Technology Innovation Series: Alli Brennan, Director of FCM Channel Product Management

As part of Nasdaq's focus on FinTech and innovation, MarketInsite is featuring insights from senior thought leaders both internally and externally, to give their perspective on the future and current state of technology innovation. Here’s what Alli Brennan, Director, FCM Product Management had to say:

1. How has innovation become engrained in your business’ culture?

At CQG we are constantly asking the questions: where do we think the industry will be in 2, 5 or 10 years, and how does our technology fit in? We are a data and technology firm that has evolved with capital markets over the last 30 years, always staying on the cutting edge of what’s next. Our teams are focused not only on the development and support of our current products, but also on innovative research and forming partnerships with others who share this focus.

An example of innovation in action at CQG is the launch of our newest platform, CQG M, an HTML5-based platform, which is not only a mobile app for trading, but also a desktop app with great flexibility for future development. We’ve begun to de-couple components of this platform and embed them within third-party applications. We can embed a trading widget into a website or third-party platform to provide CQG order routing and exchange connectivity. We have taken our quotes and charts widgets and embedded those into third-party websites to allow our customers to package and market our leading charting technology. This innovative technology is allowing CQG to become an app in app stores of other “would-be” competitor platforms. The CQG culture has always been about technology innovation. Continuum, a division of CQG, focuses specifically on API services and leveraging our infrastructure, connectivity, and technology in new and exciting ways to meet the needs of sophisticated traders around the world.

2. What do you think presents this biggest challenge around technology innovation in your business?

This is an interesting question because it’s a little different across the financial futures industry. Industry-wide, some of the biggest challenges around technology innovation in capital markets continue to be related to regulation and compliance and the impact technology has on the structure and integrity of the markets. Technology risk is a huge consideration in capital markets and managing these risks needs to be at the forefront of every technology firm’s focus.

As a technology firm in capital markets, regulation is often more of a secondary concern, as our first concern is offering innovative and reliable technology to our customers. Focusing on our core products and services and ensuring they are stable and secure, while simultaneously developing new technologies that result in faster connections, new ways to trade, more robust data and increased market coverage across asset classes in an increasingly diverse trading environment is a real challenge for companies like CQG.

3. If you had a crystal ball, what tech innovations would you predict come the year 2025?

I think we are going to see a lot of innovation that isn’t on our radar yet, but a few areas that I know we will see a lot in are:

Machine Learning in Automated Trading:

Machine learning will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, big data and better analysis to further automate trading and require less and less human interaction. This will transform capital markets through the ability to have more sentiment trading based on real-life events and not only on market information.


We have not heard the end of it! By 2025 we will see blockchain technology continue to change our industry as it makes clearing, settlements, payments, etc. easier and more efficient.

Will we see an open source market leveraging blockchain? – I think so. Several fintech companies are already looking to create a new marketplace leveraging crowd-sourcing to allow for immediate settlement and direct ownership. The reason this technology is so disruptive is because it’s cheaper and more effective than many current information sharing practices. As a result, we will see blockchain continue to impact how we do business.

I also think we will begin to see a lot more in the areas of social trading and zero brokerage platforms.

  • Consumer fintech has already taken off in the areas of $0 platforms for investing and social media driven strategies and communities.
  • Institutional fintech is right on the heels of consumer fintech startups, with incumbents investing millions of dollars in research and new technologies to compete in these areas.

Alli Brennan is the Director of FCM Channel Product Management for CQG, hired into the role in 2016 for her extensive knowledge of the Futures industry, specifically her knowledge of financial technology. Alli is responsible for growing relationships with CQG’s FCM partners and ensuring that CQG continues to offer industry leading technology matched with customer need. Previously, Alli was the Technology Marketing Manager for Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC, a Chicago-based FCM. Alli brings extensive knowledge of the Futures industry with an emphasis on fintech solutions and various trade execution platforms.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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