What impact has regulatory compliance had on the electronic trading industry for foreign exchange?
Financial scandals such as the WMR FX fixing scandal has seen greater scrutiny placed on the foreign exchange market. These misdemeanours have culminated in an array of regulatory legislation passed, and a new code of conduct which has placed an extra burden on the bank’s internal systems and processes. What has become clear, is those institutions who have invested in technology have found it easier to adhere to the new regulatory regime, whereas banks who rely on old legacy platforms sometimes suffer from the following issues:
· Lack of STP resulting in the build-up of numerous manual processes
· Fragmented operational workflows that reside across multiple systems
· A complex IT landscape
· Difficulty achieving regulatory compliance
· Significant and unnecessary operational costs
· Solutions difficult/impossible to deploy in the cloud
Why would investing into an electronic FX trading platform help?
As liquidity provision has become concentrated, the role of downstream banks (especially regionals) has become one of credit intermediation and distribution. Many banks are operating in a manner akin to an agency or quasi-agency role, and so distribution becomes key. In this context, having a single bank platform becomes more than a nice to have. Voice trading is not sustainable as a standalone option and involves high overheads to remain compliant with current regulation.
SDP’s still retain a degree of value insofar as being a ‘One Stop Shop’ for a bank to offer clients their products and services. However, increasingly these platforms are deemed not enough to retain the loyalty of their customer base due to their inability to rapidly change to their customer’s demands.
What are the key decisions a bank must decide when choosing a single dealer platform or multi-bank platform approach?
According to recent trends, banks have decided an ownership structure based around three solutions:
- Single-bank platforms focused on proprietary technology
- Multi-bank platforms focused on shared technology
- A hybrid of the two solutions above
Check out our latest white paper outlining factors to consider when choosing a treasury management solution.
Do FX electronic trading systems need to adapt to support post-trade processing?
Is a cloud deployment a realistic option for a bank?
Banks of all sizes are looking to benefit from the increased resilience of the cloud; Barclays has built its own private cloud and are now moving to a public cloud hosted by AWS. Before making a move, however, consider your latency requirements carefully; it would be unwise to expose API’s and GUI’s from the cloud that could be exploited by Algo’s because your rate/price streams cannot keep up.
What do you see as the main points to consider for a bank / financial institution when investing in an electronic trading solution?
Below we summarise a few of the key points a bank should consider:
- Choose solutions that embrace both current and known future regulatory requirements, are real-time at their core and open in their architecture, allowing for easy integration
- Recognise that ever-evolving workflows are the ‘new normal’ joining treasury, sales, back office and risk & compliance, incorporating solutions that embrace all of these functions
- Insist that data is no longer only accessible by the solution provider; it should not be stored in a structure that only the vendor can understand. Data should be easy to access, interpret, use or replicate as required by the organisation using it
- Plan for the future: Select solutions that support market-recognised data standards and API’s, are modular and flexible, giving you control and options as to which complementary solutions are integrated