Connamara Systems, LLC

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Connamara Systems, LLC
Connamara logo dark-1.png
Founded 1998
Headquarters Chicago, IL
Key People Jim Downs
Products EP3, QuickFIX, bespoke software development

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.

Company History & Overview[edit]

Since its founding, Connamara has provided software engineering services and solutions for capital markets, with clients ranging from new marketplaces to leading global exchanges. Connamara has engineered matching engines, trading platforms, risk systems, execution and order management systems, trading user interfaces, and dashboards for exchanges, brokerages, fund managers, market makers, and proprietary traders.

Connamara is headquartered in Chicago.[3]

Products and Services[edit]

Connamara services include:[4]

  • Trading Systems Design and Implementation
  • Market Data Integration
  • Trading User Interfaces
  • Algorithmic Trading Systems
  • Exchange Connectivity
  • Quality Assurance Outsourcing
  • QuickFIX Developer and Production Support
  • Production Support
  • Third Party API integration

In 2019, Connamara launched its newest 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.[5]

Connamara was an initial collaborator in the creation of QuickFIX, an open source FIX engine, and since 2001 has continued to contribute to the enhancements and maintenance of the engine. In 2014, Jim and Connamara were recognized with an award from FIX Trading Community for their contributions to QuickFIX.[6]


Connamara’s technology itself is not proprietary — instead, its API design and system architecture is the differentiator. In order to ensure quality and feature set flexibility, Connamara uses agile development methodology, key principles of which are continuous integration, test-driven development, and automated testing.

Connamara’s specific architecture includes:

  • Go programming language
  • Microservices architecture
  • Google Protocol Buffers
  • Kafka high throughput message broker
  • React Javascript library
  • Docker containerization (cloud)

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[7]

Key People[edit]