Serving the Trader: Designing and Implementing an E-Brokerage Application for Demanding
Aristidis Triantafillakis*, Panagiota Papadopoulou*, Panagiotis Kanellis*, Konstantinos Panopoulos**, Nikolaos Sfiris**, Michalis Glezakos***, Drakoulis Martakos*
*University of Athens - Greece - Department of Informatics, **Hitech Consultants S.A., ***University of Piraeus - Greece
With the Athens Stock Exchange General Index up 133%
year-to-date, individual investors, who see their investments grow at a rate
never seen before in the past, create at the same time a demand for services
that securities firms find it hard to meet. Influenced by the success of their
overseas counterparts, Greek firms have been evaluating the online trading model
as a possible solution to this challenge [1, 2]. However, there are no works that describe how systems that support the
new business models and are based on web technologies can be designed and
implemented successfully for small to medium-size securities firms who seek to
place themselves ahead of the competition. In this paper we describe a case study of a
financial application for online trading developed and implemented for E-ShareTrust  - a
securities firm in Greece, demonstrating how Web-based technology can
bring efficiencies to a mid-size financial firm of a scale previously
associated with higher cost solutions.
DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
The application described herein was designed as a response to an understanding that existing
processes were seen as
lacking the efficiency and effectiveness essential for the demanding trading
environment that is being shaped at the present moment.
The system comprises mainly of a database server and a web server where the
database server is a partial replica of the legacy database. Orders submitted
by the customer using simple HTML forms are evaluated by a custom server application, enabled during
the stock exchange session, depending on the business rules set by
E-ShareTrust. If an order satisfies the business rules, it is automatically
accepted and is ready to be transmitted to the stock exchange, otherwise it is
rejected. However, there is a ‘neutral’
case where an order is neither accepted nor rejected automatically. In this case, the
order remains in the state evaluation in progress and it must be evaluated manually.
In addition, orders can be sent to the stock exchange through the firm’s Intranet
in case when customers are not familiar with the Web, using a special web application which has a similar interface to the application used over the
Internet, but with the exception whereby an order submission can be set to bypass
the evaluation procedure. Furthermore, customers are able to watch in real time the progress of their stock orders
and to cancel an accepted order that hasn’t been transmitted to
the stock exchange yet. The business rules are set by another custom application and they can be changed in
real time in order to effect the consequent orders. One other application is a gateway to the legacy application used to transmit the
orders. All of the complex transactions, like multiple inserts/updates/deletes, are
executed from the RDBMS using Stored Procedures.
For the connectivity
issues between the web server and the RDBMS server the Livewire Service of the
Netscape Enterprise Server through ODBC is employed. This has a significant advantage over CGI for example, because it
Provides native ODBC and multithreading support and
Is simple both in design and implementation.
the Livewire Pro server extension running in conjunction with the Netscape
Limited requirement of system resources, in contrast with Java applets, in both
the client and the server side.
McEachern and O’Keefe  identified a number of advantages that could be termed ‘strategic’ for
any organization. These are adapted and depicted in the table below, which also shows the level
to which the implementation and consequent use of the system described above has helped the
company achieve those.
The success of the application is further proof that the effective utilization of
web technologies and the Internet has the potential to offer advantages to a
small to medium-size firm that were previously correlated with large
organizations and information systems whose cost was usually a prohibiting
 Dasgupta, S. (1998). Electronic Contracting in Online Stock Trading Electronic Markets Vol. 8, No. 3., pp.20-22.
 Buckman, R. (1999). Online Trading Sparks Interest of Goldman. The Wall Street Journal, 22 February.
 McEachern, T. and O’Keefe, B. (1998). Re-Wiring Business: Uniting Management and the Web Wiley, New York, NY.