Currenex and FX Connect: An Aggressive Roadmap

2018 “began with a bang” for Currenex and FX Connect due to the implementation of MiFID II, according to David Newns, global head of Global Link Execution Services at State Street, which owns both platforms. He adds that a “not inconsiderable amount of blood, sweat and tears” went into ensuring that the two Multilateral Trading Facilities (MTFs) that it was required to launch were up and running ahead of the January 3 deadline, an experience that was shared by many market participants in Europe last year.
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Bloomberg: Handling a Sea of Change

“The biggest driver for the industry last year was regulation. It created a sea of change in the way that markets actually behave,” says Tod Van Name, global head of FX electronic trading at Bloomberg. MiFID II was obviously the major piece of regulation driving this change in 2018, but although this regulation only applied to firms operating in Europe, Van Name says it caused a much broader push globally to raise market transparency, track trade details, and justify all of the decisions made around trade execution. While it represented a big lift for many multi-dealer platforms, this was especially acute for a firm like Bloomberg, which offers such a wide array of securities and instruments that trade across many asset classes and to a diverse range of client types.
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360T: Executing On Its FX Strategy

2018 saw 360T – part of Deutsche Börse Group since 2015 – make a number of changes to its business, both internally and externally. Internally, there was a significant turnover within the group’s senior management. Alfred Schorno left after 15 years at 360T, with Sebastian Hofmann-Werther replacing him as head of EMEA at the firm; Christian Schuhegger left his role as head of technology and was replaced by Jens Kramer, and Matthew Kuppe changed from having a regional role covering APAC to a product-focused role based in Sydney, with Andrew Jones named as managing director for APAC in his stead. In addition, Jens Quiram (Eurex) was added to the group’s executive board and Vincent Sangiovanni joined as part of the GTX acquisition that was announced in May 2018 and retains responsibility for running that platform. “
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FX Volumes Dip In February

Anecdotal evidence that February was a much quieter month for FX markets is reinforced by the first set of average daily volume (ADV) data reported by FX trading venues with all showing a month-on-month decline and only one a year-on-year rise. FXSpotStream reports ADV of $34.8 billion in February, down 9.4% from January, but up 20.8% from February 2018. Elsewhere, CboeFX says it handled $34.5 billion per day last month, a 4.2% decline month-on-month and a 21.9% decline from February 2018 – a month in which the platform set its highest ADV to date at $44.2 billion. Finally in the first group to report data, Euronext’s FastmatchFX says it handled $18.1 billion per day in February, down 9.5% month-on-month and down 14.2% year-on-year. The FastmatchFX Tape also saw a month-on-month decline at $64.5 billion of notional value reported, this is down 3.4% from January, but still reflects a very healthy year-on-year increase from what was its second month of reporting in February 2018 when it handled $26.6 billion. Fastmatch volumes are for spot FX products only, while CboeFX is spot and NDFs and FXSpotStream data is for all FX products, including FX swaps.
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LMAX Exchange: Master of Its Own Destiny

“2018 was a transitional year for foreign exchange,” reflects David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange Group. The first thing he points to in order to back up this claim is the impact of new regulations, which changed the way that LMAX Exchange did business in a number of areas. For example, because of Mifid II, it had to separate its brokerage and its Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) businesses, LMAX Global and LMAX Exchange, respectively. This process largely consisted of vast piles of paperwork as the firm was forced to re-paper clients. In addition, Mercer says that in 2018 there was a reconfigurement of the FX market structure, driven in large part by the FX Global Code and the entrance of larger exchange groups into the OTC market via platform acquisitions.
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Integral: Adopting the Netflix Model for Technology

I ntegral reported average daily volume (ADV) of $36.41 billion between April 2018 and the end of the year, although this figure includes all FX products, not just spot. Because last year was the first time that Integral publicly started reporting monthly volumes it’s impossible to benchmark the firm’s performance along this metric, but in any case the firm’s CEO, Harpal Sandhu, explains that these volumes are really indicative of client performance rather than the platforms. “Integral is much more heavily weighted towards being a technology provider for our customers, as opposed to being just a pure platform or ECN,” he says.
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FXSpotStream: A Model That Works

Throughout 2018 FXSpotStream experienced a very sizable increase in trading volumes, even though it made no trading product launches on its service last year. Yes, in 2017 it added NDF/NDS products to its trading suite, and yes, in percentage terms it saw a healthy increase in trading volumes in this segment, but this still only accounts for less than 1% of the overall volume on the service. Instead, FXSpotStream’s CEO, Alan Schwarz, attributes the uptick in trading volumes to a significant increase in business from existing clients and volumes coming on line from new clients in the pipeline. At the same time, a broader shift in the market towards disclosed trading is contributing to FXSpotStream’s volume growth as is the firm’s fee structure, which sees liquidity provider banks pay a flat monthly fee to trade on the service while liquidity takers are not charged at all.
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Cboe FX: Driven by Data

In terms of volumes, Cboe FX indisputably had a great year in 2018. It’s average daily volume for the year was $37.4 billion, it’s highest ever recorded and a 27% increase from 2017. Breaking down this figure further, the ADV on the London matching engine doubled, there was a 35% increase in trading activity during European or Asian hours, CNH trading on the platform doubled to become the sixth most actively traded currency on the platform and there was good growth in its full amount offering which accounted for $3.5 billion in Q4 of 2018, up 600% year-on-year. Discussing what prompted such an uptick in trading activity, senior staff at Cboe FX point to investments in technology and infrastructure that occurred in 2017, in addition to the fact that the full amount platform was re-built in 2018.
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FastMatch Settles with Galinov

FastMatch and Dmitri Galinov, the founder and former CEO of the company, have resolved the lawsuit filed by Galinov against FastMatch and its parent company, Euronext US.Under the terms of the settlement, neither party admits any liability or wrongdoing.“The settlement is in the best interests of the company, its employees and clients,” says a release announcing the agreement.Galinov left the company on 6 June, 2018 and is “pursuing other interests”, according to the release.Profit & Loss was unable to immediately contact a spokesperson for Euronext, while a spokesperson for Galinov says that as part of the settlement agreement both parties are unable to comment on the terms of the agreement.
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FX Connect Announces Technology Upgrades

FX Connect has announced a range of technology enhancements, including to its GUI, automated order routers (AOR) and order blotter.“In today’s highly competitive environment where firms face increased complexity and regulatory requirements, it’s vital that we work with our clients to shape our product and solution strategy,” says Beverley Doherty, global head of FX Connect. “Our new enhancements will be instrumental in helping us accomplish this goal, demonstrating FX Connect’s ability to innovate and improve products that create solutions for our clients’ evolving needs.”Making changes via HTML5, FX Connect is creating a trading “cockpit” within its GUI that provides order management and execution through a single, secure interface.Changes to the order blotter include live indicative rates, the estimated percentage away from an order’s limit price, colour coding of orders based on their per cent away from their custom threshold settings and customisable order alters.
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