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A Day in Frankfurt at the Visotech Algo-Trading Innovation Hub

I just stepped in the door back from a day trip to Frankfurt where yesterday, I attended the Algo-Trading Innovation Hub hosted by Visotech attended by around 80 or so industry attendees. It was hot and humid day punctuated by periodic thunderstorms, but that did not detract from a really interesting agenda. Nor did the weather cause me any travel delays as I had chosen to take the overnight sleeper train service in both directions. In the end, I feel this was a bit of a mistake on my part as due to the heat and constant start/stop of the train, I got little sleep the night before arriving at 5:20am, well in advance of the event start time. The train back was 90-minutes late, so I stood on Frankfurt South train station from midnight to almost 2am waiting for the return train…. but that’s another story!

Night Sleeper Train to Frankfurt pulls in to Vienna station
Night Sleeper Train to Frankfurt pulls in to Vienna station

The day started with an overview of the past, present and future of automated trading offered by Visotech co-founder Jurgen Meyerhofer. In essence, this was the story of Visotech in many ways with expectations of future growth in automated trading in European markets. The Advisory House then continued talking about its market study into automated trading software. It was an interesting presentation, but delivered from a consultant’s perspective seeking software selection and related projects. It was interesting to see vendors like OpenLink (who to my knowledge have no automated trading software on offer) get included – probably because they are OpenLink? and vendors like Contigo, who do have an offering get omitted probably because they are British and not yet fully on the German radar? It looks like the study will produce a good list of vendors and solution capabilities when completed being performed very much like an imaginary selection project. Meanwhile, the full list of solutions is in the directory on this site should you be interested.

Reception at the Visotech event
Reception at the Visotech event.

Visotech then looked at whether to buy or build as co-founder Wolfgang Eichberger unsurprisingly discounted the build option in favor of buy and buy from us! Well, it was their event. However, the presentation was interesting in that it delivered a good feel for the complexity of building and maintaining a solution. Visotech’s autotrader represents multiple man years of effort not to talk about the efforts to which the company is going to ensure proper testing. After a lunch break, EWi gave a presentation on blockchain and peer-to-peer trading however, the focus was on peer-to-peer trading between prosumers in Germany and partially concluded that without regulatory change and incentives, it probably would not happen any time soon. It would have been interesting to learn their views regarding the application of blockchain in a wholesale OTC peer-to-peer environment as well. A customer presentation followed before a fascinating dive into the use of AI in testing  trading algorithms by Patrick Foder of Visotech. We then had a really excellent presentation on XBID, an important cross border initiative in Europe that kicks in officially in a couple of weeks or so and may have a profound  impact on intra-day trading going forward from Dr. Egon Gemmel, VP Energy Research, Deutsche Bank.

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The final session of the afternoon comprised updates from Epexspot and Nordpool on their efforts and expansions in intra-day markets with a particular focus on API’s to allow applications like autotrader to trade on the market. The final presentation was a look at use cases for automated trading by Johannes Puller, co-founder of Visotech which looked at direct marketing on the intraday market via position closing, marketing assets on the market and more in both power and natural gas. It was an interesting and informative day with the onus being on information sharing. Day 2 continues today and focuses on algo coding (which is why I’m home….). Thanks to Visotech for the invite and the facility to learn more about automated power and gas trading.