National Physical Laboratory

NPL offers precise timing for Intercontinental Exchange datacentre in Basildon, UK

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) today announced an agreement to offer NPLTime®, a certified and precise time signal that offers trusted time, for co-location customers at Intercontinental Exchange's (NYSE: ICE) datacentre in Basildon, UK. NPLTime® will also be used to provide precise time for ICE's operations at the datacentre to ensure customers' systems are based on the same time as the Exchange.

ICE logo

NPLTime® provides a certified precise time signal by fibre, directly traceable to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and independent of GPS, which is susceptible to vulnerabilities. The service provides users at ICE's datacentre with underpinning timing capability for traceable timestamping, latency monitoring and synchronisation, in compliance with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) requirements. The precision of the time service also aids forensics and audit, subsequently improving the functioning of financial markets and strengthening investor protection.

The rapid expansion of computer-based high-frequency trading has increased the need for synchronisation of trading systems and traceability to UTC. This need is being reflected in upcoming regulations such as MiFID II, which takes effect on 3 January 2018, and requires financial organisations to achieve up to 100 microsecond level traceability of trading events.

Dr Leon Lobo, Strategic Business Development Manager at NPL, said: "In today's markets, timing is everything. High frequency trading represents around 30% of UK trades and 50% in the US – precise timing offers competitive advantage. Current systems rely on GPS which is vulnerable to jamming and other interferences and uses equipment that can be inaccurate. Timing issues have led to trading irregularities with the potential to disrupt markets. The new MiFID II regulation will set new standards for timing to prevent this, and organisations will be under pressure to comply. NPLTime® not only helps to minimise the cost of regulatory compliance, but also helps make timing systems completely reliable and robust."

NPL is the home of atomic time, and operates one of the world's most accurate atomic clocks, NPL CsF2, which is accurate to one second every 158 million years. NPLTime® is an extension of many decades of time dissemination expertise, giving industry direct access to reliable timing for the first time.

Find out more about NPLTime®

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Last Updated: 17 Oct 2017
Created: 9 May 2017


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