PBOT launches futures datafeed

PBOT gained regulatory approval in 1985, but 20 years later its status was revoked due to dormancy. Its parent company, the Philadelphia Exchange, has vowed to reopen it as part of its strategy to offer equities, options and futures in a single market-place. PBOT began distributing sector index spot and settlement values on July 1 via its market data network, which the exchange built last year in partnership with Missouri-based hosting provider Savvis.

PBOT has not previously distributed futures data because its futures market was so thinly traded. Now the exchange will begin disseminating top-of-book information such as bid-ask and high-low data on the futures products as they are rolled onto a new trading platform, beginning with Libor contracts. PBOT plans to phase in other contracts over the next 45 to 90 days, said Walt Smith, vice-president and general manager at PBOT and head of listings and projects at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. “Market data is critical. So we built a user-friendly IP multicast network using Savvis, and we are further building out that network to make it easier for vendors to connect to,” Smith said.

He added that PBOT has distribution agreements with 79 data vendors already. The agreements give those vendors access to any suite of data PBOT distributes. “As we make the data available, they just decide whether they want to add it or not,” he said.

The exchange has been sending out test futures data over the network since around March, as well as test scripts for vendors to support. Last week, PBOT began sending out the corresponding market data for the BBA Libor contracts for vendors to test.

The exchange may also make a specialised order feed of full market depth available to market-makers and vendors, though it has not yet decided when it will do so. The Philadelphia Exchange already makes a market depth feed available for its options data.

PBOT will also take the data from its electronic trading system, PBOT XL, which is based on the Philadelphia Exchange’s PHLX XL system, used for equity options trading. Smith said it meant it only took a “nominal investment” to enter electronic futures trading, as the exchange group already has the required infrastructure, staff and technology.

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