We live in a world of fundamental changes. Foreign currency reserves skyrocket, FX turnovers reach 3.000 bln USD per day (expressed in more detailed figures, e.g. 3 Mio transactions, each transaction worth of USD 1 Mio !), turnovers in compound structures such as certificates of the 3rd generation add enormous liquidity to the markets – business is great!
Toto, this sure doesn’t look like Kansas. The winds of change are blowing - around the FX trading business. Will they carry market efficiencies over the rainbow? Or…drop a house on a witch?
The global foreign exchange (FX) market has, in recent years, emerged as one of the most sought after markets on Wall Street. No longer just a by-product in cross-border transactions, FX has transformed itself into a legitimate asset class, which is increasingly leading to speculative activities from hedge funds and traditional asset managers, alike.
The development of electronic trading and especially electronic platforms in the forex market has driven out the smallest banks from the market. Electronic trading has increased visibility on the market and reduced volatility, drying out the margins. Today, the FX market is a business of high volume and low margins, which leaves room only for very large institutions and specialists. Indeed, there are fewer banks involved in this market, which is now in the hands of the largest banks, which are becoming bigger and bigger.
It comes as little news to anyone in the industry that the Foreign Exchange markets are in the middle of a tumultuous period of growth, expansion and transformation.
At one time it was only the hedge funds that actively traded FX, but Frances Maguire finds that that is no longer the case and that pension fund managers are increasingly looking to FX as a source of alpha and using electronic trading platforms to trade it.
Trading volumes are growing intensely in the FX market as are the number of participants and the pools of available liquidity. The variety of strategies are also increasing, in particular the use of algorithms. All of these trends have led to a growing requirement for more transactional data. Yet despite its size, the FX market is relatively poorly served in this regard, other than the most basic of pricing data. For example, up until now the primary source of global FX trading volumes was the triennial survey from the Bank of International Settlements.
Frances Maguire sets out to discover whether the growing demand for application program interfaces (APIs) to enable more automated options trading could pave the way for an ECN-model for FX options.
Heather McLean investigates the uptake of FX e-commerce services and growth of online FX trading in Australia
With Jonathan Cooper at TradingScreen
Foreign exchange is the most inclusive of financial markets and has used technology to lay out the welcome mat to all-comers. Initially the preserve of the inter-bank market, electronic platforms have been developed for corporates, asset managers, hedge funds and now retail investors. In democratising foreign exchange, the banks have set themselves the challenge of supplying liquidity to multiple market sectors competitively, while the buy-side has been quick to realise that best use of technology a critical factor in obtaining best price.
The FX industry is unique compared to other asset classes in that it has an unparalleled level of fragmentation and segmentation and simply so many ways of doing things. Similarly there is a huge variety of participants in the market, all with different motives, from the high frequency hedge funds looking for arbitrage opportunities among global currencies to the corporate treasurers needing to pay bills in various currencies.
Today’s banks are facing a strong and growing interest for enhanced online trading solutions from all client segments. Clients – from funds using algorithms to smaller corporate and private traders – are increasingly seeking broad, multi-asset coverage, and cross-asset trading capabilities to deliver real-time, executable prices at lightning speed.
In the beginning there was light…now we have data; in fact we use the light to carry our data. If the light’s too bright you buy a pair of shades; if there’s too much data, well…you just ignore some of it. Is there such a thing as too much data?
With the rapid adoption of algorithmic trading in equities, speculation regarding how the equities experience will translate to other asset classes, such as Foreign Exchange (FX), has given way to a number of myths. In any emerging market, one can expect numerous assumptions and misconceptions to spring up and based on our client experience, we have categorized the main myths surrounding algorithmic strategies that incorporate FX.
Neal Brady, director of CME Products and Services and Derek Sammann, managing director, CME Foreign Exchange tell e-Forex about the growing importance of colocated network connectivity in electronic FX trading and how CME LNet meets the demand for millisecond data transport.
With Dr Richard Olsen, Chairman and CEO of Olsen, Thomas Parry, Director of Algorithmic trading at Plimsoll Capital, Jonathan Webb, Portfolio manager at C-View
The FX market continues to evolve like never before, despite a trending decline of volatility, the volumes continue to grow. Prime Brokers continue to be challenged in terms of identifying and responding to client demand, supporting all available alternatives, and continuing to provide a superior client experience.
The spotlight is now on the retail FX sector, which could bring new revenue streams for those banks quick enough to respond. Frances Maguire investigates
In recent years there has been expansive growth in automated FX trading. For example, whist the majority of clients at Strategy Runner, (the vendor that facilitates automated trading connecting a variety of automated trading applications to a range of brokers) are still futures based, the gap is rapidly closing in favor of FX.
With Kristian Siggaard-Jensen