Liquidity + UX design (Barclays + FXCM) = win win

Barclays partners with FXCM to launch UK retail FX platform

Interesting to note Barclays the # 3 global FX powerhouse, has partnered with FXCM for their new UK retail FX platform, Barclays Margin FX – but why?

Barclays will naturally provide the FX liquidity, with FXCM providing the front end technology, and UX design.

The chart below shows that Barclays are still at #3 in the Global FX ranking based on EuroMoney data.

Top 3 Global FX banks
(EuroMoney FX Ranking data)

Whilst below the chart from LeapRate shows how FXCM institutional FX flows are all but disappearing, as they focus on retail FX (although retail vols are don over the summer)- hence the rationale for this partnership, as FXCM are leaders in retail FX.

FXCM FX volumes
(source: LeapRate)

But, the interesting part, is why would Barclays, with their deep knowledge of FX didn’t build this in-house.

In a EuroMoneyFXNews Interview, Paul Inkster, head of product at Barclays Stockbrokers, says the main question people ask is why Barclays did not keep the whole project in-house.

“We like to work internally with our partners and leverage off their strengths, but we are quite agnostic as to who provides a particular service to us,” he tells EuromoneyFXNews. He says while Barclays Investment Bank brings strong consistent pricing, FXCM brings the know-how to engage with retail customers.

“The strength that FXCM brings is the functionality of their platform, the technology and the potential to develop the relationship when we move into mobile trading,” says Inkster. “That’s what they bring to the party – FXCM have the technology and the retail friendly front-end systems.”

Sounds like a winning combination, superb FX liquidity, married with deep client understanding and great UX design.

Only one question remains, what front end technology will they select? The current FXCM offering seems to be Flash (see below). So it will be interesting to see if they retain that, or make the ‘right move’ and re-build the platform in HTML5 (Caplin White paper: 2012 – The Year of HTML5)



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