Market Overview

DAS Trader: Taking the Risk Out of Risk Management


It practically happened overnight. Year after year, active traders went about their business the old-fashioned way, relying on others to do the work for them. All of a sudden, the world completely changed. Computers, fast Internet connections, and a brand-new infrastructure gave traders the power to do everything themselves. No longer did they have to enlist in the help of expensive brokers – from this point forward, they were empowered. They were at the forefront of a financial revolution.

DAS Trader, which specializes in designing platforms that help traders (including a full-blown risk-management OMS system with routes available to more than 50 destinations, as well the New York Stock Exchange floor), is helping to push the boundaries of that revolution.

“Fifteen years ago, most people were not trading on a computer,” Karen Gentile, Founder & CEO of DAS Trader, told Benzinga during a recent interview. “They were basically doing it the old-fashioned way of going into a broker-dealer shop and speaking with a broker, and he placed the trade. And he is not even placing it through the computer. He was actually making a phone call to the trade desk to place the order.”

Nowadays, people want to be able to trade on their own “because they've seen the benefits of placing [trades] themselves,” Gentile said. “They're researching the company, and there's so much news out there that's available on the Internet. For instance, Benzinga, the fact that you guys create so much new content – that's a tool that people are using to make better decisions.”

“They're not leaving it up to their broker to make that decision anymore,” Gentile adds. “They're trusting themselves. So it's a lot different than it was years ago. I'd say that people are now are a lot more sophisticated.”

Where Innovation is Born

Among the aforementioned risk-management OMS system, DAS Trader has produced many other standalone products that are a part of the infrastructure.

“We're more of a technology company than just a software company,” Gentile said. “We have DAS Trader platform, and then we have an applet that works on the iPhone or iPod or iPad. And that's the iDAS Trader that is also just a front-end to our DASTrader OMS. And then we also have DMAr, which is a direct market access router that connects to all the different exchanges, dark pools, liquidity providers and ATS. We have a risk-management system that is separate but also connects to our entire infrastructure.

“So it's all different areas of products that we offer within DAS. Someone could license one product or two of them or all of them at the same time. And it's a one-stop shop, so just about anything you could possibly need we can basically build it or integrate it into our system.”

Getting Started

With more than 10 years of experience in financial accounting, back-office management, broker dealer relations and information technology, Gentile's background is quite diverse. But it was her back-office experience that best prepared her for building DAS Trader.

“I worked in a broker-dealer for seven years in back-office, implementing and automating tasks so it would make it easier for broker-dealer to function,” she said. “So I already had the broker-dealer financial background, and while there I was also the person that was leading the technology aspect of it to make sure that everything ran using computer applications utilizing whatever technology was available at the time.”

Before that, Gentile worked in technology as an engineer. “So I had the technology background, and then having seven years in brokerage basically prepared me for the industry I'm in now, which is a combination of technology and financial services.”

Gentile says that while you can be in technology, “to be in financial and technology, it's very niche because there are all these different things that are specific to this industry that are not offered anywhere else.”

The Right Market

During our interview, Gentile revealed that DAS Trader's primary market encompasses both broker-dealers and clearing firms. “The broker-dealers that use us are not retail broker-dealers, they're more like day-trading and prop environment broker-dealers,” she said. “Clearing firms that cater to these types of dealers are the ones that are using our platform. [Our users] are placing the trades themselves. They're the ones doing the actual research, and they're the ones doing close to one hundred trades a day each. Those are the kinds of customers on our system.”

Finally, Gentile spoke about the biggest trading innovations she has seen.

“The speed in which orders are getting executed,” she said. “That in itself is really amazing. It's happening in nanoseconds now, whereas before it used to be in milliseconds. There's a big difference there.”

Follow me @LouisBedigian


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Posted-In: DAS Trader DMAr iDAS Trader Karen Gentile New York Stock ExchangeTech Best of Benzinga