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Why this is different

A good grounding in the FIX Protocol is vital for many front-office and support functions in investment banks and trading venues, and so this is where we start your educational journey — learning what the protocol is, how messages are constructed, and how messages are passed between parties.

To be effective in a role which uses the protocol, however, requires a far broader understanding than just the basics of message construction, and this is where our course stands apart. Designed specifically for those working in production support or FIX conformance roles, we put FIX in a broader business context and teach the hands-on technical skills that you will need to be effective quickly.

Not only do we teach key industry vocabulary and concepts – from OMS to matching engines, and from RFQs to IOIs – we also teach the core technical skills that are highly valued by employers, including basic scripting and SQL queries.

Out training also doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom. Fixspec tutors remain engaged and ready to help our alumni as they go back to their employers, acting as mentors and sounding-boards for change, and offering further assistance and training as they deliver value to their firms, and develop with own careers.


Who Is It For?

This course is designed for students entering into FIX-related jobs in investment banks, trading venues and software vendors, specifically, those working in development, QA, FIX conformance/certification, and production support roles.

We do not assume any prior FIX or financial markets knowledge in this course, starting with the basics and moving at the speed of the students’ ability. It is ideally suited to either recent graduates or new team joiners with up to one year of experience.

Looking for more advanced courses? Drop us a line to discuss options.


Topics Covered

DAY 1 AM – FIX protocol

  • Message construction, key concepts and workflows
    • Anatomy of a FIX message
    • Version, BodyLength, MsgType & Checksum
    • Introduction to common tags
    • Re-usable components
    • Repeating groups 
    • Putting it all together
  • A day in the life of a FIX session
    • Logon
    • Heartbeats
    • Order entry and execution 
    • Order expiry
    • Recovery
    • Logoff
  • Technology and tools — engines, FIX clients and parsers
    • Dictionaries (fiximate)
    • FIX engines (QuickFix, fix8, CameronFix, Appia, Ulbridge, FlyerEngine)
    • FIX order entry tools (MiniFIX)
    • FIX simulators (fixsim)
    • QA regression tools (Verifix, Ignition)
    • Storage (splunk, kdb, elasticsearch)
  • How FIX fits into the bigger picture, and what are the alternatives
    • Pre-trade applications (vs propreitary)
    • Market data – point to point vs broadcast (Fast, ITCH, RTMD)
    • Post-trade (allocations, settlement etc)
    • Asset class coverage
    • Non-transactional uses (security infomation, market status etc)
    • Arguments for and against web APIs.
  • Electronic documentation
    • QuickFix, Fixatdl, FinSpec, FIX Orchestra
    • Comparisons vs swagger

DAY 1 PM – Financial markets overview

Part 1: Flows
  • How trading takes place from order idea to settlement (with emphasis on FIX)
    • Order-driven markets
      • Continuous trading
      • Auction algorithms
    • Dark pools
    • Quote-driven trading
      • Counting quoting markets
      • RFQ workflows
      • Trade reporting
    • Indications of interest
      • Firm vs indicative
    • Trade matching
    • Allocation
    • (Settlement)
  • Understanding the acronyms and trading models
    • Buy vs sell side
    • High vs low touch
    • Symbology (isin)
    • OMS, EMS, SOR, Algo, DSA, DMA, matching engine, ticker plant, message bus
    • Following messages through the infrastrucure
Part 2: order types & normalisation
  • common exchange order types
    • Limit
    • Market
    • Iceberg/hidden
    • Stop
    • Pegged
  • Common exchange time in force
    • Day / IOC / FOK / GFA / GTD
  • Common algo
    • TWAP
    • VWAP
    • POV/online
    • Synthetic order types
  • Strategies for normalising FIX APIs
    • abstracting symbology into common types
    • Introducing a “repository”
    • When to create a new field / enum, and when to re-use one. The role of standards here.
    • Easy-to-miss differences
      • Cancel on disconnect
      • Ack then fill or compresses
    • Mapping roe into the repository / mapping incoming into repository
    • Discussion of QA testing repository changes (inbound & outbound ROE change) 

DAY 2 AM – Crash course in technical tools

Part 1: Linux
  • The top XX Linux commands you need
  • Basics of bash scripting
  • Grep commands
  • Crontab
Part 2: SQL
  • SQL primer
    • Types of database (Sybase, MS Access, Oracle, mysql)
    • Creating table schemas
    • Basic CRUD
      • Populating data (INSERT)
      • Retrieving data (SELECT)
      • Updating data
      • Deleting data
    • Where statements
      • Simple where’s
      • Where like
      • And
      • Or
    • Group by & aggregations
    • Table joins
      • Inner / left/ right joins
    • Temporary tables

DAY 2 PM – Designing efficient conformance

  • Documentation best practise (including electronic specifications)
    • What can you assume in the readership?
  • Writing conformance tests
  • Designing and implementing efficient conformance processes


£1,000 + VAT per attendee, or £800 + VAT when sending 2 or more attendees.

Course materials, lunch and refreshments provided.


Alumni & Continued Learning

Our tutors remain available to course alumni to assist with their continued development and learning.

This process starts shortly after the course as tutors provide individual student feedback on areas that the student could benefit from further learning, providing guidance as required. Tutors will seek to check in with alumni on a regular basis as they continue their career, to understand if there are any further training requirements that they could benefit from.