Bad clocks blocks FX Best-Ex

To get a good deal in fast-moving FX markets, buy-side firms need to know the time. Some of them don’t

Flavor Flav, the hype man for hip-hop superstars Public Enemy, famously wore a large clock around his neck, so he knew what time it was. He would not have been a success in modern foreign exchange markets, where participants increasingly need to care not just about hours, minutes and seconds, but also milliseconds and even microseconds. Unfortunately, in the form of clunky order-management systems (OMSs), observers claim some buy-side firms are still using the equivalent of Flav’s clock. “We often see trade data coming from the OMS that only captures, for whatever reason, one-second intervals in its timestamps. There are 1,000 milliseconds in a second. A lot happens in a millisecond,” says Andy Woolmer, chief executive of New Change FX, a provider of transaction cost analysis (TCA).

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