Following the launch of the consolidated tape in September, Dmitri Galinov, CEO of FastMatch, is envisaging a new business model whereby the platform will not charge firms at all for brokerage.
Looking ahead in 2018 Galinov explains that the focus for FastMatch is going to be on expanding its market data business, which he predicts could grow large enough that it will be unnecessary to charge market participants a brokerage fee for trading on the FastMatch platform.
The analogous business model to this, according to Galinov, is Facebook.
Justin Slaughter, a partner at Mercury Strategies, warns that US regulators are examining if they need to take further action around algorithmic trading.
Talking about how the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has not necessarily given up on “Reg AT”, which included a controversial provision that trading firms hand over potentially proprietary source code related to trading to the regulator, Slaughter highlighted broader questions about what data regulators should have access to.
“What should the government do to make sure that we have access in an emergency to critical data but not give it so much access that we’re then in danger of leaking our critical proprietary knowledge?” he says.
LMAX Exchange CEO, David Mercer, explains that some market participants need to take a deeper look at their FX execution in order to improve it.
Discussing the findings of a whitepaper published by LMAX Exchange earlier this year, Mercer says that too often buy side firms only look at fill ratios and spreads to judge their execution quality.
Instead, Mercer advocates using five key metrics provided by each liquidity provider and trading venue being used by that trading firm to judge execution quality.
Micah Green, a partner at Steptoe and Johnson, addresses the future of Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs) now that Christopher Giancarlo is the chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Green points out that Giancarlo was working in the financial services industry during the initial roll out of Dodd-Frank and the SEF rules that were implemented as a result of this legislation.
“I think it became clear to him, and I think it’s reflected in his white paper on swap execution rules, that the SEF rules that were adopted in a relative rush post-Dodd-Frank missed the mark from his perspective as to what the statute required,” says Green, who adds that CFTC staff are beginning to draft now swap execution rules as a result.
So we’ve just published our Q3 edition of Profit & Loss magazine, which includes our prime services special report, and I wanted to share some thoughts about one segment of it.
When I first started the report I was very negative on the prospects for FX prime brokers, over the eighteen months or so I’d heard so many complaints about credit constraints, about offboarding – I don’t think that was even a phrase that I’d heard prior to SNB – and the general retrenchment of FXPBs.
Now obviously SNB was a catalyst for a lot of these issues, but really it just exacerbated a trend that already existed and this was caused by the introduction of new regulations that made it more expensive for banks to offer FXPB services to a lot of clients.
Paul Aston, CEO of Tixall Global Advisors, discusses the feasibility of peer-to-peer FX matching between large buy-side firms.
One of the long-standing problems with the concept of peer-to-peer matching between buy-side firms is that the probability of being able to actually put together complimentary buyers and sellers is very low. For example, the chances of a large asset manager needing to sell a certain amount of a particular currency at the exact same time that an insurance company needs to buy the same amount of that currency are remote.
Aston refers to the need to “get away from the quantum problem of having to know when something is available in time and level”, and suggests that there needs to be some form of “dark mechanism” whereby these buy-side firms can leave an order without it being exposed to the market, in order to make peer-to-peer trading more feasible.
As P&L’s resident cryptocurrency enthusiast I'm excited by some of the developments that have occurred in this space over the past few months, because it could signal the start of these digital assets moving towards the financial mainstream.
To help explain why I think this is such an interesting time in the cryptocurrency space, I explain how I first became interested in them after joining Profit & Loss, that I refused to buy bitcoin when it was at $1,000 because "it will never go higher than this" (it's now at $4,300) and why recent regulatory developments could have significant implications for financial services firms looking at trading cryptocurrencies.
Although Greg Wood, SVP, global industry operations and technology at the Futures Industry Association (FIA), says that technology is increasingly causing FX to trade in smaller sizes, he explains that experience in other asset classes shows that this doesn’t necessarily mean that liquidity is diminishing.
With more trading firms using algorithmic execution tools to slice up large FX orders into smaller amounts to reduce market impact, this could potentially create a cyclical pattern where the amount of small orders going through exacerbates the impact of larger orders, forcing firms to execute in smaller and smaller sizes.
“It is to a degree a vicious circle and to a degree we’ve seen it happen in other asset classes, such as futures and equities,” says Wood.
The structure of the FX market means that transaction cost analysis (TCA) within this asset class is unlikely to look like it does equities for the foreseeable future, according Dan Torrey, global head of FX e-commerce sales at Northern Trust.
TCA is clearly much easier to perform in the equities market because it has a consolidated tape, which provides one uniform data set from which firms can analyse the cost and effectiveness of their execution. This, says Torrey, turned equities TCA into “more of a science that’s very hard to dispute”.
By contrast, he points out that, not only is FX an OTC market without a central tape, but that the reference points for pricing has become more diverse over the past decade.
A number of factors, including the increased need for an audit trail for FX execution and a desire to limit market impact, are driving the adoption of algorithmic execution tools amongst buy side firms, says Petra Wikström, global head of execution and alpha solutions at BNP Paribas.
Although Wikström says that the continuing automation and electronification of the FX market naturally leads to more firms broadly using algos as one of their execution tools, there are other specific factors driving the adoption of algo tools by the buy side.