James Downs

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Jim Downs
Occupation Founder & CEO
Employer Connamara Systems, LLC
Location Chicago, IL
Website www.connamara.com

James (Jim) Downs is the founder and CEO of Connamara Systems, LLC, a software development firm that builds exchange systems and offers custom development services for capital markets. As CEO, he is responsible for the strategic direction of the firm.[1]


After earning his degree at Purdue, Downs worked for Honeywell Avionics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he worked on the emerging technology of laser gyroscopes, and the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was an engineer in the Office of Signal Intelligence. [2]

In 1981, he moved into the capital markets industry. He spent 17 years as an independent market maker at CBOE (Stock Options, OEX, SPX) and CBOT (Grains and Fixed Income), before founding Connamara Systems in 1998. His trading group was an early participant in the CBOE's Retail Automatic Execution System (RAES).[3] He also served on market making and technology committees of both exchanges.[4]

Connamara Systems[edit]

Downs founded Connamara Systems in 1998 and has remained the company’s CEO ever since. Connamara provides software engineering services and solutions for capital markets, with clients ranging from innovative 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.[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]

John Lothian News Interviews[edit]

In a 2020 interview,, Connamara's CEO Jim Downs discussed what's new at the company with John Lothian News.

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 JohnLothianNews.com[7]


In 1978, Downs earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.


  1. Who We Are. Connamara Systems.
  2. Comments. TABB Forum.
  3. Jim Downs. LinkedIn.
  4. Jim Downs. LinkedIn.
  5. Work. Connamara Systems.
  6. QuickFIX Creators Honored. Financial Technologies Forum.
  7. Finding the Perfect Matching Engine – Jim Downs, Connamara Systems. John Lothian News.