London Stock Exchange hires 81 C++ developers for delayed Linux system

The London Stock Exchange has hired 81 open source software staff for the development of the delayed Linux-based system being implemented on its cash markets.

The developers on the new system will work in a C++ environment, on which the new Millennium Exchange Linux matching engine will operate. Some development is also being conducted "externally", the LSE said, referring to staff at the platform's original base in Sri Lanka. The LSE is replacing a Microsoft .Net environment.

The migration, which would have gone live this week, was brought to a halt on 3 November after what the LSE termed as “suspicious” circumstances in which its Turquoise dark pool trading venue – which already runs the system - went down for two hours. The Financial Services Authority and police are investigating the incident, and it is understood an IT contractor has been suspended.

The LSE this month acknowledged concerns from traders that it needed to do more to improve the capacity of its network, which can handle 50,000 messages per second.

It declined to give details on the investigation or what changes were being made. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks, and the new system will go live early next year.

As the LSE said operating profits for the six months to 30 September grew 15 percent year-on-year to £155 million, it told investors it was sticking with the Linux technology, which is replacing Microsoft .Net.

It cut group staff numbers by over 70, but added 81 developers for the Millennium Exchange platform.

The headcount at MillenniumIT, the software firm it acquired for the platform, “increased from 461 to 542 to support the large number of both internal and external software development projects taking place in the business”, it said.

In a presentation to investors, LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet reiterated that the Linux platform’s 126 microsecond average trading time was a world record, and insisted the platform would perform consistently at speed.

The technology was “proven” and running at the London Metal Exchange and Colombo Stock Exchange, among other places, he said.

The LSE also sells datacentre services to its clients. The acquisition of Millennium IT pushed up sales in this area by £9 million, to £25 million, as the LSE won new clients including Tullett Prebon and the Egyptian Exchange.

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