P&L Report Card

If there appears to be one area where MiFID II has been something of a fizzer it is research – or at least in FX terms it is. Few, if any, banks were concerned or had seen a huge impact on their output, generally speaking if required a client could be put behind a virtual paywall, or not permissioned for certain content. Others are happy to absorb the cost of research, meaning that for many clients not a lot has changed and for the banks, few have dramatically changed their business model.

In spite of the admirable content therein, we continue to hear that clients prefer short and sharp pieces, as pioneered by Citi FXWire some years ago and the shift to more mobile orientated delivery makes this even more important. Nobody really wants to wade through a long PDF document about markets on their phone do they? A tablet? Absolutely. A phone? Probably not.

A good addition to the ranks of services provided by the banks has been the linking of research pieces with alerts functionality – if your bank doesn’t allow you to subscribe to certain research alerts we would humbly suggest you look at a new provider because the vast majority of banks now deliver what clients want, and not a lot else. This could be one beneficial result of MiFID II.

It is hard to pick out just a few banks that do this well because as noted, just about all of them do, so we would reiterate the need to go where the output is delivering your firm real value and also to a provider for whom the delivery of research is a bespoke experience and not a spamming operation

Winner – Citi

So let’s get the basics out of the way early – yes, we still think the original design of Citi’s FXWire makes it a very strong offering and yes, the broader research offering has drill down capacity to stagger an oil rig worker. Equally the bank has excellent charting and technical analysis tools, and the research effort is embedded into the client experience with the use of the Wire to deliver trade ideas.

So, as regular readers will know, we remain fans of the Citi FX research effort, and the last year saw that admiration grow a little bit more.

The FX Overview page on Velocity is a rich experience of eye-catching graphics and detailed information. For a start, as a currency pair is added to the Citi View window the user is greeted with a colour coded signal from Citi’s research teams, from strongly bearish to strongly bullish (red to green). The target prices for a short, medium and longer term horizon are provided so if the client wants it, there is an instant view from Citi of how it sees the FX world.

The latest headlines from FXWire are provided here, as are the top picks in terms of analysis delivered by the bank that day. Flow analysis and more detailed analytics can be delivered by clicking on a currency pair.

So far then, so mainstream – most banks deliver this kind of content, although we must stress how good it looks on Velocity. Where the bank has innovated over the past year is in the use of mind maps.

Open up the FX Overview page and the mind maps appear with those issues that have either dominated the analysts thinking; the most read stories by clients; just the most volatile currency pair; recent or impending market events, in the biggest “bubbles”.

Click on a topic to drill down into a second series of filters, and then read the research. If you don’t agree that, for example, metals is a big thing, then move the “bubble” to the side and something else replaces it centre stage. It is a graphical solution for a graphical age – the information is available, but for those that want to start their day with a coffee (other beverages are available) and a top level glance at what has happened, this is hard to beat.

A bigger part of the content piece these days is, of course, liquidity and market analysis tools in the pre-trade space, and again Citi delivers in spades. The liquidity and spread heatmap does exactly what it says, as does the algo comparison functionality.

Ultimately, however, it is Citi’s innovative approach to delivering content that makes it a perennial winner of this award and this year the innovation has come, once again, through the use of graphics.

FX Overview is the launchpad to a world of information and content, and a very impressive world it is too.

Galen Stops

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