City prepares to test new trading platform

Banks prepare to put London Stock Exchange system through its paces

The UK's major banks and hundreds of City trading firms will begin testing the London Stock Exchange's new core trading platform early next month, ahead of its planned launch in the summer of 2007.

The Tradelect platform is the final part of a four-year IT transformation programme designed to increase capacity, cut latency and enable new services to be rolled out more quickly and at lower cost.

Testing will focus on speed and systems compatibility. It will involve all the stock exchange's 335 plugged-in broker member companies running conformance tests in dedicated time slots.

As well as testing the speed of the system, firms will be weighing up what application development work will be needed to take best advantage of the platform's new functionality.

Robin Paine, chief technology officer at the London Stock Exchange, said, "Tradelect is largely backwards-compatible with the existing platform, but not totally. Some enhancements that have been made support more complexity than certain firms will want to utilise."

Member firms will not have to upgrade their hardware to use Tradelect, and help with integration and development work will be available from a 170-strong team from Accenture if necessary.

Accenture built the Tradelect platform in India between late 2004 and March this year. It uses much the same core infrastructure as the London Stock Exchange's Infolect high-speed market data broadcast system.

Introduced a year ago, ­Infolect has increased data transfer speeds from 30 milliseconds to two milliseconds.

Tradelect will run on the same "Extranex" privately managed IP network as Infolect and will rely on high-speed middleware developed in-house, which was created using Microsoft's C# programming language and the .net Framework.

The system will run on Hewlett-Packard servers powered by 2.2GHz dual-core AMD Opteron processors.

Public testing of the Tradelect platform is almost the final act of a four-year IT transformation programme at the London Stock Exchange.

The programme has seen the exchange move to a more commoditised and scalable infrastructure in an effort to keep pace with market demands and control costs.

The London Stock Exchange estimates that moving from proprietary legacy systems will cut operating costs by 20%, with savings being made in hardware, networks, staff, service delivery and development.

Project timetable

  • Corporate datawarehouse upgrade completed in 2003
  • Migration to Infolect completed in September 2005
  • Migration of the trading system to Tradelect scheduled for Q2 2007.


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