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Andrew Rafalaf
Andrew Rafalaf
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FIX Working Group Close to Selecting Certification Agency

The FIX Certification Working Group is close to choosing the third party organization that will act as the single FIX Certification Agency.

The FIX Certification Working Group is close to choosing the third party organization that will act as the single FIX Certification Agency.

An executive familiar with the proceedings says he believes that it is a group of companies lead by the Open Group, a non-profit consortium that specializes in testing and certifying computer protocol.

Scott Atwell, who heads up the FIX working group, declines to confirm whether the Open Group consortium has been selected. "The position we're taking is that we're trying to wrap things up to establish an overall proposal," says Atwell, who is also manager of FIX trading and connectivity at American Century. "We're not at a point that we're ready to release names."

The FIX Certification Working Group first sent out RFP's to about 50 firms in July, but less than a dozen responded. Atwell declines to name any of them, but explains that the firms that expressed interest were anything from existing FIX vendors to pure testing and certification type firms, as well as consortiums of those types of firms.

"If you look at a testing firm, it might need a FIX engine while a consultancy type organization might be in a position to act as a general contractor for coordinating the entire effort," Atwell says. "If you look at the spectrum of the type of firms that responded, each has certain strengths, but aren't as strong in other areas, so coming together in a unified front was pursued by some."

An Open Group spokesman confirms that the organization did submit a joint proposal to the FIX working group, but referred all questions about the selection process back to the FIX committee. Graham Bird, Open Group's director of business development and procurement, confirms that there have been "ongoing discussions" with representatives of the FIX committee.

The working group - charged earlier this year by FIX Protocol Ltd to conduct and recommend a third party to ensure the standardization of the various FIX flavors floating throughout Wall Street - will draw up a contract with the chosen entity to present to the regional FIX steering committees and then onto the international steering committee.

Atwell anticipates that the selection process and the contract should be completed in the first half of October.

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