Frequently Asked Questions

For Firms

What are your clearing and execution arrangements?

Obsidian strives to be a clearing and brokerage firm neutral trading platform. While we already have streamlined processes in place to seamlessly onboard clients clearing Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Penson Securities, JPMorgan and Jefferies, we are excited to work with any clearing/brokerage firm to make Obsidian a valuable part of your product offerings.

Can you provide custom reports and order audit trails?

Yes, depending on your firm's needs, we can generate custom reports, regulatory reports (e.g. OATS), complete order audit trails and realtime order flow reporting (e.g. FIX Drops).

Can you pass through ECN rebates in End-of-Day give-ups and set up custom commission profiles?

Yes, depending on your clearing firm and execution agreements we can pass through ECN rebates, Maker/Taker rebates for Options order flow as well set up custom commission profiles for your clients.

How about risk controls for traders?

Obsidian has a myriad of risk controls available to minimize and control your firm's risk exposure, including but not limited to: clip size limits, buying power controls, max position enforcements, asset class limitations, Hard-to-Borrow enforcements and P&L Controls.

Do you have a management system, I need to monitor 100 accounts?

Obsidian offers robust risk management systems. Organize accounts into account groups, simple filter functions allow risk management to sort by account, expiration, symbol, or a host of user defined filters. Risk Radar monitors "Event Risk" and calculates Portfolio Margin in real-time and Position Anlyzer offers a convenient way to visualize the risk of complex option positions. Let Obsidian be a one stop solution to monitor client activity and risk exposure.

Can you load our Start-of-Day Position files?

Yes, Silexx will work with your firm on a custom automated importing solution for your firm's start-of-day position & buying power files. We are also able to seamlessly reload files intra-day, immediately reflecting any changes in the trader's Obsidian terminal.

I love Obsidian but really require this missing feature, what can we do?

Nothing is impossible for our team of developers and our pro-active and continuous build cycle allows to rapidly implement and release new features often within days after request. Please ask about our "request/commit" relationship.

For Traders

What is the difference between Obsidian & Obsidian Pro?

Obsidian is our base offering and includes all the basic tools a trader requires, from multiple Order Entry controls, to our advanced Option Chain, highly customizable Order Book, real-time Portfolio and various others. Obsidian Pro includes several modules for professional traders and fund managers that are not part of the basic Obsidian offering. These modules include the Risk Radar, Position Analyzer, Book Trader (DOM), DDE Link, Charting, Delta Hedging, Spread Maker and our Earnings & Dividends calendar.

Can I trade pre & after hours?

Yes, most of our order routing lines go online at 5:30 AM EST and offline at 8 PM EST. Please make sure to send after hours equities order with Time-in-Force (TIF) code "ETH" (extended trading hours).

How much bandwidth does Obsidian require, how many symbols can I watch?

Obsidian uses a highly efficient proprietary compression and transmission protocol and we do not employ any symbol subscription limitations. On a regular 3Mbit/sec DSL line you can easily subscribe to several thousand symbols and we have clients with huge portfolios that are subscribing to north of 50,000 active tickers. As a rule of thumb, depending on the activity of the symbols you are watching, Obsidian consumes ~15Kbit/sec per 500 symbols.

The millisecond war, how fast are you?

All those millisecond and microsecond numbers that you see being thrown around in the press ignore multiple factors of latency and often are a result of incorrect/inadequate measurements. For a manual trader, the single biggest source of latency are your fingers and if you can click more than 5 times per second, that's really good. If you put this in numbers, the avg. person has a 200ms to 300ms delay from thinking to clicking the mouse, to actually executing the click. The second biggest source of latency is introduced by your physical connectivity to our order gateways. Depending on your location, sending an order from San Francisco to New York, takes around 30-40ms. Now, for bragging rights, after our order gateway receives your order, we run all necessary risk checks, validate the order and send it out to the exchange our mean-time latency is ~150µs (microseconds), which is ~3,000 times faster than the time it takes for the order to travel to us. Bottom line, yes, our systems are insanely fast and deliver your orders to the exchanges with negligible overhead.

Do you support Algorithmic Orders?

Obsidian has access to various algorithmic execution strategies. If you are looking for VWAP, TWAP or more advanced strategies like Implementation Shortfall, we have the answer. Our execution partners offer an array of order handling methodology; from proprietary to user defineable solutions. From liquidity rebate oriented order flow routing, to dark liquidity matching, flexible participation, and a host of other advanced order routing strategies are at your fingertips.