Jim Downs, the co-founder and CEO of Connamara Systems, was a trader who knew a lot about the markets and had a little bit of self-taught coding talent. So 25 years ago he moved from the trading floor to launching Connamara Systems to build trading applications for clients. John Lothian News interviewed Downs at the FIA EXPO 2023 in October about the evolution of the firm and how it was celebrating 25 years in business.
A recent strategic move for the company was to split into two parts, one focused on software engineering and custom application development and the other, Connamara Technologies, selling the exchange matching engine and trading platform that Connamara built. The EP3 is now running on every continent but Australia, Downs said. The advent of cloud technology allowed Downs to deploy the EP3 match engine, rather than have to build and support a data center himself, he said.
Working from home was an easy adjustment for Connamara, Downs said. The firm had been challenged earlier by a CFTC questionnaire for a client’s application before the commission about how the firm would respond to the SARS pandemic. The response Downs and the company came up with was to work from home on the coldest day in February. That prepared the firm to go full-time working from home when the Covid pandemic hit, as employees had figured out where all the holes were.
Downs spoke about how the firm is using AI in its software development. He said it is a great tool to use for when there is a lot of rote code that would have been assigned to a junior developer in the past, or if you just want to get a start on a project. He also said there is use for AI to support the IP3 trading platform.