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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Data Remains the Key Battleground for FX Platforms

Platform providers are becoming more conscious about the value of data, both for their businesses and their clients. Galen Stops takes a look at what this means for the FX industry.I f there is one consistent trend that emerges talking to all of the major OTC FX trading venues in 2019, it is that they’re all keen to emphasise the importance of data, both with regards to how they operate their businesses and how their clients operate theirs. On the one hand, FX trading venues are increasingly looking for ways to package and sell their market data, creating new revenue streams for the business. On the other, seemingly all of them are investing in developing trade analytics tools that will enable users of these platforms to derive greater insights from their trading activity and more effectively evaluate the liquidity and pricing available there.
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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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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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Has FX Turned a Corner?

Now that MiFID II is in force and the industry has had time to digest the Global Code of Conduct, platform providers will face less distractions in 2019, says Galen Stops.In the second half of 2017 it seemed as though many FX market participants, on both the buy and sell sides, were forced to shelve any business plans that they might have as resources were diverted to help ensure compliance with MiFID II ahead of the deadline on January 3, 2018. Preparations for MiFID II cost an estimated $2.1bn in 2017 alone, according to a report by Expand, a Boston Consulting Group company, and IHS Markit, and this does not account for the amount of manpower and time that was also devoted to ensuring that everything was ready within these firms ahead of the deadline.
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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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Multi-Dealer Liquidity on the Rise

Although the latest FX committee turnover data hold no terrors for other channels, a longer term trend does seem to be confirmed that more volume is heading towards the multi-dealer model, especially those on a disclosed basis. Colin Lambert takes a look.The historically clichéd method for a customer to execute an FX hedge was to call three or four banks and ask for a price. Surprisingly, even as relatively recently as late 2017 customers were still telling Profit & Loss and other industry surveys that they still preferred to pick up the phone, but more recent data suggest this is no longer the case and that customers are moving to the e-channel for their FX needs.
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A Rising Tide Lifts All

If the numbers are anything to go by, 2018 was a good year for OTC FX platforms, says Galen Stops.2018 saw the spot volumes increase across all of the multidealer OTC FX platforms that report this data, something that has not happened once in the past five years. Talk to the platform providers about what they saw as the key drivers of trading volumes in 2018 and they largely cite the same factors, chief amongst these being a proper decoupling of US interest rates relative to the rest of the world.
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SGX: Doing Things Differently

“It’s not rocket science, but it is a different approach compared to other exchanges,” says KC Lam, head of FX and rates at SGX, when discussing the exchange’s new FlexC FX futures, which aim to “futurise” certain OTC FX product offerings. This is, of course, a reference to the recent product initiatives launched by various exchange groups in an attempt to bridge the gap between OTC and listed FX trading. While Eurex has launched rolling spot futures, which mimic the trading of OTC FX spot contracts, combined with the daily usage of a tom-next (T/N) swap in order to roll over the value date of the spot position, and CME has launched CME Link, spot FX basis spreads offered on Globex to create a central limit order book (CLOB) between the OTC spot FX and CME FX futures markets, SGX is indeed taking a very different approach.
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