TT completes remedial action after tech outage - CEO Todd

TT completes remedial action after tech outage - CEO Todd

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The head of Trading Technologies has reassured clients the firm has taken remedial actions to prevent a repeat of its outage two weeks ago.

Keith Todd, the chief executive of Trading Technologies, told FOW the fintech has moved quickly to guard against a repeat of the outage on February 13 which affected the TT service for some six hours.

Todd told FOW: “There was an outage on the 13th but it categorically was not a cyber-attack. The root cause has been understood and fixed. We have also put in some additional preventative measures to address issues of a similar nature that could cause an unusual explosion in NAK traffic, which is effectively a data flood.”

Trading Technologies, which lists many large banks and derivatives brokers as clients, began experiencing at 13.30 UTC on February 13 issues with log-in due to an increase in message levels which led to some services failing to fully process updates.

This, in turn, led to a spike in resend requests known as Negative Acknowledgement (NAKs) which could not be properly processed, leading to “an unrecoverable NAK Storm”.

Todd said: “This outage has been fixed and there were then subsidiary aspects that have also been fixed. Outside of this outage there are further things that we are working on which are ongoing throughout this year that will further improve the stability the customer base has seen in the last two years in the platform. Are we going to see more NAK storms? Yes. Are they going to have an impact on the platform? No.”

The NAK storm on February 13 ultimately required service halts and restarts which normalised messaging levels and allowed TT to resume log-in just after 1800 UTC and support FIX Drop Copy services just before 2000 UTC.

Todd was quick to stress the outage, which affected some of the firm’s futures and options clients, had nothing to do with the TT strategy to diversify into new asset classes such as foreign exchange, equities and bonds.

The TT chief executive said: “While some have wondered if the problem is linked to the fact TT is more focused on its new world of multi-asset, that is categorically not true. Our first priority has always been to consolidate our position in exchange-traded derivatives and improve platform stability.”

He added: “Despite what happened on the 13th, which was unacceptable, the overall platform stability has improved, and that is partly why our business has grown. We’ve had higher volume trading in the days after the recovery than the days before.”

Todd, who started running TT in late 2021 after the Chicago-based firm was acquired by a private equity consortium backed by Singapore Exchange and Cboe Global Markets, said the firm has increased spending on its tech infrastructure in the past two years.

“We have hired another 160 people, half of whom are dedicated to exchange-traded derivatives so this idea that TT has not been investing in service quality or exchange-traded derivatives is just not true,” Todd said.

The TT chief executive added: “I said to my own team, it’s a very serious issue. We let our customers down and we let ourselves down but we are strong and our connectivity tools and platform are the best on the market, which is why the volumes have recovered so quickly.”

ION Markets, a rival to Trading Technologies, was subject in January last year to a cyberattack that left some of the fintech's bank and broker clients unable to reconcile trades for weeks, highlighting the issue of operational resilience in the derivatives industry.

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