What Is FIX API?

The contemporary marketplace is an ultra-competitive atmosphere where being technologically savvy is a prerequisite for success. Trade is conducted on a near 24/7 basis by individuals around the globe via internet connectivity and software trading platform. Given the rise of the digital marketplace, millions of people now trade the world's capital markets each and every day.

The rise of exclusively digital markets has increased the need to eliminate any unnecessary latency. No matter if one is trading shares, futures, forex, or crypto, low latency trading platforms are key drivers of profitability. In order to stay on the lead lap, a trader must strive to interact with the market as efficiently as possible.

Integrating an Application Programming Interface (API) into a trading operations' infrastructure is a popular way of improving one's financial situation. An API with robust capabilities facilitates a streamlined flow of data from the market to the trader's base of operations and vice versa. In turn, undue latencies are reduced and numerous advantages are afforded to API traders.

As technologies in the financial markets have advanced, the once exclusive realm of API trading has become available to the masses. Assorted varieties of specialty API products are available to retail and institutional participants alike. "FIX" API ranks near the top of the list, earning a reputation for being fast and user-friendly. Over time, it has become a forex industry standard.

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FIX API Defined

The Financial Information Exchange (FIX) API is a set of clearly defined rules and methods designed specifically for the electronic transfer of financial data. In the nomenclature of the industry, it is "electronic communications protocol for real-time information exchange for financial securities transactions."[1]

The FIX API fosters a seamless flow of real-time data between market participants. It is used by liquidity providers, traders (retail and institutional) and regulators to address the market on an ongoing basis. The primary function of FIX API is to facilitate the transfer of three distinct types of data:

Pre-trade

Pre-trade information is used in crafting trading strategies and decisions for implementation on the market. This type of data includes levels of liquidity, order flow and depth-of-market statistics streaming directly from exchange or market servers. When trading financial derivatives such as forex pairs, pre-trade information can be invaluable.

Trade

Trade-related information is focussed on the act of conducting trade. Order entry, confirmation and execution functions involve the transfer of data through FIX. Accordingly, trade-related information governs applied leverage, position management and the implementation of different buy or sell side order types.

Post-trade

Post-trade data aids in the recording, processing and transfer of asset ownership involved with market-based transactions.[2] This variety of data is vital to accurate record keeping, regardless of asset class. It's also a key aspect of calculating current P&L, tax liabilities and trading account drawdowns.

FIX API Advantages

While many APIs offer similar functionality in terms of data transfer, the FIX API furnishes users with several unique advantages that include the following:

  • The FIX Protocol allows for a rapid transfer of vast quantities of information.
  • FIX's standardised language and widespread acceptance ensure a quick and easy set up.
  • Proprietary algorithmic or black-box strategies may be readily created.
  • Implementing a FIX API preserves the anonymity and privacy of proprietary systems operating within the market.[3]

In effect, the FIX API serves as a gateway to the marketplace. A broad spectrum of financial instruments are readily engaged including equities, futures, contract-for-difference (CFD) and forex products.

FIX API Vs. REST API

REST (Representational State Transfer) is a collection of parameters used by developers to build new software. Compared to FIX, it is an approach to information systems in general, not designed specifically for finance.

The constraints below must be satisfied for an API to be considered RESTful[8]:

  • The interface must be uniform. Resources must be identified, represented, contain a self-descriptive message and use hypermedia to drive the application.
  • Operate within the client-server framework, which lets the client and server evolve independent of one another.
  • Client requests to the server must contain complete directions on how to complete the request. This is known as being "stateless."
  • All responses need to be labelled cacheable or non-cacheable. If cacheable, it may be reused by the client.
  • REST APIs adhere to the layered system style.

REST and FIX APIs are both used to trade forex pairs such as the EUR/USD. One popular place where developers incorporate REST and FIX resources into new trading software is on GitHub.

Background And History Of FIX API

The FIX Protocol was originally developed in 1992 by Robert Lamoureux and Chris Morstatt. The initial objective was to enable the electronic transfer of data pertaining to the equities markets. Upon becoming functional, it facilitated communications between brokerage firms Fidelity Investments and Salomon Brothers with their institutional clientele.[4]

From the onset, FIX was designed to promote efficiency in trade-related communications. At the time, a vast majority of correspondence between traders and brokers was conducted verbally over the telephone. Upon the introduction of FIX, these dialogues became digital. The transition took much of the guesswork out of communications, as the once verbal exchanges became automated FIX messages.

Championed by FIX Protocol Ltd, the standardised FIX Protocol language became a financial industry standard. Market participants found FIX to be valuable in terms of minimising trading costs and maximising communication efficiency.[5]

In 2013, FIX Protocol Ltd became the FIX Trading Community and gained a significant membership base:

  • Over 290 international financial services companies participate. Premier partners include Bank of America, Barclays, Bloomberg, Credit Suisse and the London Stock Exchange Group.
  • FIX is a global network with members located on every continent.
  • Members include brokerage firms, liquidity providers, regulators and trading venues.[6]

The FIX Trading Community maintains a not-for-profit status with the primary goal of addressing industry needs and promoting efficiency. It is widely viewed as a major contributor to the development of modernised capital markets, including open-source crypto assets like Bitcoin (BTC).

Benefits Of Using The FIX API

Institutional participants find the FIX Protocol to be a reliable way of staying connected with clients, member firms and the market in general. The applications of FIX are also beneficial to independent retail traders.

The main benefits of using FIX with FXCM are:

  1. Fast login and more stable connection.
  2. Industry standard trading protocol (not proprietary API).
  3. On every change in order status the FIX server sends an updated Execution report.
  4. No price throttle that the Market Data session sends all BBO (best bid offer) prices we have, (all other API's limited to 3 prices per second per symbol).
  5. Additional FIX servers store FIX logs on the server side, which is very helpful on client integration and order audit.

FIX APIs are compatible with a vast network of brokerages and supported software trading platforms. Also, third-party software makes FIX APIs compatible with platforms such as Metatrader 4 (MT4). The FIX Protocol 4.4 is a popular tool for active traders, both retail and institutional. It features robust performance, and facilitates as many as 250 price updates per second.[7]

In addition, FIX Protocol 4.4 integrates seamlessly with C++, C# and Java programming languages.

Summary

Since its inception in 1992, the FIX Protocol has contributed to the speed and efficiency of the digital marketplace. From streaming pricing data in real-time, to enhancing order execution, the FIX API can be a valuable tool for individuals interested in reducing trade-related latency.

FXCM Research Team

FXCM Research Team consists of a number of FXCM's Market and Product Specialists.

Articles published by FXCM Research Team generally have numerous contributors and aim to provide general Educational and Informative content on Market News and Products.

References

1

Retrieved 18 Mar 2018 https://www.techopedia.com/definition/1513/financial-information-exchange-fix

2

Retrieved 22 Apr 2018 https://www.afme.eu/Portals/0/globalassets/downloads/publications/afme-mifidii-mifir-post-trade-reporting-requirements.pdf

3

Retrieved 20 Mar 2018 https://www.financemagnates.com/forex/brokers/exclusive-insight-what-is-fix-api-and-how-can-it-benefit-retail-traders/

4

Retrieved 18 Mar 2018 https://www.scribd.com/document/267837119/Financial-Information-EXchange

5

Retrieved 20 Mar 2018 https://www.fixtrading.org/what-is-fix/

6

Retrieved 19 Mar 2018 https://www.fixtrading.org/overview/

7

Retrieved 20 Mar 2018 https://github.com/fxcm/FIXAPI

8

Retrieved 28 Apr 2022 https://restfulapi.net/

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