Connamara Systems, LLC

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Connamara Systems, LLC
Connamara Logo 2023.png
Founded 1998
Headquarters Oak Brook, IL
Key People Jim Downs
Products EP3, QuickFIX, bespoke software development
Blog [1]

Connamara Systems is a software development firm that builds exchange systems and offers custom development services for capital markets.[1] It was founded in 1998 by Jim Downs, a long-time index options market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange.[2] Connamara has built bespoke engineering solutions for a wide array of companies in the capital markets industry, such as exchanges, brokerages, fund managers, market makers, and proprietary traders.

Connamara celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023, commemorating 1000+ projects, 10M+ lines of automated tests, and 40M+ lines of code.

Company History & Overview[edit]

In 1998, founder Jim Downs combined his time spent on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Board Options Exchange with his early software development and knowledge of Agile project management to form Connamara.

Connamara is a pioneer in establishing the FIX Protocol, which has become the de facto standard for electronic communications between financial institutions. As co-authors and official maintainers of the open-source project QuickFIX, Connamara offers a broad range of support and integration services to enhance the core QuickFIX project to include new functionality. It also provides design and implementation services for applications that embed the QuickFIX library, including drop copy adapters, market data adapters, order routing adapters, FIX to FIX translators, and FIX to storage projects.[3]

In 2019, Connamara launched its newest matching engine exchange platform, EP3, which was designed from the ground up. EP3’s benefits include its microservices architecture and scalability, reliability, failover, and self-healing built into its design. A sister company, Connamara Technologies, launched in 2020, exclusively focuses on EP3 technology and services.

Software Solutions[edit]

Connamara offers financial technology solutions that are customized to fit their client's business needs. Connamara's software solutions include:[4]

  • Trading Technology, including Institutional Trading, Retail Trading, Algo Trading, Block Trading, Trade Execution, and Pre- and Post-Trade Risk.
  • Exchange Technology, including Exchange Platforms, Matching Engines, Auction Platforms, Alternative Trading Systems (ATS), Central Limit Order Books, and Request For Quote (RFQ) Mechanisms.
  • RegTech and Compliance, including US Regulatory Reporting, MiFID, Position Reporting, Trade Tracking, Client Data, and Tax Reporting.
  • Data Management, including Portfolio Management, Back Office Processing, Index Generation, Data Collection and Distribution Data Analytics, and Payments.
  • Systems Integration, including Exchanges, Clearinghouses, Market Data, ISVs, FIX, and Banks and Financial Institutions.
  • Optimization, Automation, and Containerization, including Agile Consulting, Automated Test Creation, Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, Cloud Migration, Containerization, Performance Optimization, and Settlement Automation.


Connamara’s technology itself is not proprietary — instead, its API design and system architecture is the differentiator. Connamara uses Agile development methodology, the key principles of which are continuous integration, test-driven development, and automated testing. Connamara's polyglottal tech stack includes FIX, Docker, React, Cucumber, Ruby, Ruby On Rails, AWS, Postgres, C, C#, C++, Kubernetes, and more.[5]


Past clients have included Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM), American Financial Markets (AFX), Cargill, CBOE Digital, LarrainVial, and Letko Brousseau.

Connamara works with:

  • Emerging Asset Classes
  • Regulated Exchanges
  • Trading Venues
  • Market Professionals
  • Financial Institutions
  • Service Providers


Connamara provides services globally but maintains a remote, US-based workforce.

Jim Downs John Lothian News Interview[edit]

Jim Downs spent nearly 20 years as a market maker on the CBOE floor. His background in electrical engineering helped him build software for his trading activities. That knowledge of trading systems he used as the foundation of his software engineering firm, Connamara Systems, in 1998. Connamara specializes in building exchanges – matching engines and all the necessary peripheral technology – as well as bespoke projects for FCMs, hedge funds and the like. Connamara was also an early contributor to QuickFIX, the open source FIX protocol implementation.

After years building similar engines, Downs and his team decided to build one technology, EP3, to be applied to any small or mid-sized exchange. In this video, Downs talks about the reasoning behind releasing EP3. Watch at[6]

Key People[edit]


  1. Work. Connamara Systems.
  2. About Connamara. Connamara Systems.
  3. Company. Connamara.
  4. Solutions. Connamara Systems.
  5. Connamara Solutions. Connamara Systems.
  6. Finding the Perfect Matching Engine – Jim Downs, Connamara Systems. John Lothian News.