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Hotspot FX on Target for December Launch


Hotspot FX, the planned ECN for the forex market, is on target to meet its December launch date, according to David Ogg, CEO. The online exchange will function as an auction market that automatically matches buy and sell orders, offering anonymous, commission-based FX trading to financial institutions, corporations, hedge funds, CTAs, asset managers and individual investors.

Hotspot FX has also added one salesman and two more traders to its Watchung, New Jersey-based team. Zoran Mavrinac joins as a salesman from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), where he was a proprietary trader. Prior to CBA, Mavrinac was chief dealer at WestLB in New York from 1997-1998, and before that, was chief dealer at Credit Suisse from 1995-1997. During his more than 20-years in the market, he also spent six years as chief dealer at Republic National Bank of New York, and previously spent time with Shearson Lehman, EF Hutton and Irving Trust Co.

John Miesner joins from Standard Chartered Bank, where he spent his entire 15-year career, most recently as chief dealer, a post he has held since 1989. Miesner established an in-house currency opportunity fund for StanChart in 1998, which has since generated returns of between 11-19% on average.

Guy Kershberg joins with 17 years of experience, most recently with Credit Commercial de France where he served as FX manager. Kershberg served as chief dealer at Banque Indosuez, where he worked from 1987-1994. From 1983-1987, Kershberg was an FX trader at First Chicago.

The platform functions as an auction market, automatically matching bids/offers in the order in which they are received, without regard to the identity of the client or size of the order.

Unlike the interbank market’s EBS spot broking service, which shows counterparties when a deal is matched for limit checking purposes, Hotspot FX keeps the identity of users anonymous because clients trade on margin. It also boasts “Level II” quotes, so clients can see the best bid/offer rates, as well as depth of book.

In addition to trading, the platform will carry research, charts, news, comprehensive integrated portfolio reports and daily short and long term strategies. Market News International will provide the newsfeed, while charting and analysis will be provided in-house under the direction of Dr Ken Bercuson, who joined in August as chief financial officer and head of research.

Clients can enter orders, trade and monitor their P&L online in real time, as well as run “what if” scenarios and leave orders overnight with stop-losses. Ogg says the platform also provides a colour-coded key for tracking directional dollar flows.

A demo system will also be available on the Web site. The service is both Internet-based, and available over a private network. Clients must download a Java application to begin using the service. All accounts are segregated and FDIC-backed.

The service covers the major spot currencies and crosses, with forwards expected to follow shortly. Ogg says Hotspot FX already has a number of large clients lined up, as well as some major international banks that have committed to providing liquidity from day one.

The sales team is headed by Howard Silverman. “Unlike its counterparties at traditional banks, the sales team will concentrate on educating the trading public on the distinct advantage of participating in the Hotspot FX platform,” says Ogg. “We are going to discourage clients from using the telephone – as their benefits will be maximised by participating in the online platform.”

Hotspot FX is backed by one of the largest venture capitalists in Europe, the ETF Group, as well as by renowned currency speculator Joe Lewis.

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