Business

Tower Research Capital | Jobs, Benefits, Business Model, Founding Story

Tower Research provides a range of high frequency trading services to commercial and institutional clients, with a view to providing greater, more reliable returns on their investments through technology-backed transactions.

Tower Research was founded in 1998 by Mark Gorton (“Gorton”), a former employee at Credit Suisse First Boston. Gorton had become interested in exploring the ways in which technology could be used to make financial trading a more efficient and accurate process. During his time at Credit Suisse First Boston, Gorton spent time developing tools that would him and other to analyse financial markets quickly and efficiently.

Tower Research has since become a pioneer and market leader in the burgeoning high frequency and quantitative trading market. This growing market, and the Company itself, however, has received criticism from the more traditional trading community, as it is seen to be a more opaque system, with some critics concerned that high-frequency trading companies are profiting at the expense of institutional and retail investors.

Despite this, Tower Research has expanded its operations significantly, and continues to be one of the largest and most successful firms of its kind in the world. The Company serves a large and diverse customer base from around world, serving customers through its offices in New York, Singapore, and London, and employing teams of quantitative traders from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.

Tower Research remains privately-owned. It does not release information regarding its valuation.

Business model of Tower Research Capital

Customer Segments

Tower Research operates as a high frequency trading company, providing a range of trading services to a broad range of companies. The Company operates in a similar way to other high-frequency traders making markets for global banks, brokers and other intermediaries, and indirectly providing services to retail and institutional investors, including corporations, individuals, hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds and other investors. The services that the Company provides to individuals are targeted at high-net worth individual and family offices, which control the funds of wealthy families.

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Tower Research is based in the US, which represents its most significant market. The Company, however, serves an international client base, including customers across Europe, and Asia Pacific, with offices in London and Singapore.

Value Propositions

Tower Research provides value to its clients in the following ways:

  • Its range of trading channels, with the Company trading multiple asset classes across more than 100 venues worldwide, providing a broad range of trading opportunities to its clients;
  • Its international reach, with the Company serving a broad network of clients across its native US, as well as internationally across Europe and Asia Pacific, including through its offices in London and Singapore;
  • Its proprietary technology, with the Company utilising proprietary technologies and algorithms to drive systems that provide easy access to market data and trading simulations, allow the Company to create tools to analyse data for patterns, and provide real-time trade support and risk management; and
  • Its range of expert personnel, with the Company employing a broad range of professionals across multiple disciplines that effectively complement their individual skillsets, including systems engineering, statistics, computer science, and finance professionals.

Channels

Tower Research operates a website at www.tower-research.com, through which it provides information on its activities, technology, and locations. The Company does not operate an online sales channel through its website. Instead the Company engages with clients through its in-house sales team, who interact directly with clients through its offices in New York, London, and Singapore.

Tower Research provides its services through a team of quantitative traders. The Company employs more than 30 separate trading teams, which range in size from a single member to dozens, each of which employs a diverse set of trading strategies across a broad range of asset classes on electronic markets around the world. Tower Research’s trading teams operate with strategic autonomy, but retain access to resources shared across the firm, including technology, software, exchange memberships, and market data.

Additionally, Tower Research is able to provide services to clients through a number of international affiliate companies that provide solutions on the Company’s behalf. This notably includes Spire Europe Limited, which is responsible for the Company European trading activities.

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Customer Relationships

Tower Research does not offer any products or services to its clients on a self-service basis. The Company, instead, has its sales personnel and teams of quantitative traders consult directly with its clients, working closely with them over a period of time to establish the individual needs and circumstances of each client. The Company seeks to establish close, long-standing relationships with its clients, in order to secure recurring business.

Tower Research provides ongoing support to its customers, with larger clients having their own account management teams devoted to their needs. Clients are able to contact the Company directly through its offices across New York, Singapore, and London to receive personalised assistance. Tower Research also maintains a limited social media presence – which appears to comprise just a LinkedIn account – which enables it to interact directly with its customers.

Key Activities

Tower Research is a high frequency trading company. It is engaged in the development and implementation of specialist technologies and algorithms that allow it to quickly and efficiently complete trades and transactions across multiple asset classes and venues worldwide.

The Company employs a number of teams of quantitative traders – employing highly trained specialists from a range of disciplines, including statistics, finance, and technology – that analyse the markets and identify data patterns with a view to providing effective and efficient services to its clients.

Tower Research serves an international client base – which spans North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific – and operates a network of offices across New York, London, and Singapore.

Key Partners

Tower Research works closely with a number of partner companies and organisations that support the Company’s development and provision of various trading services. These partnerships can be categorised broadly as:

  • Supplier Partners, comprising suppliers of various services, tools, and equipment that are utilised across the entirety of Company’s enterprise and offices to support its ongoing trading activities;
  • Trading Partners, comprising various exchanges and trading organisations that provide the Company with access to a range of asset classes and trading venues;
  • Communications and Technology Partners, comprising various technology service providers and communications specialists that assist the Company and maintaining effective IT and communications infrastructure; and
  • Vendor and Outsourcing Partners, comprising a range of companies to which the Company is able to 0utsource certain non-technical functions, allowing its teams to focus on the Company’s core activities;
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Tower Research is registered with a range of international exchanges and trading platforms, through which it is able to make trades and complete transactions for its customers.

Key Resources

Tower Research’s key resources are its technologies and intellectual properties, its IT and communications infrastructure – including its network of data centres, its sales channels and offices, its partnerships, and its personnel.

Tower Research owns and or leases offices in New York, London, and Singapore, which are key to its operations. The Company’s culture and ability to attract a diverse range of specialist professionals is also crucial to the Company’s unique service offerings.

Despite the importance of its proprietary technologies and algorithms, searches of records published by the US Patent and Trademark Office identified no patent applications in which Tower Research was named as applicant or assignee.

Cost Structure

Tower Research incurs costs in relation to the development of its technologies and algorithms, the maintenance and development of its IT and communications infrastructure, the operation of its sales channels and international network of offices, the implementation of marketing and advertising campaigns, the management of its partnerships, and the retention of its personnel.

Revenue Streams

Tower Research generates revenue through the provision of various high frequency trading services on behalf of its clients. The Company derives its revenue from two principal revenue streams:

  • Fee-based Revenue, comprising revenue derived from various fees and charges imposed upon its clients; and
  • Trading Revenue, comprising revenue derived from its trading activities across multiple asset classes and venues.

Tower Research operates as a privately-owned company, and as such is not obliged to file financial disclosures on its website. Research identified a corporate directory listing that suggested the Company generates annual revenue in the region of $27.8 million. Reports suggest that in recent years, the Company’s revenue growth has been relatively flat.

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