US20130124381A1 - System, method, and computer program product for executing a buy or sell order - Google Patents

System, method, and computer program product for executing a buy or sell order Download PDF

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US20130124381A1
US20130124381A1 US13668566 US201213668566A US20130124381A1 US 20130124381 A1 US20130124381 A1 US 20130124381A1 US 13668566 US13668566 US 13668566 US 201213668566 A US201213668566 A US 201213668566A US 20130124381 A1 US20130124381 A1 US 20130124381A1
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trading
order
system
shares
time
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Tomas Bok
David Cushing
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ITG Software Solutions Inc
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ITG Software Solutions Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q40/00Finance; Insurance; Tax strategies; Processing of corporate or income taxes
    • G06Q40/04Exchange, e.g. stocks, commodities, derivatives or currency exchange

Abstract

An auto-trading strategy for executing an order to buy or sell a specified quantity of a certain item. The strategy utilizes urgency scores rather than time bins. In one embodiment, an urgency score is determined at a certain point in time. The urgency score is a function of a trading target associated with the point in time and the actual number of items that have been traded as of the certain point in time.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a Continuation of and claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/457,479, filed Jun. 10, 2003, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates generally to buying or selling commodities in a market, and, more specifically, to a system, method, and computer program product for executing an order to buy or sell a specified number of units of a certain item (e.g., 100,000 shares of a corporation's stock or other financial instrument).
  • 2. Discussion of the Background
  • Two basic types of orders are the market order and the limit order. Market orders allow an investor to choose the timing of the order execution. The drawback of a market order is that the investor loses control over execution price and usually overpays. A limit order is more likely to result in good executions, but does not allow the investor to control the timing of execution. This is a problem, particularly when the investor is trying to follow a pre-specified trading distribution.
  • Several auto-trading strategies have been developed to solve or lessen the impact of this problem. One family of such strategies is referred to as a “bin-based” strategy (it is also referred to as a “time-slicing” strategy). A bin-based strategy subdivides a continuous trading period (usually a day) into bins of fixed length (e.g., 30 minutes), assigns a number of items to each bin, and then uses simple rules to trade (i.e., buy or sell) within each bin.
  • Certain problems exist with bin-based strategies. The bin based approach forces unnecessary structure on the trading process. For example, as the end of a bin approaches, the strategy may need to rely on aggressive orders, which may result in poor executions. Other disadvantages exist.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The above described and other disadvantages are addressed by the present invention. The present invention provides a method for executing an order to buy or sell a specified quantity of a certain item and provides a system and computer program product for implementing the method. Rather than employing time bins, the method relies on continuous evaluation of the progress of the trade (in terms of how much of the trade has been completed by the current point in time), and the subsequent calculation of an urgency score based on a comparison of this progress level to a specific target level for the current time.
  • According to one embodiment of the invention, an auto-trading method for buying or selling a specified quantity of a certain item (e.g., 10,000 shares of a certain stock) includes the following steps: (1) placing zero or more tranche orders for the item, wherein each tranche order specifies, at the least, a target price and a quantity (the target price can be a limit price or the current market price—that is, the order can be a “limit order” or a “market order”); (2) waiting a certain period of time (e.g., 1 minute); (3) determining the total number of units of the item that have been executed (successfully filled) between when the process began and the current moment in time; (4) determining an urgency score, wherein the urgency score is based, at least in part, on the total number of units of the item that have been traded between when the process began and the current moment in time; (5) placing zero or more additional tranche orders for the item, wherein each additional tranche order, if there are any, specifies a target price and a quantity, wherein the target price and/or the quantity is based, at least in part, on the determined urgency score; and (6) if necessary, proceeding back to step (2).
  • Advantageously, according to one embodiment of the present invention, the urgency score determines whether any of the additional tranche orders is a market order. For example, if the urgency score is sufficiently high, then at least one of the one or more additional tranche orders will be a market order. A market order is an order where the target price is set to the current market price so as to assure that it will be filled very quickly.
  • In one embodiment, a continuous or discrete set of trading targets are used in determining the urgency score. A trading target is a target value that is associated with a particular point in time. A target value corresponds to a certain amount of the items that are desired to be traded. The following is an example trading target: [Target Value=100, Time=T1]. This example trading target indicates that it is desired to have 100 shares of the stock traded by time T1. Target values also may be expressed in terms of percentages. For example, a trading target may be expressed as [Target Value=75%, Time=T2]. This example trading target indicates that it is desired to have 75% of the total desired trade completed by time T2.
  • According to one embodiment of the invention, a method for determining an urgency score includes the following steps: (1) specifying a set of target values, wherein each target value in the set is associated with a point in time; (2) at or about a point in time that is associated with a target value, determining the number of items that have been traded; (3) determining the difference between the number determined in step (2) and the target value associated with the point in time; and (4) determining the urgency score based, at least in part, on the difference determined in step (3).
  • According to another embodiment of the invention, a method for determining an urgency score includes the following steps: (1) associating a target value, a bottom threshold value, and a top threshold value with a point in time, wherein the bottom threshold value is less than or equal to the target value and the top threshold value is greater than or equal to the corresponding target value; (2) at or about the point in time, determining the number of items that have been traded; (3) determining whether the number of items that have been traded is greater than or less than the target value; (4) if the number is greater than the target value, then compare the number to the top threshold; (5) if the number is less than the target value, then compare the number to the bottom threshold; and (6) based on the results of the comparison performed in step (4) or step (5), determine the urgency score.
  • The above and other features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure and operation of preferred embodiments of the present invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and form part of the specification, illustrate various embodiments of the present invention and, together with the description, further serve to explain the principles of the invention and to enable a person skilled in the pertinent art to make and use the invention. In the drawings, like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements. Additionally, the left-most digit(s) of a reference number identifies the drawing in which the reference number first appears.
  • FIG. 1 is flow chart illustrating a process, according to one embodiment of the invention, for executing an order to sell a certain number of shares of a stock.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart illustrating a process, according to another embodiment, for executing an order to sell a certain number of shares of a stock.
  • FIG. 3 shows a graphical representation of a continuous set of trading targets.
  • FIGS. 4A,B show a flow chart illustrating a process, according to another embodiment, for executing an order to sell a certain number of shares of a stock.
  • FIG. 5 is a graph that illustrates a continuous set of trading targets, a continuous set of lower trading limits, and a continuous set of upper trading limits.
  • FIG. 6 is a functional block diagram of a system according to one embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • While the present invention may be embodied in many different forms, there is described herein in detail an illustrative embodiment(s) with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an example of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the illustrated embodiment(s).
  • As discussed above, the present invention provides a method for executing an order to buy or sell a specified quantity of a certain item and a system and computer program product for implementing the method. The invention can apply to the trading (i.e., buying or selling) of any item, but, for the sake of brevity, the invention is described below using the example of selling a certain number of shares of a stock.
  • FIG. 1 is flow chart illustrating a process 100, according to one embodiment of the invention, for executing an order to sell X number of shares of a stock. Process 100 may begin in step 102, where an initial set of tranche orders to sell Y number of shares of the stock is submitted, where Y is less than or equal to X. Preferably, Y is sufficiently small so that the tranche orders will not have a significant market impact. The initial set of tranche orders may consist of a single tranche order or two or more tranche orders. Some or all of the tranche orders may be submitted for execution to a trading system, such as POSIT® or another trading system. If the stock is traded on an exchange (e.g., the New York Stock Exchange), then some or all of the tranche orders may also be submitted for execution to that exchange.
  • Tranche orders may be generated with any order type or order attribute that is admissible on the markets, exchanges, and trading systems to which the tranche orders are sent. Two common order types that are referred to in this application are limit orders and market orders. A limit order specifies both a quantity and a limit price. More specifically, a limit order is an order to buy or sell the specified quantity of a security at the limit price. A buy limit order can only be executed at the limit price or lower, and a sell limit order can only be executed at the limit price or higher.
  • In step 104, the process pauses for a certain amount of time (e.g., 1 minute). In step 106, the status of every tranche order that has been submitted since the process began is determined. For example, the total number of shares that have been sold between when the process began and the current moment in time may be determined.
  • In step 107, it is determined whether all of the X shares have been sold. If so, the process ends, otherwise the process continues to step 108.
  • In step 108, an urgency score is determined. The urgency score is based, at least in part, on the determined status of the various tranche orders. For example, the urgency score may be a function of, at least, the total number of shares that have been sold between when the process began and the current moment in time.
  • After determining the urgency score, a determination is made as to whether one or more new sell tranche orders should be submitted and/or whether one or more outstanding tranche orders should have their target price (and/or other attributes) modified (step 110).
  • In one embodiment, the determination of whether to submit new tranche orders is a function of, at least, the urgency score. In a preferred embodiment, this determination is a function of, at least, the urgency score and a configurable lumpiness constraint. The lumpiness constraint is a constraint that specifies a minimum order size. The lumpiness constraint may be configurable using a parameter. In one embodiment, when this parameter is set to a large value, the strategy will generate fewer tranche orders but each order will be larger, and if the parameter is set to a small value, the strategy will generate a large number of smaller-sized tranche orders.
  • In one embodiment, the decision of whether to modify a tranche order may be based on how long the order has been pending and/or the distance between the tranche order price and the current market price. Preferably, the more stale an outstanding tranche order, the more likely it is to be modified.
  • If it is determined that no additional sell orders should be submitted and none of the outstanding tranche orders should be modified, then the process goes back to step 104, otherwise the process proceeds to step 112.
  • In step 112, at least one new tranche sell order is submitted and/or the price (and/or other characteristics) of at least one outstanding tranche order is modified. The price and/or quantity specified in the newly submitted tranche order is based, at least in part, on the urgency score. The price and/or quantity may also be based on the number of shares remaining to be sold. Similarly, the modification made to an outstanding tranche order's price is also based on the urgency score and/or the number of shares remaining to be sold. Additionally, if it is determined that a new tranche sell order should be submitted and an outstanding tranche order should be modified, then, preferably, the price of the outstanding tranche order is set to the price of the newly submitted tranche order.
  • In one embodiment, the price to the new tranche orders and/or modified tranche orders is determined using a pricing model. A pricing model takes a number of inputs (which may include (a) historical data, (b) real-time market data, (c) order characteristics such as tranche order size, and (d) urgency parameters such as desired probability of fill or desired order life-span) and then returns a suggested price. The urgency parameter inputs to the pricing model can be linked to the urgency score calculated in step 108. This means that the suggested price will be more passive (i.e. placed further from the current market price) for lower calculated urgency levels and more aggressive for higher calculated urgency levels.
  • After step 112, the process returns to step 104.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart illustrating a process 200, according to another embodiment, for executing an order to sell X number of shares of a stock. In this embodiment, the urgency scores are a function of the total number of the shares that have been traded and, at the least, a set of trading targets.
  • A trading target is a trading value that is associated with a particular point in time. The trading value corresponds to a certain number of the total number of shares that are desired to be sold. Thus, at a minimum, a trading target specifies both an amount of the shares and a corresponding point in time. The following is an example trading target: [Trading value=100, Time=T1]. This example trading target indicates that a goal is to have 100 of the X number of shares traded by time T1. T1 may be an absolute time (e.g., 2:15 PM EST) or a relative time (e.g., N seconds after a certain event, where N≧0). Target values may also be expressed in terms of percentages. For example, a trading target may be expressed as [Trading value=75%, Time=T2]. This example trading target indicates that by time T2 the goal is to have traded 75% of the X number shares.
  • The set of trading targets upon which the urgency scores depend may be a continuous set or a discrete set. FIG. 3 shows a graphical representation of a continuous set of trading targets. The X axis of the graph represents time and the Y axis of the graph represents share quantity. The continuous set of trading targets is represented by line 302. Each point on line 302 is a trading target. That is, each point on line 302 is associated with a certain number of shares and a certain point in time. For example, trading target 310 is associated with a certain quantity of shares (i.e., 100 shares) and a certain point in time (i.e., Tn).
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, the process 200 for executing an order to sell X number of shares of a stock will be described. In step 201 a set of trading targets is created or acquired. The set can be continuous or discrete. After step 201, process 200 proceeds to step 202.
  • In step 202, an initial set of tranche orders to sell Y number of shares of the stock is submitted, where Y is less than or equal to X. In step 204, the process pauses for a certain amount of time (e.g., 1 minute). In step 205, the total number of shares (NTc) that have been sold between when the process began and the current moment in time (Tc) is determined. This number of shares is represented by point 390 on FIG. 3.
  • In step 206, it is determined whether NTc=X (i.e., it is determined whether all of the X shares have been sold). If so, the process ends, otherwise the process continues to step 207.
  • In step 207, the trading target associated with the current moment in time (Tc) is determined. This is shown as point 380 in FIG. 3. In step 208, the distance from point 390 to trading target 380, which is the trading target associated with time Tc, is determined. That is, the difference (D) between NTc and TVTc (TVTc is the trading value associated with trading target 380) is determined.
  • In step 210, the urgency score is calculated. The urgency score (U) is a function of D (i.e., U=f(D)). In one embodiment, U=D.
  • After step 210, process 200 proceeds to step 212. Steps 212-214 are identical to steps 110-112.
  • FIGS. 4A,B show a flow chart illustrating a process 400, according to another embodiment, for executing an order to sell X number of shares of company ABC's stock. In this embodiment, an urgency score is a function of the total number of the shares that have been traded, a trading target, an upper trading limit, and a lower trading limit.
  • Process 400 begins in step 402, where a set of trading targets are specified. In step 404, a set of upper trading limits are specified. Each upper trading limit in the set specifies a certain number of shares and a certain point in time. In step 406, a set of lower trading limits are specified. Each lower trading limit in the set specifies a certain number of shares and a certain point in time.
  • FIG. 5 is a graph that illustrates a continuous set of trading targets 502, a continuous set of lower trading limits 504, and a continuous set of upper trading limits 506. The X axis of the graph represents time and the Y axis of the graph represents quantity. Preferably, for each trading target there is a corresponding upper trading limit and lower trading limit, where the number of shares associated with the upper limit is greater than or equal to the number of shares associated with the trading target and the number of shares associated with lower limit is less than or equal to the number of shares associated with trading target. For example, trading target 510 specifies 100 shares, upper trading limit 512 specifies 105 shares, and lower trading limit 514 specifies 90 shares.
  • Referring back to FIG. 4A, in step 408, an initial set of one or more tranche orders to sell a certain number (Y) of the X shares is created. In step 410, it is determined whether any of the tranche orders can be matched internally. If the entity that performs process 400 performs the process for many users, then there is a certain likelihood that at or about the same time that the set of tranche orders is created one or more corresponding orders to buy shares of company ABC may exist. In this situation, there is an opportunity to cross orders internally, which is advantageous because the orders do not have to be submitted to a trading system or an exchange for execution. Thus, if it is determined that a tranche order can be crossed internally, then the tranche order is crossed internally (step 412), otherwise the process proceeds to step 418. Preferably, when crossing tranche orders internally, the appropriate upper limit is not violated.
  • In step 418, the set of tranche order is submitted for execution to trading system, an exchange, or the like.
  • In step 420, the process pauses for a certain period of time (e.g., 1 minute). In step 422, the total number of shares (NTc) that have been sold between when the process began and the current moment in time (Tc) is determined. This number of shares is represented by point 590 in FIG. 5.
  • In step 423, it is determined whether NTc=X (i.e., it is determined whether all of the X shares have been sold). If so, the process ends, otherwise the process continues to step 424.
  • In step 424, it is determined whether the total number of shares determined in step 422 is greater than the trading target value (TVTc) associated with time Tc (this target value is corresponds to point 580 on line 502, see FIG. 5). If the number NTc is greater than the trading target value TVTc, then the number NTc is compared to ULTc (the upper trading limit associated with time Tc)(step 426), otherwise the number NTc is compared to LLTc (the lower trading limit associated with time Tc)(step 428). In step 430, the urgency score is determined based on the results of the comparison performed in step 426 or step 428. For example, in one embodiment, when NTc is above the lower trading limit, the urgency score is inversely proportional to the difference between NTc and the lower trading limit, and, when NTc is below the lower trading limit, the urgency score is at its maximum.
  • After determining the urgency score, a determination is made as to whether one or more new tranche orders should be submitted and/or whether one or more outstanding tranche orders should have their target price and/or other characteristic modified (step 432). Step 432 is equivalent to step 110 of process 100.
  • If it is determined that no additional tranche orders should be submitted and none of the outstanding orders should be modified, then the process goes back to step 420, otherwise the process proceeds to step 434.
  • In step 434, at least one new sell tranche order is created and/or the target price of at least one outstanding order is modified. Step 434 is equivalent to step 112 of process 100. After step 434, the process returns to step 410.
  • Although processes 100, 200 and 400 are illustrated as an ordered series of steps in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, respectively, the processes need not be performed in the order shown. Moreover, steps may be added and/or deleted from the processes without departing from the inventive concepts. For example, and without limitation, the step of determining an urgency score may be the first or one of the first steps performed.
  • FIG. 6 is a functional block diagram of a system 600 according to one embodiment of the invention. System 600 includes a data processing device 602 (e.g., a general purpose computer, a special purpose computer, or other data processing device). Data processing device 602 may include a user interface 604 for receiving from a user or from another system (not shown) an order to trade X number of shares of a particular stock. Data processing device 602 also may include a computer program product 606 that includes a machine-readable medium 607 having instructions (not shown) stored thereon. The instructions may be used to program a data processing device 602 to perform the processes described above. The machine-readable medium may include, but is not limited to, floppy diskettes, optical disks, CD-ROMs, and magneto-optical disks, ROMs, RAMs, EPROMs, EEPROMs, magnet or optical cards, propagation media or other type of media/machine-readable medium suitable for storing electronic instructions. For example, the present invention may be downloaded as a computer program product, wherein the program may be transferred from a remote computer (e.g., a server) to a requesting computer (e.g., a client) by way of data signals embodied in a carrier wave or other propagation medium via a communication link (e.g., a modem or network connection). Preferably, data processing device 602 is connected to at least one network 610 so that device 602 can submit buy/sell orders to a trading system 612 or exchange 614.
  • While the invention has been described in detail above, the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific embodiments as described. It is evident that those skilled in the art may now make numerous uses and modifications of and departures from the specific embodiments described herein without departing from the inventive concepts.

Claims (8)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A system for electronically trading securities, comprising:
    a server system configured to submit an initial set of electronic orders to trade Y shares of the a security, wherein Y is less than or equal to X; to determine the total number out of the X shares that have been traded by a selected point in time that is after the initial set of orders was submitted; to determine an urgency score, wherein the urgency score is based, at least in part, on said total number of shares traded by said selected point in time; and to generate a new electronic order specifying a quantity and a target price or modify an existing electronic order, wherein the target price or modification is determined based, at least in part, on the urgency score.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a set of trading targets, wherein the urgency score is a function of, at the least, one of the trading targets within said set and said total number of shares traded.
  3. 3. The system of claim 2, wherein said one of the trading targets within said set specifies a trading target value.
  4. 4. The system of claim 3, wherein said server system is further configured to determine the difference between said total number of shares traded and said trading target value.
  5. 5. The system of claim 4, wherein said urgency score is a function of, at the least, said difference between said total number of shares traded and said trading target value.
  6. 6. The system of claim 3, wherein the target value is associated with a point in time.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1, wherein the target price is determined using a limit order pricing algorithm, wherein at least one of the inputs to the limit order pricing algorithm is a function of, at the least, the urgency score.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1, wherein the target price is the current market price so that the new order is a market order.
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