OTC FX trading becomes exchange-like.

The acquisition of trading platforms Hotspot and 360T by Bats Global Markets and Deutsche BOerse respectively last year were strong declarations of intent by exchange operators to get hold of a larger piece of the trillions of dollars traded in FX every day.

While consolidation in the places supporting FX trading can be anticipated to result in exchanges ending up being more included in the FX space, any real market structure change is most likely to take a long time to materialize, according to FXSpotStream CEO Alan Schwarz. " The FX market continues to do a great job of resolving regulative requirements and satisfying the demands of market participants," he states.

" We have actually seen a shift in the FX market seeking to trade more on a divulged basis. Our business has actually continued to see year-on-year development because there is a move occurring from exchange-like confidential trading to bilateral, fully disclosed trading between counterparties. " Unlike trading on an exchange, the relationship through FXSpotStream is transparent and trading with the liquidity providing banks is on a fully disclosed basis.".


Kevin McPartland, head of market structure and innovation research at Greenwich Associates, believes that conversation of migration from OTC to exchange fails to take account of some of the subtleties of the FX market and that the future lies in locations that support multiple trading models.

" There are a host of non-exchange electronic trading locations that permit clients to trade with each other in a range of methods," he says.

On the concern of whether there is a discernible shift towards totally divulged trading, McPartland describes both central limit order book (CLOB) and request-for-quote (RFQ) having their merits.

Despite observations made by the likes of TeraExchange that order book platforms offer a democratic marketplace through transparent, firm and executable costs corporates have stayed unwilling to desert the RFQ model.

The key question for CLOB platform providers continues to be not why market individuals have migrated to alternative models but rather when they will remain in a position to win brand-new company for products that are most fit for order books, such as the benchmarks and plain vanilla products.

" RGQ offers liquidity on demand and identification of counterparties, whereas CLOB is quicker and its anonymity can be useful," states McPartland.

" But we are now seeing need for an option that provides the best of both worlds by allowing trading in an order book format while maintaining a bilateral relationship with counterparties.".


According to James Sinclair, CEO of MarketFactory, options and other derivatives are moving closer to an exchange model due to the direct effects of regulation and the increased costs of compliance in OTC markets. He describes CME FX choices as an example, noting they are successfully alternatives on futures.

" However, the circumstance in the area market is more complicated some elements are becoming better to an exchange, others are moving further away," he says. "FX has its own market structure that is hard to suit the OTC/exchange paradigm.".

Among the essential reasons why the marketplace does not end up being centrally cleared, says Sinclair, is that a cleared design brings the cost of insurance coverage versus both settlement and market danger. " CLS insures you versus settlement danger but not the market risk," he includes. "Counterparts still discover it more affordable to self-insure versus market risk in case of a counterparty default than to pay the additional cost of a completely cleared solution.".

A senior platform source observes that development in exchange-traded products has mostly originated from futures traders who have actually searched for diversification and included FX as another possession class. " Very little business has moved from OTC some banks have actually added exchanges as additional liquidity sources to cover risk, but that is really the only company that has crossed the divide," the source says.

OTC has actually become more exchange-like because the biggest banks have actually continued to extend their internalization of flow, so each now runs an order book trading structure internally. However, our source likewise explains that the tightening up of credit has actually reduced the number of prime brokers in FX and costs have increased "so the nearby thing that the FX OTC market has to centralized clearing has really reduced its volume and capacity", he concludes.


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