With competition from Swiss-German exchange Eurex looming, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is moving to expand access to its Globex trading platform, Clearing 21 system and market data services by offering members alternative hook-ups via the Internet and multi-teleco connectivity.
Currently, members access systems via a direct connection that must be ordered from the exchange. Clients choose the bandwidth based on capacity needs - up to and including a T-1 line of 1.5 megabytes - and circuits and other equipment are managed and maintained at customer sites by AT&T.
Under CME's new Client Direct Link programme, participants will be able to choose an alternative telecommunications vendor to provide connectivity, which in turn will enable them to order CME connections with greater capacity than a T-1 line.
This option is currently available from AT&T, while MCI will join the programme later this month and Sprint will become an authorised vendor later this quarter. Customers will manage their own equipment and network.
The exchange is also offering Web-based access to its systems under its Client InternetLink programme. Customers can now use a high-bandwidth Internet connection to access Globex, Clearing 21 and CME market data.
CME says Client InternetLink can be particularly cost-effective for those connecting to Globex from multiple remote locations and avoids the need to maintain additional telecommunications equipment and direct network connections to the exchange.
Arman Falsafi, managing director, global electronic trading and data, CME, says: "Our new programmes will reduce connectivity costs, enable customers to obtain connections to CME more quickly and allow them to customise their networks for their specific trading and business needs.
"In addition, customers for the first time will have a choice between telecommunications vendors and the option to use existing internal networks."
The CME is also improving its existing managed connectivity services provided through AT&T by allowing existing customers to consolidate multiple T-1 lines into a single high-bandwidth connection. This will improve stability, simplify network architecture and reduce technical support.
Furthermore, customers who currently use T-1 lines supplied by AT&T will be provided with a back-up T-1 connection to Globex via a second vendor. Previously, only an ISDN dial-up connection was available as a back-up.
The CME says it will continue to assist European customers in working with local carriers to install physical circuits at its London telecommunications hub facility. The hub houses the direct electronic connections between Europe and Globex.
Customers using the London hub may select a CME-approved local telecommunications provider and can determine the bandwidth size for connections, as well as the number and type of circuits.