Innovation of the year, Asia: Freight Investor Services


It has generally not been easy to obtain fast and accurate real-time prices for dry bulk goods and freight. But the new app from London-based inter-professional derivatives broker Freight Investor Services (FIS), who won Energy riskThe innovation of the year award in Asia seems to have been a game-changer.

Launched in May, FIS Live combines live pricing with news and technical analysis in the dry freight, iron ore, fuel oil, coking coal, steel / scrap and fertilizer markets – and has received numerous praise from customers.

Kerry Accord

“We have done extensive market research and believe this is the first time that someone has priced this product complex directly in one location,” says Kerry Deal, London-based business development manager at FIS. “It’s a connected complex that is often priced together. “

The application, accessible in desktop and mobile format, quickly gained ground. Already 460 of FISdaily trading clients of have signed up to use FIS Live – a majority of them – and it attracts around 100 active users in a typical day, Deal says. The intention now is to start delivering it to a wider audience, beyond the company’s existing customer base.

Europe and we Together, they make up about half of the users, with Asia – especially Singapore – making up the bulk of the rest, he adds. But Greater China is the fastest growing customer segment.

Hong Kong-based Caravel Group, a shipping and commodity trading conglomerate, is a very active user. Mary Li, Caravel’s Oil Service Manager, says: “We are very satisfied with FIS Live. Our entire office uses it daily to stay up to date.

Adoption was strongest among physical market players, such as shipping companies or metal traders, according to Deal. He suggests that this may be because most of them don’t have access to Bloomberg or Reuters systems that financial traders can typically use.

“This may be the first time [physical traders] were offered a tool like this – a tool that offers live pricing but also charting functionality as well as news and commentary, ”agrees Tom Fox-Hughes, Asia Director at FIS.

We are super happy with FIS Live. Our entire office uses it daily to stay up to date

Mary Li, Caravelle Group

A user from a Singapore-based food company who uses FIS Live two to four times a week, labeled “fast and accurate” for pricing bunker and oil movements.

In addition, Anglo Swiss Maritime and Klaveness – British and Norwegian shipping companies, respectively – travel to FIS Live as an essential point of reference for the latest prices before negotiating.

Financial participants find this useful too. “Have real-time prices for the FFA [forward freight agreement] markets is a real plus on FIS Live, ”says a commodities and freight analyst at an algorithmic trading house. He also finds the various reports provided for specific products useful for tracking the markets on a daily basis.

FISThe achievement of is all the more impressive given that a team of just four people launched the app internally within nine months of the decision in August of last year to start developing it.

Collecting and entering historical price data for calendar year 2019 was a mammoth task that required coordination between the various brokerage firms, Deal adds. This has been made considerably more difficult by the pandemic.

“The process was very labor intensive,” says Deal. “You just don’t have access to many data points in some of the markets covered by the app, such as dry freight. “

It’s easy to access live prices for the iron ore and oil markets, for example, adds Fox-Hughes. “But that’s not the case with most of the other products we cover, without contacting a broker.”

Ultimately, FIS Live is aiming for a happy medium in terms of the level of information provided versus the cost of paying a Bloomberg or Reuters terminal or a full dataset from a specialist vendor, Deal explains.

The underlying technology of FIS Live has a proven track record rather than innovation, but in terms of market utility and product coverage it definitely innovates.


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