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 that we comply with these technical requirements, when the regulators themselves generally lack the necessary technical knowledge?

In addition, organizations whose businesses depend on maintaining competitive latencies must continue to ask themselves a third question:

3) How do we design timing and capture solutions that will be relevant as latencies shrink and data volumes increase?

STAC-TS is an effort to help answer all of these questions. The STAC-TS Working Group ("TS" as in time sync) is a technical, roll-up-the-sleeves group of experts from leading vendor firms, banks, exchanges, and HFT firms with a mandate to provide standards for measuring the accuracy and other characteristics of timestamping, time-synchronization, and event-capture solutions. (Wondering why test standards are important for MiFID 2 compliance? Check out these slides.)

In addition to assessing a solution's normal operating range, STAC-TS addresses exception conditions such as application-level jitter, loss of discipline to host clocks, and GNSS disruptions. (For examples at the application level, check out this blog.) These are often overlooked in planning and reporting, but because they are well known to occur, they are unlikely to be considered exceptional by regulators or traders.

The STAC-TS standards enable two deliverables of use to firms:

1. STAC Reports. Independent research on the performance of components that can be used in traceability accounting and in designing state-of-the-art timing and capture solutions. (STAC Reports will be listed lower on this page.)

2. STAC-TS testing software: Tools for generating load, measuring accuracy, and analyzing results. Also tools for pulling test results together with monitoring information to provide traceability information for any given timestamping point in an organization. 

To understand how your firm can utilize STAC-TS, please either click the "Enable Me" button to the right or contact us.             

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