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In Brief


FX Concepts Extends Overlay Agreement with RSAM

FX Concepts, a New York-based currency manager, has reinforced its mutually exclusive currency overlay agreement with RS Asset Management Japan (RSAM), making RSAM the sole representative of FX Concepts’ Japanese currency overlay business in Japan.

“We feel that we have a product in our yen-based currency overlay programme that can really help Japanese investors achieve higher and more stable returns,” says John Taylor, chairman and CEO of FX Concepts. “RSAM’s understanding of the Japanese institutional market and our currency overlay products is outstanding.”

FX Concepts says that there is a growing demand among Japanese institutional investors to hedge the risk of their foreign investment, and the two companies will work together closely to offer highly specialised services for currency overlay.

 

RBS Adds Liquidity to Global Link’s MM Connect

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has agreed to provide liquidity on Money Market Connect (MM Connect), Global Link’s real time electronic money markets trading network.

“The inclusion of RBS on Money Market Connect further underscores Global Link as a multi-asset, multi-provider e-finance platform,” says Steve Smit, senior vice president and managing director of Global Link (Europe). “Our success is due to our focus on meeting the needs of sophisticated global investors, whom we serve with unique, fact-based research and comprehensive, multi-asset class trade order management systems connected to our trading applications across six asset classes.”

MM Connect is part of State Street’s central e-finance network which the company says offers clients access to an array of advanced e-finance applications and services across multiple asset classes with full connectivity to global investment managers’ chosen trading destinations, including multiple exchanges, brokers, bank counterparties and other online trading venues.

The company says that the system is currently in use by over 425 asset management companies, including 19 of the 20 largest in the world. The system offers market research, analytics and real time trade execution services for multiple asset classes. Global Link’s buy side clients collectively manage over half of the world’s professionally managed cross-border assets.

 

Additions to FXall’s Customer Advisory Board

FXall has added Merck, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems to its customer advisory board. The board plays a role in shaping the future development of the portal, as well as advising on issues such as connectivity, security and integration,

 

EBS Allies with TSL in Middle East and Africa

Interbank spot FX broker EBS has forged an alliance with Telerate Systems Limited (TSL), a diversified financial services company operating in the Middle East and Africa, to sell EBS Trader, the company’s Web-based conversation and direct dealing system, and EBS Market Data, in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

TSL will provide full marketing and sales support for the EBS products and will solicit orders, negotiate contracts, maintain subscription and maximise product usage in the countries covered by the agreement.

“Our alliance with TSL will enable us to establish a strong presence in the Middle East and to introduce our enhanced range of products and services to these countries,” says Jack Jeffery, CEO of EBS, adding that he hopes the company will see positive results of the alliance very quickly.

 

TraderMade Connects to Savvis for US and Asia Push

Charting and technical analysis provider TraderMade is to use Savvis Financial Xchange network solutions, offered by network service provider Savvis Communications, to expand its business in the United States and Asia. TraderMade’s portfolio of analytical applications will be hosted at Savvis’ London data centre, with Savvis offering TraderMade’s portfolio of analytical applications via both IP VPN and broadband Internet.

“TraderMade has developed a comprehensive new range of charting products and has been a leading provider of real time charting and technical analysis services for many years,” says Patrick Osborn, sales director for TraderMade in the UK. “Being connected to the Savvis Financial Xchange will open many doors for us to expand our business worldwide and to enhance the data delivery channels to our existing clients.”

TraderMade says that it has traditionally provided its services to the European market via a landline or satellite connection to a client’s onsite data server, with non-European users connecting via their own wide area networks or across the Internet. The use of Savvis’ hosting enables TraderMade to eliminate the need for client servers, thereby improving performance and reliability.

 

GFI Offers Data Over Comstock

GFI Groups’ independent real time market data has been added to Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Comstock service. FX options, credit derivatives, energy derivatives, repo and cash bonds will be among the data delivered through the agreement. The first GFI data to be carried on the Comstock feed will be FX option volitiility surfaces and trade data, sourced from both GFI’s brokerage desks and the GFInet FX Option trading system.

“Our alliance with Comstock allows GFI to leverage Comstock’s highly reliable, resilient infrastructure and proven track record to host our real time data feeds,” says Howard San, GFI’s market data product manager. “GFI’s customers will be able to integrate GFI real time data, in record-based format, with market data distribution systems as well as other front, middle and back office systems.”

 

IFX Direct Upgrades Trading Platform

London-based IFX has upgraded IFX Direct, its online FX trading platform, and is now offering instant trading in both spot FX and exchange for physical (EPF) currency futures.

IFX Direct is aimed at institutional and professional traders, hedge funds, commodity trading advisors (CTAs) and experienced private investors. It enables them to trade currencies and currency- based derivatives in real time, online, with live prices, 24 hours a day.

The switch to a completely automatic platform means customers can trade with full transparency up to ?25 million on-screen and without telephoning a trading site. IFX Direct also provides an on-screen news service, while the graphics analysis package offers many technical analysis options.

Chief executive of IFX, Graham Wellesley, says “Foreign exchange trading is our core business, and IFX Direct represents the future for IFX and our customers. The integration of EFP into our existing platform…underlines our commitment to provide our customers with the best possible trading technology.”

Steve Pryor, head of IFX’s FX sales, says, “We give our clients a fully automated dealing system for instant dealing up to ?25 million. Our Autodeal facility also means it is impossible for us to ‘read’ clients, so they get a fully transparent price.”

 

Sierra Installed at GM

The corporate treasury group at General Motors (GM) has had Sierra Treasury ASP, a trade and risk management system, installed by financial software vendor FNX. The system, which the company says is accessible anywhere and at anytime, supports straight-through processing for a variety of products including FX cash and options, exchange traded products, commodities, money markets and interest rate derivatives.

The standard services on the system include valuation, deal capture, ad hoc reporting, event, risk and nostro management, and accounting entry generation. Under the terms of the deal, GM will have ‘round the clock access to the Sierra ASP help desk.

“The Internet allows FNX to deliver Sierra Treasury through a new channel and allows our clients to have a defined monthly fee without all of the uncertainties of onsite implementations and ongoing management,” says Farid Naib, CEO of FNX. “The decision by GM’s sophisticated, globally orientated corporate treasury group to use Sierra Treasury ASP for their commodities trading needs is a solid affirmation of the product’s ability to deliver a reliable solution at a significantly reduced cost.”

 

China Merchants Bank Selects Reuters Internet Toolkit

China Merchants Bank (CMB) has implemented Reuters Internet Toolkit and global market data on its website. Reuters is providing the bank with global FX market data as well as Internet functionalities, thus making it the first major bank in China to offer this data over the Web.

Li Hao, vice president of CMB, says, “China Merchants Bank has always been in the forefront of creating and offering e-banking services. We believe by partnering Reuters, we can tap its global financial information and technology to expedite our effort in globalising our online financial services in China, and thereby efficiently exploit the opportunities in this borderless market. Following China’s entry to the World Trade Organization, this Internet service will allow the bank to deliver a world-class online financial information site to deal with increasing competition in the global economy.”

Kenneth Tsui, managing director of Reuters Greater China, says, “China has moved rapidly in embracing innovative technology over the last few years and that includes the financial market where China Merchants Bank, amongst other key financial institutions, has been leading the way in actively initiating e-banking services to provide global solutions. We are so excited that this collaboration with China Merchants Bank has become so fruitful, and going forward Reuters will continue to meet the changing requirements of our customers by providing integrated solutions.”

 

Gain Capital Sees Rapid Growth in Volumes

Online trading platform Gain Capital has released figures showing that trading volumes tripled from May 2001 to May 2002, with volume during the latter month exceeding $15 billion.

Mark Galant, founder and CEO of Gain, says, “Based on year-to-date performance, Gain is on track to reach $200 billion in total trade volume in 2002. Trade volume is an excellent measure of interest in Gain’s service, and we have surpassed all of our projections this year.”

Without providing actual numbers, the company also revealed a 475% increase in customers based in more than 70 countries. Galant attributes the firm’s growth to the benefits Gain strives to bring its customers, and adds, “[We] have spent millions of dollars developing our proprietary trading platform, and it is our belief that owning and controlling our technology is, and will continue to be, a long term competitive advantage for the firm. Going forward, our focus is on expanding our range of products and services to meet the needs of our clients.”

 

Benchmark Asian Hedge Fund Index Launched

ABN Amro and Eureka Hedge Advisors have launched the first benchmark index for Asian hedge funds. The companies say it gives investors and fund managers the first practical tool to contrast the performance of hedge funds with each other and with other asset classes.

“Absolute return funds measure their performance against cash, but investors still want to know how an individual fund is doing against its peer group.” says John Hetherington, director of research at Eureka.

Richard Johnson, head of ABN Amro’s absolute return group, says, “We’re confident investors and hedge funds will find the index an indispensable tool. We’re pleased to bring to absolute return investors the first benchmark for Asian fund performance.”

The index measures the performance of open ended funds with at least US$40 million under management. There is one sub-index for Asia-Pacific and one for Japan.


 


European Commission Gives Centradia the OK

The European Commission has cleared Centradia to commence operations after an investigation into competitive issues surrounding the multibank platform, which was set up by four European banks to offer FX and a limited range of money market products to their corporate customers.

The Commission says that in its current form, the operation does not pose any competition problems since the banks have provided assurances that there is no exchange of sensitive information during the trading process, and that they would remain free to trade on other platforms.

Centradia is primarily targeted at mid-market companies. The Commission says it also took into account the fact that a lot of FX transactions take place offline.

 

Mercator Selected by BNP Paribas Asset Management to Automate Trade Settlement Process

Mercator Software has been selected by BNP Paribas Asset Management as the integration standard for its settlement operations.

In the first phase of the implementation, Mercator Integration Broker will integrate the disparate business systems concerned with BNP Paribas’ trade settlement process with Automatch, the Omgeo solution for order matching

In a subsequent phase, the use of Mercator Integration Broker will be extended to make it the integration standard for BNP Paribas Asset Management.

 

BBH’s Seltzer to Climb Kilimanjaro for Charity

Stacey Seltzer, assistant vice president of FX at Brown Brothers Harriman, is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of UK-based charity Children in Crisis. He will attempt the 19,400 feet summit with 26 other climbers between September 12 and 23.

Children in Crisis was created to improve the lives of children around the world affected by conflict, deprivation, poverty or other hidden crisis, working with local communities to provide education , healthcare and protection. It has helped some of the world’s most disadvantaged children in a number of under-developed and developed countries including Afghanistan, China and Sierra Leone.

Any donations are gratefully received. Please make cheques or postal money orders payable to Children in Crisis, for the attention of Joanne Wragg, 4 Calico House, Plantation Wharf, York Road, London, SW11 3TN, or by phone to +44 (0) 20 7097 8500. Further information can be found at www.childrenincrisis.org.uk, which also offers the opportunity to donate online.

Seltzer will be writing about his exploits for Profit & Loss later in the year.


Profit & Loss

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