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Articles tagged by Market Making

And Another Thing... I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t think the FX market performed well under the stress of the surprise outcome from the UK referendum last week, but I suspect the real test is only just ...
XTX Markets Hires New Head of Sales for Asia Electronic market-maker XTX Markets has appointed Chan Wai Kin as its new head of sales for Asia Kin was previously head of FICC ecommerce (APAC) at Morgan Stanley. Prior to that, he led the eFX sales team within the APAC (...
Alpha Quest: Navigating the Storm In many ways alpha seeking firms trading FX have endured something of a perfect storm of return reducing conditions over the past few years. Interest rate differentials are still largely non-existent as central banks persist with low interest rate policies. Many banks have pulled back from both principal risk taking and credit provision in FX, making life harder for their buy side counterparts. Regulations continue to take their toll on both buy and sell side firms, introducing new cost pressures and causing budgets to be increasingly diverted towards compliance functions.
And Another Thing... I am probably not the only person nervously awaiting the outcome of next week’s US election, although I suspect many have much different – and to them much more important – reasons. My concern is that in spite of it being a "known-unknown" the FX market is facing a major event - and this is on a global scale not the relatively local affair of Brexit - and its recent form when it comes to handling a massive surge of business is not great.
Building New FX Strategies Giovanni Pillitteri, global head of foreign exchange trading at GTS Securities, talks to Profit & Loss deputy editor, Galen Stops, about how his firm takes a holistic view of financial markets in order to build effective FX strategies. In recent years there has been a well-documented trend of non-bank market makers expanding out of their traditional core equities business to trade FX. GTS Securities is one such firm, with Pillitteri explaining how its equities expertise can help inform and improve its FX strategies. “We look at the various asset classes in a very holistic way and there are multiple strategies that we have that has correlations between FX and equities,” he says.
XTX Markets Partners with Prime Services Broker Invast Global, an Australian-based non-bank prime services brokerage, has announced a deal with XTX Markets that will allow its clients to access XTX’s liquidity via its multi-asset prime services facility, PurePrime. Invast claims that the partnership illustrates the rapidly growing stature of non-bank participants in the financial markets as banks continue to feel the effects of increasing regulatory constraints. The firm says that this tie-up with XTX follows growing global demand for the PurePrime facility, which offers FX and CFD liquidity via multiple trading GUIs or APIs, backed by what it says are three tier-one prime brokers.
And Finally... Patchy liquidity and the lack of pre-positioning cannot alone account for why we get some wild moves in markets – sometimes the liquidity providers should wear some of the blame. How else do we explain spreads in Cable that are almost as wide as the entire range this decade? The lack of incentive to take any risk doesn't help, but what justification can a market maker have for quoting 50 big figures wide? At that spread, they might as well pull out of the market altogether.
Predictions on the Future of the FX Industry Following his retirement from Citi, where he spent nearly 30 years and most recently served as global head of G10 FX, James Bindler, reflected at Forex Network London about the changes that he’s observed in the industry. He’s also made a number of predictions regarding its future. 1. The line between banks and non-banks will continue to blur “As always with all these things, it comes from both sides of the equation. Banks will get faster and high-frequency traders will seek capital to backstop their risk taking activities,” said Bindler. Discussing the challenges facing market makers, Bindler noted that the cost of FX trading is generally rising, particularly for firms that need to use prime brokers to access the market.
The FoXy’s: Profit & Loss Readers’ Choice Awards Profit & Loss readers cast large numbers of votes this year for their preferred market makers and service providers. Last year was the first that we changed the category description from banks to market makers to account for the larger proportion of non-banks that now comprise an important part of market making, and this is again reflected in the results. The industry’s changing dynamics are starting to show. Voting, which spanned across time zones, was close in many categories, so we have listed the top three for each category to acknowledge the runners up.
And Finally... My colleague Galen Stops and I were recording some material for our podcast series “In the FICC of It” late last week and during this hour or so we made the observation that one of the buzz phrases that seems to be used more and more in the industry (and that we dislike intensely) is “unique liquidity”. I accept that the FX market does have unique characteristics, participants and flow, but am I sceptical of those claiming “unique liquidity”? You betcha!
Blurred Lines: The New Face of Market Making As the distinction between bank and non-bank liquidity continues to blur in FX, panellists at Forex Network New York discussed how market participants should differentiate between different liquidity providers. Speaking at the event, Kevin Kimmel, global head of e-FX at Citadel Securities, claimed that when it comes to liquidity, the bank versus non-bank narrative “has played out” as a distinction between market makers, with clients instead focusing on the core attributes of each firm, such as their reliability and whether they warehouse risk.
Report: Top Dealers Loosen Grip on FX Market (Slightly) The top five FX dealers are losing market share, according to a new report from Greenwich Associates. Although the world’s five biggest FX dealers still capture a massive 44% of global market share in aggregate, according to the research, that proportion is down from 48% last year and from 53% in 2013. The report identifies several trends that are driving these changes. It says that while top-tier dealers have been narrowing the scope of their product, regional and client coverage, FX investors continue to increase their trading via multi-dealer platforms, which create a more level playing field for liquidity providers.
What Do Clients Want From Their Liquidity Providers? Shortly after Citadel Securities won the Best Market Maker in Major Currencies category at Profit & Loss’ The FoXys Reader’s Choice Awards, Kevin Kimmel, global head of e-FX at Citadel Securities, sat down to discuss what firms want from a modern liquidity provider. “I think it’s important for market makers to customise their liquidity to each individual consumer,” says Kimmel. Although he acknowledges that “market impact” has become something of an industry buzzword recently, Kimmel maintains that there truly is a large segment of the liquidity consumer universe that is looking to trade with firms that are willing to warehouse risk because it will help minimise their market impact. There is also though, he says, clients that are much more aggressive in accessing the market that just want tight prices and a high fill rate.
EM Currencies Offer Opportunity for FX Market Makers Market making in emerging market currencies is a key way for liquidity providers to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive G3 landscape, says Kevin Kimmel, global head of e-FX at Citadel Securities. “Where there’s a lot of demand and where there’s also an opportunity to differentiate yourself as a liquidity providers is in the less liquidity currencies, in the Scandies, in Ems, where you don’t necessarily have as many people with really tight top of book liquidity,” he comments In contrast, G3 spot FX market making has become so commoditised and the pricing is so tight already that Kimmel says that he is unsure whether a new market maker pricing just these currencies would really add significant value to the overall FX ecosystem.
A New Interpretation of The Sterling Flash Crash Closer scrutiny of the data associated with the sterling flash crash reveals some surprising results, argues Paul Aston, CEO of Tixall Global Advisors. Speaking after delivering a presentation at Profit & Loss’ Forex Network New York conference, Aston explains that his firm replicated the environment of the FX market during the sterling flash crash on a simulator. “In the course of doing that you have to get very close to the data, analyse every tick, and what we discovered was it really wasn’t the headline grabbing price movement that we saw in the flash crash, where you’re printing all the way down to 1.13 handles, it was right before that which was the most surprising bit of data,” he says.
Assessing the Cost of Regulation Although much is said about the rising cost of regulation in financial markets, there have been few attempts to empirically demonstrate the impact. A new Staff Working Paper published by the Bank of England, entitled Dealer intermediation, market liquidity and the impact of regulatory reform, and written by Yuliya Baranova, Zijun Liu and Tamarah Shakir, seeks to assess the impact and finds that while the cost of regulation is higher in stable market conditions, in periods of stress benefits accrue.
And Finally... More than six years ago I started talking about high frequency trading "eating itself" and the latest deal in this world seems to suggest the feast is well underway. Rather than seeing this, as many media outlets do, as being driven by lower volatility and volume in markets, I think it is more about competition. And nowhere is this competitive impact better highlighted than in the story of the planned building of two radio masts on the coast of England.
And Another Thing... Earlier this year I wrote about my mystification over people bemoaning the lack of opportunity in FX markets, claiming there were indeed plenty of chances to make (and lose!) money, because the rather fragile geo-political situation and multi-speed economic performance around the world is providing opportunities. In FX terms market conditions seem to have changed for the better, at least for some participants. We could be witnessing a revival for the trader, and if that is the case I, for one, will be very happy.
Flow Traders Targets FX Expansion Flow Traders, a Netherlands-based liquidity provider that specialises in exchange traded products (ETPs), is making a concerted push into the FX market, the firm has revealed today. Flow Traders is partnering with MarketFactory to trade FX directly with investors across a number of different trading venues. In a release issued today the firms says that MarketFactory's API product, Whisperer, its “strategic ambitions” to become a leading liquidity provider in FX. Flow Traders has long been active in the FX as part of its hedging strategies, but the firm claims that the current state of the FX industry provides an opportunity for it to further expand its role in this market. 
BNP Signs Treasuries Deal with GTS BNP Paribas and non-bank market making firm GTS, have announced a strategic collaboration, which they say, marks “a new era for banks and electronic market makers”. Under terms of the strategic collaboration, BNP Paribas will seek to improve the client experience by providing improved pricing in the secondary market for US Treasuries by the addition of GTS liquidity into its pricing framework. A dedicated team from both firms will leverage a mutually developed technology platform that seeks to provide BNP Paribas with access to greater liquidity.
Spreading the Wealth With more information becoming increasingly accessible to a wider set of FX market participants, are we witnessing the democratisation of data? Galen Stops takes a look. The starting point for claiming that data is being democratised in FX, and in the financial markets more broadly, is to point out how much more accessible data has become to a wider range of market participants.  At the retail level, people can use smartphones to find out a currency exchange rate at any time in just seconds. At the professional level, trading firms can now access high-speed market data from numerous sources at affordable prices, while aggregators allow them to rapidly compare the data coming on from these sources. 
Edging Towards the Exit? The use of a last look window by market makers will decrease in 2018, but don't expect the practice to disappear any time soon, says Galen Stops. If you're sick of reading endless articles and hearing lengthy debates at conferences regarding last look, then the first part of this prediction will be music to your ears: in 2018 the industry conversation will move on from this topic. This prediction comes despite a second one, that last look will not disappear in 2018. Yes, XTX Markets made headlines by committing to a zero hold time on their FX trades – not to be confused with offering firm liquidity – while other market makers have made more private assurances of a similar kind.
Going Greener Recycling is a good thing - just ask the environmentalists - but is it a good in FX? Colin Lambert thinks this year, it could be decided that it is not. The phrase "liquidity mirage" is almost as old as e-FX trading, but it's hard to believe that the originator of that phrase had today's FX market in mind. In 2003, when many of us first heard then Bank of England chief dealer Martin Mallett use the phrase, even the e-world was a very different place. Technology had not yet democratised the industry, non-bank market makers were finding their way in equities and futures markets and yet to really enter FX, and there was a real divide between market maker and liquidity consumer.
Built to Become Big Galen Stops takes a look at how and why Aston Capital Management is planning to scale up following its recent $100m investment.  Aston Capital Management recently received an injection of $100 million in AUM and an additional $5 million in seed operating capital from private investors.  Following this investment, the firm’s CEO Isaac Lieberman is, perhaps unsurprisingly, bullish about its future. “We have a goal through our strategic mandate and product development timeline to have capacity to be managing $2 billion in AUM within two years and I can actually see us achieving this goal quickly as this business accelerates,” he says. To help achieve this goal, Lieberman has deliberately been structuring the firm so that it can easily scale up in the future. For starters, the firm has been getting a whole slew of regulatory and accountancy registrations in place.
Tracing the Evolution of a Currency Manager Philippe Bonnefoy, the founder of Eleuthera Capital, explains how his firm has evolved over the years in response to changes in the FX market. “Over the last 20 or 30 years we’ve evolved massively, starting as discretionary macro traders, then using more and more quant models to manage positions and then finally using the quant models to actually do the trading and become a quant portfolio manager,” he says. Part of the reason for this, explains Bonnefoy, is that the price behaviour of the FX market has changed significantly as market making has become overwhelming conducted electronically. Even now, he points out, FX trading firms need to be cognisant of these changes and how they’ve impacted liquidity when they screen and look at data to test their models.