STAC-TS Working Group

In the EU, MiFID 2 requires firms to capture certain trading events and timestamp them to within certain allowed deviations from UTC. In the US, the new CAT NMS plan requires SROs to synchronize clocks to within 100 microseconds of NIST time, and it is probably only a matter of time before that extends to other market players. In general, there seems to be a global trend toward regulated timestamp accuracy in order to make it easier for regulators to establish what happened when.

Regulated firms must consider two questions:

1) What products and design patterns do we need in order to get to a state of compliance?
2) How do we demonstrate to regulators (who generally lack the necessary technical knowledge) that we comply with these technical requirements?

STAC-TS is an effort to help answer both of these questions. The STAC-TS Working Group ("TS" as in time sync) is a technical, roll-up-the-sleeves group of experts with a mandate to provide two kinds of deliverables:

1. STAC-TS Benchmark Specifications: Standards for measuring the timestamping and time-synchronization accuracy of hardware and software combinations, subject to the relevant financial-markets load and exception scenarios. Also standards related to the ability of a given solution to reliably capture events (such as wire capture).

2. STAC-TS Best Practice Guidelines: Best practices when using particular approaches to synchronize business clocks and timestamp events in particular scenarios.

In addition to enabling trading firms to demonstrate compliance with new regulations, the STAC-TS standards are also useful to low-latency trading firms who often have situations that demand even better accuracy than the regulations require.

The STAC-TS Working Group currently includes experts from the following firms:

Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Boerse, Jump Trading

Corvil, Endace, Intel, Meinberg, Mellanox, Metamako, Napatech, Red Hat, Solarflare, Spectracom

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