Mobile trading on the move says survey


After some unexpected results in 2017, the latest survey of FX traders conducted by JP Morgan reveals a level of enthusiasm for mobile trading that more accurately reflects what we have seen in the field over the last number of years.

JP Morgan has been in the vanguard of mobile FX trading. In that context, the findings of its 2017 survey – most notably, that fewer than one in three (31%) of FX traders were likely to use a mobile trading app – were surprising, particularly when stacked up against feedback from our inaugural FX survey.

Our research underlined the fact that retail banking is far ahead of corporate and institutional banking in terms of using mobile app trading services to reduce the burden on hard-pressed sales teams, with most banks citing regulatory and compliance issues as the major obstacle to the adoption of the technology.

However, the survey showed that the buy-side wants to go mobile and that the sell-side may be underestimating this appetite. We found that while most buy-side firms believed market participants were already demanding the ability to view and manage orders on their mobile, the majority of sell-side firms believed that demand would not reach this level for a number of years.

Data from JP Morgan’s 2018 survey is more in line with our experience, with the number of traders expecting to use a mobile trading app more than doubling over the last 12 months. Almost two thirds (61%) now say they are either ‘extremely likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to use a mobile trading app this year. This figure is significant given that 34% of the traders surveyed said their company policy prevents any mobile use.

Much is made of the perceived security and compliance concerns of mobile trading, but the reality is that trading through a phone app and trading remotely on a laptop are no different from a security perspective. Indeed, security and compliance concerns have forced mobile trading solutions to be even more secure.

The effective implementation of mobile management systems requires mobile users in most firms to use secure passcodes to access their phones and secure login to an app using two-factor authentication provides additional assurance. Misplaced devices can be remotely wiped and mechanisms such as authentication patterns at the point of execution have largely eliminated unauthorised trading and errors.

The key feature of mobile trading is undoubtedly usability – clients that prioritise advanced features and extremely competitive pricing are more likely to be drawn to multi-dealer channels or complex desktop offerings.

The mobile experience is much more about making trading easy and convenient and building brand loyalty with corporate clients. Native notifications are also useful, helping clients stay on top of their positions and reducing the need for bank sales teams to call clients to let them know their orders have filled.

The positive side of MiFID II


Most of the discussion around MiFID II in an FX context has been pitched in fairly negative terms – yet the industry has much to gain from the clarity the directive will bring to the trading process.

It is understandable that some market participants have viewed the implementation of the new rules with trepidation given that they are required to provide a greater degree of detail around their trade execution.

However, it is also understandable that traders want to see the same level of transparency in FX that they see in equity or fixed income trading.

We have seen that banks are using MiFID II to improve transparency around the FX trading process. By reporting on price construction and displaying cost to the client, the sales desk ‘owns’ this P+L to a greater extent.

This is significant because banks are facing unprecedented pressure on costs. Margins are shrinking and as a result headcount is falling, so it is vitally important for FX sales desks to be able to justify their existence.

One of the most effective means of underlining their importance is to improve efficiency. This can be achieved by getting clients to self-serve but having a management information system to demonstrate value and proactivity in increasing margin/wallet share.

That means client trades can be attributed even if they are done on a self-service basis, increasing the visibility of eFX across the investment banking arm by highlighting the profitability of the sales desk relative to its modest headcount.

Intelligent institutions are overcoming budgetary constraints, using the compliance budgets allocated to MiFID II to re-tool existing systems to the overall benefit of the user.

In conjunction with the Global Code of Conduct, MiFID II has also created a more level playing field within the FX industry. The ability to demonstrate full compliance is vital to maintaining market credibility and will also serve to limit the impact of firms who have used technology to distort the market.

Electronic trading in fixed income markets: report by BIS (Bank of intl settlements) – worth reading!


An interesting report (well worth reading), published in January by The BIS (Bank of international settlements), looks at the impact of ‘electronification’ of the fixed income markets. The report was based on structured interviews with market participants,  and a survey of electronic trading platforms.

It argues that advances in technology and regulatory changes have significantly affected the economics of intermediation in fixed income markets and that electronification is changing the behaviour of investors. The rise of electronic trading is creating efficiencies for many market participants, improving market quality in normal times, lowering transaction costs and reducing market segmentation, while at the same time Continue reading

Future of Single-Dealer Platforms: SIs, MTFs or OTFs?


An excellent article in Risk.net covered also in FXWeek, looks at the future of Single-Dealer Platforms under MiFID II and discusses the options for bank platforms.

Should they register as:

  • Systematic Internalisers (SIs), which enables them to utlilise their own risk capital and trade on bilateral basis with customers
  • Organised Trading Facilities (OTFs), in which case they cannot use their own capital, and would in effect be running an agency business, but cannot run both an SI adn OTF under the same legal entity
  • Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF), which offers all to all trading

Initially, the SI regime seems obvious, as they can deploy their own capital, and trade with clients on a bilateral basis, which is what most SDPs currently do.

The test for an SI is that it Continue reading

Interesting Celent report on future of Spot FX trading technology & platforms


Just finished reviewing an interesting Celent report by Brad Bailey, on evolving spot FX market structure and technology trends in light of changes in global regulation, a blurring of traditional liquidity pools and the ongoing competitive landscape.

Brad touches on a number of the themes we have covered here over the year, but it’s always good to have someone else’s perspective on them.

The themes covered being: Continue reading

Buyside to start paying for research under MiFID II


The introduction of MiFID II regulations around Transparency, BestEx and Inducements will change the relationship between buyside firms such as asset managers , and the sellside banks and brokers who service these clients (although non-financial clients such as corporates will be excluded). In particular, the regulations will lead to the ‘unbundling’ of research from execution, and the effect will fundamentally change the way in which buyside firms pay for, and consume research across all asset classes.

Traditionally, buyside firms have ‘paid’ for research through a Commission Sharing Agreement (CSA), whereby the executing broker would ‘retain’ a portion of the commission paid for the trade to use to pay for external research and other services for the client. Buyside fund managers would typically allocate commission attributable to research on the basis of ‘broker voting’. However, this was seen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) (and more recently here) as an inducement to trade, as it could encourage buyside firms to over-trade in order to gain larger share of research budget, rather than considering value for money.

Under MiFID II, the rules on inducements and paying for Continue reading

Inviting expert guest contributors to SingleDealerPlatforms blog


Dear Readers,

The SingleDealerPlatforms.org blog is nearly six years old. During that time, it has built a loyal and focused following, by providing insight into the dealer-to-client e-trading space. Exploring new trends and emerging opportunities, and looking at the business, technical and regulatory challenges facing participants.

Given the focus, it’s not surprising the blog is popular within banks. Actually, over Continue reading