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CEO CHAT: Mark Davies, S3

This is the first part of a six-part sponsored content series from S3

Traders Magazine Online News, October 2, 2018

John D'Antona Jr.

Trading and technology – two great subjects that are forever inexorably linked.

One of the firms at the forefront of trading technology is S3. Founded in 2002, S3 is a financial services software company that provides customized solutions to monitor and analyze trade execution for options, equities, and fixed income securities.  It offers traders a customizable software platform with the data necessary to understand those factors impacting best execution in today’s fragmented market landscape.

Mark Davies, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of S3, recently sat down with Traders Magazine editor John D’Antona Jr. to discuss his firm’s core mission, his outlook for fintech and what new offerings the firm will be bringing to the marketplace. 

Traders Magazine: Tell us about S3. And what is the firm’s philosophy?

Mark Davies: Since the beginning, we've really focused on providing the best tools and service for our clients. Since our background was software and large datasets (before Big Data become a known concept) rather than trading, we really needed to listen to our clients to understand their needs. That drove us to the approach we now embrace - even though we now have deep understanding of Best Ex, TCA, compliance and a broad range of market structure topics, we listen intently to our clients to make sure we're really delivering what the industry needs, rather than just what we think they need.  Our Tagline "Improving Trust" is something we embrace. We need to make sure our clients trust us so we can help different clients improve trust between each other - whether we are helping to improve trust between a retail firm and an exchange, an institution and their agency brokers - or a brokerage and a regulator. 

TM: What prompted you to get involved with Wall Street and financial markets?

Davies: After starting the company, we began doing telecom analytics - matching large datasets against each other. I wrote a general matching engine that was good at matching disparate datasets with non-perfect alignment. In early 2004 an article showed up in the local Austin Newspaper about us and how we were matching data. The last line of the article talked about how this technology could apply to any large dataset, including voting registration, electricity usage and stock trading. Serendipitously, the head trader of a large firm happened to be in town that day, saw the article and asked us if we could help with best execution regulatory reporting. As a small, bootstrapped startup, the answer was an easy yes! 

TM: How did you personally get started in the business? What drew you to technology?

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