FXSpotStream- now live

FXSpotStream, the multibank FX aggregation Consortium ‘Utility’ we first covered back in May, today announced that they are now live for client trading.

The service was built using SmartTrade’s technology platform.

Press release is here

Big Mac Index

The Economist released their latest Big Mac index yesterday. This view compares the current value with that in July 2007.

Curious to see the diversity in the BRICS (no measure this time for India – perhaps they decided that the Maharaja Mac is no longer fungible) – Brazil at a premium but Russia, China & South Africa all at discount in absolute (Big Mac) value, Brazil & China up and Russia & South Africa down  in relative Big Mac value. According to my very brief currency rate comparison, only CNY has devalued since July 2007.

More detail here.

Syndicated coverage of Caplin’s most recent white paper on SDPs in a cleared world

I’m delighted to see that Paul Caplin’s most recent white paper, “Single-dealer platforms in a cleared world” has been picked up by some of the business press. Futures and Options World (www.fow.com) has published a piece quoting extensively from Paul’s white paper, and providing a link to request a copy.

Paul originally blogged about this white paper at the end of April here.

You can read the FOW article here, and download your own copy of Paul’s original white paper here.

HTML5 — the good, the bad and the ugly

As Niels Bohr famously said: prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

At the beginning of this year, I took my life in my hands by predicting that 2012 would be “the year of HTML5.” Luckily, my forecast seems to be holding up so far: HTML5 is gaining ground in all areas, Windows 8 is practically built on it, and almost all the banks I talk to now declare it to be their preferred technology for future online trading projects.

But HTML5 is far from perfect, and its immense promise is balanced by some tricky issues, as expertly summarised in Continue reading

Deutsche launches new version of Autobahn – combining voice & etrading channels (similar to Caplin & BT Collaboration)

The ‘Mighty’ Deutsche Bank today released a new version of FX Autobahn platform.

I haven’t seen the platform yet, although all the trade press will be writing about it over the next few days, FT article mentions the new platform will combine voice, electronic and third-party platform trading.

Zar Amrolia , Deutsche Bank’s Global Head of FX says: Continue reading

Regulation & the Darwinian Economy

Niall Ferguson was the BBC Reith lecturer this year. For those of you who haven’t heard it, the subject of the second lecture was “The Darwinian Economy”, where he reflected on the causes of the global financial crisis, and argued that many people have drawn erroneous conclusions from it about the role of regulation.

You may agree or not with his conclusion but his point that “excessively complex regulation is the disease of which it purports to be the cure” is well argued.

iPlayer Podcast of the lecture is here. A transcript of the speech  is also available on the site.

Prototyping Single Dealer Platforms


Even the best banks make mistakes. No surprises there. Astounding though are the sorts of blunders associated with grand-scale financial IT projects. Single Dealer Platforms (SDPs) prove no exception, and it’s not just the occasional unhinged project either. Many banks endure a seemingly inexplicable succession of miscarriages; expensive consultancies or in-house builds overrunning, aborted deliveries or releases that fall flat of expectations.

Therein lies the truth; building a Single Dealer Platform is a tricky business. With solid pre-trade, risk, execution and post-trade systems as prerequisites, the platform must exactly service customer requirements with a high fidelity user experience. The design process must derive the business functions and interaction design required, the business rules, connectivity and delivery methodology must mitigate risk, bringing about a smooth and unimpeded roll-out.

I am often introduced to banks where previous failed deliveries have strained the business-IT relationship, reducing business buy-in and IT’s inclination to commit to delivery. Until someone starts shooting magic bullets, an excellent tool to regain trust is prototyping.

Continue reading