Posted on 8/12/2015 by
In order to fully support a financial application, an understanding of how the system works is essential and it also helps to know a little about the business industry. However, I have now learnt that this will eventually come with time, experience and of course, the help of training.
Having just acquired a role in Production Support in Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mthree were already keen to set up some necessary training courses. I was enrolled in UNIX/LINUX training along with SQL, Fitch Learning, Pluralsight and the most recent - FIX Protocol training conducted by Fixnox.
The training lasted one day and began with an overview of FIX and its functionality. Financial Information Exchange (FIX) Protocol is used for exchanging ‘information’ in financial markets (orders, market data, allocations etc) and it was created in order to minimise human errors and reduce inefficiencies of phone based trading. I have only come across FIX messages a couple of times in the past few weeks here at BAML as my particular role does not deal with FIX Protocol directly. However, to trace errors of certain orders it is sometimes necessary to bring up the corresponding FIX messages.
The training instructor explained the infrastructure of FIX, the construction of FIX messages, messages that are trading related and many other topics that gave a real insight of the protocol. The FIX messages are made up of ‘tags’ which refer to a certain number that is associated with a particular message e.g. 38=1000, where 38=Qty (Order Quantity). There are hundreds of tags to implement and it would be quite impossible to remember every single one, which is why I was provided with a booklet that included a large majority of them.
Towards the end of the course, I was introduced to some adaptations of FIX Protocol including FAST, FIXML and FIXATDL which was highly interesting as this illustrated the developments of FIX Protocol.
Now after completing the course I am able to identify the FIX messages and put my training into practice. I am now able to break down these FIX messages and gain a thorough understanding of the communication between the buy-side and the broker. If an error occurs whilst trading, the messages can be viewed by connecting to the server; this also utilises my UNIX/ LINUX skills which are key to solving numerous technology problems.
Finally, I feel privileged to have taken part in various different training courses provided by Mthree. I am already vastly improving my technology skills after only a short period of time. The training also goes hand in hand with my role in Production Support and opens up many more doors in the financial industry.
By Ruby Egerton