactive Markets offers.

At Reactive Markets we strive to provide our clients with the best possible FX OTC execution experience – the tightest pricing and the highest fill rates backed up by a reliable, high-performance platform and excellent customer service. Our fully disclosed bi-lateral streaming service, Switchboard, now has over 20 of the top Liquidity Providers streaming Spot FX, NDFs and Forwards. This includes 9 of the top 10 Euromoney Liquidity Providers and a diverse blend of banks, non-banks and regional specialists. Clients can trade through our rich trader desktop or via our ultra low latency FIX API in London (LD4) and New York (NY4). Feedback from clients on our trading UI has been unanimously positive; I’m biased but I’m sure that the design and responsiveness of our GUI is second to none. Aside from the core trading service we have a strong emphasis on liquidity management to optimise and improve every client’s pricing set-up. One of key benefits of disclosed trading is the transparency it gives clients into their pricing and execution quality. We provide every client with a bespoke liquidity pool and continuously monitor their LPs performance to ensure that this is optimised for their trading style. Whether clients choose to use Switchboard as a single API low-latency connectivity solution or to take advantage of the Switchboard trader desktop, our service is always free to takers.

What do Liquidity Providers particularly like about your high performance infrastructure and the benefits they get from it?

Partnering with the LPs to give them the confidence to provide their best pricing is critical to the success of Switchboard. Our approach to working with them was simple – offer them the fastest and most reliable distribution technology solution at the lowest cost. By guaranteeing that an LPs quote gets to the end client with sub-50 microsecond latency, without placing any constraints on how frequently they can update their quotes, they are confident to price at their most competitive.

It’s also important that LPs have the same level of control over a client price stream as if the client were connecting directly. We don’t limit or monetise the number of LPs price streams so they have full flexibility to optimise their pricing for every client. In order to offer Switchboard at the right price point, we have invested a significant amount of time and effort in operational excellence – automation and tooling – so that every step of the LP setup and maintenance process is as efficient as possible. The upshot of this is that we can deliver new pricing streams intraday without delays and LPs can manage their streams with real-time self-service, something which has often caused frustration to both the client and LPs in the past. By incentivising LPs through cost, convenience and the highest technical standards, Switchboard provides a market utility where LPs can confidently scale their OTC business.

What makes your cutting-edge cross-asset trading and price streaming network, Switchboard so unique and what types of firms are now utilising it?

Switchboard is being used by some of the most demanding trading companies on the street. At one end of the spectrum we have latency sensitive systematic hedge funds, brokers and banks sourcing bespoke liquidity via our API. At the other end we have macro hedge funds with a large, globally distributed userbase utilising our GUI to get better execution and fill rates no matter where in the world they are trading from. The problem that we are trying to solve is not a new one but the combination of our business model and our focused technical solution is what makes Switchboard unique. We are a low fee, high volume business. To deliver on this model, Switchboard was designed from the outset for ultra low latency bi-lateral price distribution at scale. We are relentless in our optimisation of every element of the technology stack from the UI, through our trading software and the dedicated infrastructure and networking. This focus translates into solid business outcomes for our clients – ultimately, the numbers don’t lie and all of the technical optimisations are proven out through some very impressive fill ratios and pricing, even over extreme news event volatility.

In what ways have you been working to form new partnerships and strengthen the firms offering over the past few months?

In order to stay fully focused on our core product offering we are always exploring ways to partner with best-of-breed companies where there are clear synergies and benefits for our clients. A good example, of this is with independent best execution analytics companies. One of the key benefits of trading on a fully disclosed platform is the ability to extract insights into the quality of your execution and to understand the performance of your Liquidity Providers. We have integrated with several such providers and we can distribute data directly to the thirdparty when a client requests this option. Recently a client needed to demonstrate that they consistently achieved better pricing and execution quality on Switchboard versus a number of competing platforms. With seamless integration, the client was able to validate this through our third party best execution partnerships.

Our approach of focusing on core distribution has also allowed us to partner with several Algo/OEMS providers. We give them simple, free, low latency access to 20 LP’s over a single API whilst they deliver their clients other value added services in the algos and smart order routing products. You’ll certainly be hearing more from us in this space over the next few months.

What can we expect to see from Reactive Markets in 2023 in terms of new products and what plans do you have for taking the business to the next level?

2022 was a huge year for Reactive Markets. We have built a great team and we have firmly established ourselves as the fastest growing FX trading network. Over the next few months you will see the expansion of our Algo distribution which will give our clients easy access to all of the banks Algos over API and GUI. We are also in the process of rolling out Swaps and Forwards so the full FX product set can be traded over RFQ by the end of the quarter. Looking a little further ahead into 2023 we have some very exciting plans to apply a similar approach to other asset classes where OTC trading is evolving and growing. We are actively working on some interesting opportunities in Equities and Fixed Income to disrupt the status quo with Switchboard – watch this space!