New FX People Moves: FxPro, Societe Generale and CLS Group

FxPro has made a new appointment after it hired Jon Chapman as its new e-FX institutional sales manager. Prior to joining FxPro, Mr. Chapman previously worked at Boston Technologies and Boston Prime.

Mr. Chapman will report to FxPro CEO Charalambos Psimolophitis and will be based in London, where he has mostly worked in, besides a past stint in Singapore. At Boston Technologies, Mr. Chapman worked in institutional prime brokerage sales for the EMEA region.

 Meanwhile, Societe Generale’s unit, Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking has hired Sadia Ricke as the Head of Global Finance for the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), based in Hong Kong. Mr. Ricke will report to Hikaru Ogata, the Societe Generale’s chief executive officer of Global Banking & Investor Solutions for the APAC region.

The French bank’s move follows its recent appointment of Eric Verleyen as its Global Chief Information Officer. Ricke’s appointment is a promotion as he previously worked for Societe Generale CIB in Paris as the Head of Credit Risk.

Elsewhere, FX risk mitigation provider CLS Group has hired Trevor Suarez as its Chief Finance Officer, reporting to CLS CEO David Puth. He will be based in London and will join the company’s Executive Management Committee as well as become a key member of CLS Board’s Audit and Finance Committee.

Trevor is a CLS insider, having joined in February 2014 in the capacity of the Head of Financial Planning and Analysis. From September 2014, he was the co-CFO.

Trevor previously worked as the Finance Director of the Lloyds Bank’s UK Wealth Division as well as the Head of Group Planning & Performance at Halifax Bank of Scotland.



FX Moves: UBS AG, Union Bancaire Privee and ANZ Banking Group

UBS AG immediate former global head of foreign exchange structuring, Andrew Kaufmann has left the bank to join Maven Global, where he will serve as the managing director and co-founder.

Mr. Kaufmann has worked in financial markets for over two decades and hence it seems the logical conclusion is to pioneer his own firm. He will be based in London, where he has always been working with UBS for the past four years as the global head of FX structuring. Previously, he worked in a similar role at Barclays Plc, besides in Merrill Lynch.

Meanwhile, Swiss private bank Union Bancaire Privee has hired Koon Chow to the role of senior macro and foreign exchange strategist, a position that will see him concentrate on emerging markets as well as fixed income.

Mr. Chow previously worked with Barclays Plc, where he worked as the managing director, focusing on foreign exchange and emerging markets. Previously, he worked with Credit Suisse AG and Idealglobal in various senior capacities.

Mr. Chow will be operating out of London and will oversee foreign exchange and sovereign research, besides assisting the group with trading strategies. He has a combined experience of nearly two decades in emerging markets.

Elsewhere, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd has hired Sean Birchley as the head of international and institutional banking, Queensland and the Northern Territory area, after Russell Shields retired. Mr. Birchley will report to Aaron Ross, the bank’s head of international banking in Australia as well as Mark Whelan, the managing director of global commercial banking.

Mr. Birchley will also continue serving as the general manager of commercial and corporate banking in the area.




Alpari Removes Minimum Deposit Requirements, U.K. Division under Special Administration

Retail forex traders now have the leeway to pick any account that they want from Alpari as the company readies itself for the removal of all minimum deposit requirements starting January 21.

This means that, starting from January 21, 2015, no minimum deposit will be required to open any type of trading account with Alpari, meaning clients in the retail FX market can choose any type of account they want.

Alpari, which is headquartered in Russia, remained unaffected by the Swiss Franc volatility that roiled financial markets last week.

Elsewhere, Alpari UK has been put under special administration after its board of directors failed to find a buyer to purchase its business in order to avoid the situation. Already, KPMG has been appointed by the Financial Conduct Authority to the role of special administrator for Alpari UK.

Hence, as a special administrator, KPMG must try to look for a buyer for the Alpari UK business in order to save it, or else it must manage the dissolution and the eventual return of funds back to customers.

Meanwhile, IronFX Global MENA Limited has announced that it has been awarded a license by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to run as an Authorised Firm. This is no mean feat as the DFSA is widely reputed for its tough supervisory framework, which requires all firms to maintain the highest levels of compliance possible. Entry conditions are also extremely stringent.

This means that IronFX Global must submit to operate under principles of efficiency, fairness, and transparency, besides protecting both direct and indirect participants in the DIFC financial services markets. IronFX Global MENA offices are situated at the Emirates Financial Towers at the South Tower, Office 301.


MOEX & GAIN Capital’s December Trading Metrics Released

Moscow Exchange reported a 31 percent increase in total FX volume in December from a month earlier, with trades totaling 25.6 trillion rubles, up from 18.7 trillion in November. This translates to an average daily volume of 1,164.1 billion rubles.

Turnover in the Derivatives Market surged 137 percent to 8.5 trillion rubles on an annualized basis, up from 3.6 trillion in December 2013. This means there were 168.9 million contracts in December 2014, up from 83.9 million contracts. Out of the total, 971 billion were options, while futures totaled 7.6 trillion rubles.

The volumes of FX derivatives grew 370 percent on an annual basis to 5.7 trillion rubles. Trading volumes of FX options rose to 748.4 billion rubles, up from 13.9 billion rubles in December 2013.

Spot trades totaled 10.0 trillion rubles, while swap trades stood at 15.7 trillion rubles, up from 6.9 trillion ruble worth of spot trades and 11.8 trillion rubles of swap trades in November 2014.

Meanwhile, leading FX firm GAIN Capital reported an increase of 6.8 percent in retail OTC trading volumes to $236.1 billion in December 2014 from a month earlier. However, it saw a marked decline of 6 percent in institutional trades, with the average daily GTX volume dropping 6 percent to $17.2 billion.

GAIN Capital had reported a 19 percent decline in retail OTC trading volumes in November to $221 billion, compared with 273.4 billion in October. The December’s figure of $236.1 billion still falls short of this year’s high of $238.9 billion touched in September.

The institutional metrics were dismal, with volumes (average daily GTX volume) plunging 6 percent to $17.2 billion, compared with $19.6 billion in November 2014. However, on an annual basis, the December’s figure is a 3.9 percent increase from December 2013.



FXCM Israel Hires New Chamber Trading Head; Other FX Appointments

FXCM Israel has appointed Itzik Noy as the Chamber Trading Head as it seeks to replace Tal Zohar, who unexpectedly left in October.

Mr. Noy’s predecessor, Mr. Zohar joined IG Group in an executive role. As the new Chamber Trading Head, Noy is expected to help grow the company’s footprint in Israel and boost public attitudes towards forex trading.

 “These are challenging times for the trading arenas. I intend to focus on changing the image and reputation of the trading arena field. Owing to the new regulation that was ratified recently, which the Association has supported and will assist in implementing, I am convinced that the public will trust again Forex trading,” said Mr. Noy on his appointment.

Meanwhile, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has appointed Peter Jameson to the head of trade in its Global Transaction Services (GTS) unit in its EMEA division.

Recently, in September, the bank laid off Sowen Ng and Doug Horlick, two key FX executives, as it sought to weather FX malpractices investigations by authorities and tough industry times this year.

Mr. Jameson will still work as the co-head of product management within the EMEA region.

Elsewhere, BNP Paribas Securities Services, which is wholly-owned by BNP Paribas SA, has hired Dario Rigert and Corinne Vitte to its business development unit.

Corinne Vitte will be the group Head of Sales for institutional investors. He previously worked at RBC Investor & Treasury Services and Citi. Dario Rigert will serve as Sales Manager for institutional investors, and will directly report to Vitte. Mr. Rigert previously worked at JPMorgan.


Intercontinental Exchange Posts Lower Trading Volumes in November

The Intercontinental Exchange on Wednesday released its trading metrics for the month of November, showing a decline in trading volumes in the Forex sector.

On a month-on-month basis, the volumes fell; but they increased on a year-on-year comparison.

The total average daily volume (ADV) was 42,000 contracts in November, down from 44,000 in October. The ADV for September was 50,000 FX contracts.

ADV for futures and options fell 16 percent from November 2013, though commodity ADV rose 12 percent as compared with 1 percent gain in October. The energy ADV rose 13 percent led by Brent, Other Oil, Gasoil and Natural Gas ADV, which all rose 10 percent, 19 percent, 4 percent and 19 percent respectively from a year earlier.

This is welcome news for a company that is seeking to diversify its asset classes instead of FX, such as stocks and commodities.

Meanwhile, Japanese FX giant MONEX Group reported a 5.5 percent gain in trading volumes in November.

This is surprising considering that most FX firms have reported stagnant or declining volumes in November 2014. MONEX Group reported a 5.5 percent gain to $55.4 billion in November 2014, up from $52.4 billion in October 2014.

This effectively makes November the month with the highest number of trades for MONEX Group since the summer high that saw all firms in the industry post excellent results.

Meanwhile, Jamie Oschefski, the former Head of Accounts and Strategic Partnerships at Quantica Trading, has been appointed as the VP Sales at New York-based algorithmic trading tech firm Rizm. Rizm creates tools for professional analysts and traders.



Moscow Exchange & EXNESS Announce Lower Trading Volumes in November

Moscow Exchange saw its foreign exchange volumes decline in November, with 18.7 trillion trades that included swap trades amounting to 11.8 trillion rubles and spot trades valued at 18.7 trillion, compared with October’s volumes of 21.7 trillion rubles

This translates into an average daily volume of 986.6 billion (USD 21.5 billion), which is higher than October’s average daily volume of 944.4 billion rubles ($23.1 billion) and 850.3 billion rubles ($22.4 billion). This means that on dollar terms, the average volumes fell. However, on ruble terms, the volumes rose. The full results can be found on Moscow Exchange’s website.

Meanwhile, EXNESS also reported that trading volumes fell to $163.7 billion in November, a far-cry from a record-high of $198.8 billion set in October. This represents a decline of 18.9 percent.

EXNESS recorded trading volumes of $192.4 billion in September, the first time the company reported a monthly trading figure exceeding $190 billion.

The company, however, has reported substantial improvement since it was founded. It has already made successful inroads into the Chinese market, which is considered as extremely lucrative.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Russia has warned that it doesn’t regulate any FX business or undertaking in Russia. The central bank, which is the supreme regulator that oversees Russian financial markets, on Monday cautioned that it doesn’t regulate Forex brokers.

Currently, Russia has no laws governing OTC Forex sector, hence Forex brokers operating in the country aren’t required to obtain licenses.

The warning followed increasing cases of Forex firms claiming to be regulated by the central bank soliciting Russian clients. The caveat also warned that several fraudulent Forex firms were operating in the Russian market and that investors should exercise prudent judgment to avoid losing their money.




Former ICAP Futures Head Appointed at ED&F, Alpari UK Releases Metrics

Gary Pettit, the former Global Head of Financial Futures and Options at ICAP, has been appointed at UK brokerage ED&F Man after he left ICAP in mid-October.

Pettit was one of those affected by a restructuring program at ICAP that saw him leave his position that he had held since December 2011. Pettit is expected to begin working for ED&F Man at the start of 2015.

Before working with ICAP, Pettit worked with MF Global in a similar role for more than 12 years, besides holding other senior positions in futures.

Meanwhile, Tal Zohar, FXCM Israel’s former Chief Executive Officer has joined IG Group Senior Management as a member, reporting to the Group CEO, Tim Hawkins. In his new capacity, which is unrelated to Israeli customers, Zohar will implement innovative financial products and customer relations.

Zohar previously worked at FXCM Israel as its CEO for 5 years before his retirement. He successfully steered FXCM Israel to become of the two biggest Israeli firms in its field, data from Dun & Bradstreet surveys of 2013 and 2014 showed. He was also instrumental in lobbying Israeli policy makers to enact favorable policies to boost the industry.

In his new role, Zohar will operate out of London.

Meanwhile, Alpari UK announced that its trading volumes rose 2 percent to $221 billion, bringing a measure of stability to a company that had a difficult trading period in the first half of this year.

 “We are once again very pleased to report a month-on-month improvement in trading volumes, as we continue to drive precious metals on the back of globally-significant events. In addition, our FX trading cashback promotion helps to boost Market account open rates and deposit increases, particularly across Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” said Hannah Hill, the Global Head of Marketing at Alpari.




FX Executive Moves: Citi Dismisses FX Head, EBS Hires Industry Veteran

Longtime FX industry veteran, Bill Marsden has reportedly joined EBS as its newest G10 Currencies Head, who will be based out of London where he will be tasked with the development and growth of G10 currencies market share across all EBS’ platforms.

In his new role as the G10 Currencies Head at EBS, Mr. Marsden will liaison with regional sales teams, helping promote and foster this exposure on the EBS trading network.

Mr. Marsden has over 35 years of experience in FX markets, having recently joined EBS from Thomson Reuters, where he worked as the Liquidity Sales Team head. During his stint at Thomson Reuters, he also pioneered a number of strategic initiatives, which included the inception and growth of new offerings across the NDF and Options markets.

In addition to Thomson Reuters, Mr. Marsden also held senior level roles at Exco International and Tullet across three different continents.

According to Mr. Marsden in a recent statement on his appointment, “it’s an exciting time to be working in FX as momentum in the market continues to grow. EBS has a great name in the market and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to help further increase the company’s profile in G10. I am looking forward to re-establishing relationships with contacts in the inter-bank market and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead within my new role.”

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US Retail FX Client Assets Continue Declining Despite Record Volumes

U.S. retail FX client assets fell, despite record-breaking global FX trading volumes in September. The industry is also getting more concentrated.

Following a surprise increase of 7 percent ($41 million) in July, client assets supervised by registered U.S. retail FX brokers declined 2 percent (or $12.6 million) in September. This was the second straight month that the figure dropped 2 percent.

The total client assets now total $607 million as of Sept., 30, 2014, according to the CFTC report. The big three team of OANDA, GAIN Capital and FXCM also consolidated their stranglehold of the U.S. retail FX market. The three have a combined market share of at least 75 percent of all the customers, compared with 73 percent in August. Part of this reason could be due to FXCM’s buyout of the U.S. properties of IBFX, which saw FXCM absorb client assets worth $16 million from IBFX.

The paradox is that the decline in client assets happened at a month when global forex trading volumes rose to new records. Some U.S. –based firms such as GAIN Capital and FXCM announced record retail trading metrics.

Meanwhile, RBC Investor & Treasury Services, which is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Canada, has appointed Andy Allen as the new MD based in Singapore. In his new role, Allen will oversee RBC’s Investor & Treasury Services.

Allen, who has at least 25 years experience in international banking, previously worked with JP Morgan Investor Services.

Commenting on his appointment, RBC said: “Andy brings comprehensive knowledge of the securities industry, risk management, the local operating and regulatory environment and relationship management of clients, both domiciled in Singapore and those looking for offshore solutions.”

 His immediate boss is Andrew Gordon, the Managing Director (Asia) at RBC Investor & Treasury Services.


FX News Roundup: Admiral Markets Introduces MT5 in U.K., FXCM Ends Affiliate Program

As it seeks to consolidate its foothold in the U.K. market, Admiral Markets on Monday launched its live MetaTrader 5 service. This is in line with its goal of providing trading platforms for various audiences. The company had inserted a ‘coming soon’ tab on its that it would soon add MetaTrader 5 trading platform.

It remains to be seen how the company will fare in the UK market, where most retail FX firms use in-house spread betting and CFD platforms that are designed with the local market in mind. The MetaTrader 5 platform can be downloaded by clicking this link.

Meanwhile, leading retail FX broker FXCM terminated its affiliate program via a letter that was mailed to all its former affiliates. Most analysts believe the cancellation of the program is mainly due to financial reasons, as the company shifts to its new raw-spreads-plus commission pricing model.

Secondly, the company may have ended the affiliate program due to regulatory reasons as regulators increasingly scrutinize volumes and clients linked to the affiliate program.

Nonetheless, the hint that FXCM would terminate the affiliate program was all too clear. The company, as seen on its Q2 report, reported that indirect volumes fell 28 percent from a year earlier, mostly due to the winding down of the affiliate program.

Elsewhere, social trading firm Myfxbook has been registered by CySec as a regulated brokerage, licensing the company to provide brokerage services. This puts the company in good stead to offer its services to clients across Europe if regulations are amended to incorporate copy and social trading.

Myfxbook was licensed under number 332657. For other CySec-regulated brokers, you can follow this link

GAIN Capital Releases Trading Metrics for October

Leading Forex broker GAIN Capital Holdings published its final metrics for the month of October 2014, which showed retail sales grew, though unevenly. This is mainly due to the fact that GAIN Capital failed to attain the same institutional volume figures following a double-digit increase in September.

Retail trading volumes rose 16 percent to $605.4 billion in the quarter through September. The figures can be divided into Institutional and Retail metrics.

In the Institutional Category, the cumulative institutional trading volume fell 0.9 percent month-on-month (MoM) to $437.6 billion, though this was a growth of 49.7 percent from October 2013. The average daily institutional volume fell 5.2 percent from September 2014, though it rose 49.7 percent from October 2013.

The GTX trading volume fell 1.6 percent from September 2014 to $397.8 billion, though it rose 60.4 percent from a year earlier. The average daily GTX trading volume fell 5.9 percent from to $17.3 billion, though it grew 60.4 percent from October 2013.

In the Retail Category, the total retail OTC trading volume grew 14.4 percent MoM to $273.4 billion and rose 45.2 percent from October 2013. The average daily retail OTC trading volume rose 9.5 percent to $11.9 billion, and also grew 45.2 percent from a year earlier. The active retail accounts rose 0.5 percent from September 2014 to 94,204 and fell 9.2 percent from a year ago.

Futures contracts increased 25.5 percent to 816,501 MoM and also increased 53.8 percent year-on-year. The average daily futures contracts rose 20.1 percent to 35,500 from September 2014 and grew 53.8 percent from a year earlier. The number of total funded accounts increased 0.4 percent to 132,561 MoM and rose 3.2 percent YoY.


Moscow Exchange Reports Higher Trading Volumes in October

Moscow Exchange reported that trading volumes went up in October 2014, with most of the growth being attributed to FX. The total FX volume at Moscow Exchange in the month of October totaled 21.7 trillion rubles, up 14.8 percent from September, when the volumes stood at 18.7 trillion.

The figure is equal to an average daily volume of 944.4 billion rubles ($23.1 billion), up from 850.3 billion rubles ($22.4 billion) the previous month.

In derivatives, total volumes stood at 6.3 trillion rubles, up from 3.8 trillion rubles in October 2013. Derivatives contracts totaled 142.8 million in October 2014, up from 82.4 million contracts in October 2013.

FX futures volumes rose 3.5 times in the year through October 2014 to 3.7 trillion rubles. Turnover stood at 617 billion rubles, or 13.9 million contracts, a new high since the Derivatives Market was launched. The last record was netted in September 2012.

The average daily trading volume for FX in October was RUB 272.6 billion.

Meanwhile, EXNESS also reported record trading volumes in October 2014, with total transactions of $198.7 billion. This makes it one of the few firms in the retail Forex industry that have recorded phenomenal growth.

Most of the growth in October was attributed to the increased volatility in the currency markets, as well as successful expansion into China and South East Asia.  Chinese traders contributed 48.3 percent of EXNESS total volumes of $351.1 billion in the first half of this year. South East Asian dealers outside China contributed 37.9 percent, with European traders accounting for 5.6 percent or $40.8 billion of the company’s total volumes.


MarketFactory Hires Toland as Sales Head, Interactive Brokers’ Fortunes Rise

MarketFactory, a leading foreign exchange software and services provider, has hired Steve Toland to the role of Vice President of Sales. Toland will help propel the company’s access into new markets and improve monitoring technologies.

Before joining LMAX Exchange, Toland previously worked at LMAX Exchange as the Head of LMAX Interbank, where he helped play a key role in boosting the firm’s interbank liquidity pile. He also worked in various senior roles in sales in Thomson Reuters and ICAP’s EBS.

Commenting on Toland’s appointment, Darren Jer, the COO of MarketFactory, said: “With Steve’s market knowledge and client service ethic, we’re fully expectant that he’ll help our clients be even more successful in their trading.”

Meanwhile, U.S. retail FX broker Interactive Brokers Group, Inc, published its trading metrics for October 2014, which showed the company’s fortunes improved from September.

Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTS) grew 18 percent MoM to 660,000 from 577,000 in September 2014. They also went 33 percent up YoY from October 2013. Total client equity grew $55.7 billion last month, up from $54.9 billion in September 2014. This translates to a growth rate of 1 percent MoM and 29 percent from the previous year in October 2013.

The customer numbers also grew, with the number of accounts rising 1 percent to 275,000 accounts last month, compared with 272,300 accounts netted in September 2014. The client accounts increased 18 percent from the previous year, weathering a global trading activity slowdown.

Options contracts increased 34 percent month-on-month to 32,208 contracts in October 2014, and also grew 27 percent from the previous year. Futures contracts increased 36 percent month-on-month to 12,629 contracts in October 2014.


KCG Looking for Buyers for HotSpot Platform

Trading firm KCG Holdings Inc plans to raise more than $300 million from the sale of its FX unit, according to sources privy to the matter.

KCG is partnering with Jefferies Group LLC as it seeks potential buyers of its HotSpot platform. Such buyers include Intercontinental Exchange Inc, CME Group Inc., NASDAQ OMX Group Inc, London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse AG.

However, the search for potential buyers has been widened to include other securities companies, with first-round bids scheduled for November. The news sent KCG’s shares soaring 1.1 percent to $10.86 at 3:16 p.m., New York time, valuing the firm at approximately $1.3 billion.

HotSpot has at least 30 currency prime brokers who avail funds for trading, and has clients such as high-frequency trading companies, banks, corporations and hedge funds. Knight Capital acquired HotSpot in 2006 in a deal valued at $77.5 million.

KCG also announced that it posted a $9.6 million loss in the third quarter, down from a $227.8 million profit a year ago. The company dismissed 4 percent of its workforce, while more than five senior managers resigned in September.

KCG was created in 2013 following a decision by Knight Capital to look for a buyer after losses nearly grounded the company’s operations.

When contacted by reporters, representatives for NASDAQ, KCG, Deutsche Boerse and CME Group refused to comment while those for Intercontinental Exchange, Jefferies and the Intercontinental Exchange were unavailable for a comment.

Meanwhile, Cantor Fitzgerald has appointed Peter Gombocz as the Managing Director and Head of Electronic and Program Sales and Trading. Gombocz will work under Laurence Rose, the President and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald Canada Corporation.


OANDA in Partnership with MultiCharts as It Expands its Options

Canadian retail FX firm OANDA has entered into a partnership with MultiCharts, a multi-asset trading platform, in order to expand the range of trading opportunities available to its clients.

At the moment, the two firms are beta-testing an OANDA plug-in on MultiCharts. Anybody who wishes is eligible to take part in the test.

If all turns out well, OANDA will connect its data feed to the MultiCharts platforms, hence making it one of the 27 such providers. It will be also one of the 32 brokers supported by MultiCharts.

The partnership marks years of negotiations between MultiCharts and OANDA. The talks started in 2010, but were held back by reluctance by OANDA, which wanted to provide FX services to its clients through fxTrade and subsequently through MetaTrader 4.

However, the partnership was reinvigorated this summer, resulting in the ongoing beta-tests. This indicates the commitment by OANDA to continue partnering with leading firms such as MT4 and thus provide quality trading options to its clients. OANDA recently severed ties with social trading platform Currensee, an acquisition it made a year ago.

MultiCharts is widely reputed for its independence as it allows clients to easily alternate between several options or choose at least one broker to trade with. This gives a trader access to more than one data feeds to analyze. This makes the platform ideal for IT developers looking to test their automated trading strategies or indicators via data feeds sourced from various brokers.

MultiCharts has a solid reputation for its backtesting capabilities, real-time portfolio trading as well as technical analysis functionalities.



EU Turns to Facebook Messages for FX-Rigging Evidence

European Union regulators are investigating messages by foreign-exchange dealers on Facebook Inc. as they widen their probe into allegations of malpractices by banks past instant messages and work e-mails.

All the banks involved have been requested to avail all communications between dealers, with social media not being left out. This is because the EU is suspicious that some online messages and e-mails were deleted in order to wipe out any evidence that traders were unscrupulously exchanging information.

 “It’s a very important case because the forex markets every day exchange billions and billions of euros,” Bloomberg TV quoted EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia as saying in September. “Regulators have got some contributions from people that warned us of the possibility of collusion.”

However, not every bank that is included in the EU’s investigation has been requested to avail more communication details between FX dealers besides instant messages and work e-mails. Banks thought to be involved in the probe include Citigroup, HSBC, JP Morgan & Chase Co., Barclays, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank.

Estimates by Citigroup analysts in early October pegged potential fines that banks found guilty of FX malpractices will pay at a total of $41 billion. So far, JPMorgan, RBS and Deutsche Bank are some of the banks that have tightened chatroom use as watchdogs comb messages for any evidence that dealers conspired to manipulate benchmark rates or currencies.

When contacted by Bloomberg News, representatives of Barclays, Deutsche Bank, the European Commission, UBS, Citigroup and RBS refused to comment as well as Facebook spokespersons. HSBC and JPMorgan were unavailable to comment by the time of the publication.


MONEX Group Announces Schedule for Phasing out MetaTrader 4

Japanese retail FX broker MONEX Group has formally announced its takedown of its MetaTrader trading platform after its subsidiary IBFX sold its MetaTrader 4 client portfolio to rival broker FXCM at a fee of $4.4 million.

The phase-out of MetaTrader 4 platform now means MONEX can concentrate its efforts on its own MONEX FX Premium platform. In order to realize this, MONEX Group will stop offering MetaTrader 4 services on November 7, 2014. The company has already mailed its clients with a schedule of the activities in relation to the gradual phase-out.

MONEX Group intends to settle all open trades by 1.00 p.m. on November 8, 2014 at the prevailing exchange rates. The company will also stop handling withdrawals and deposits from 1.00 p.m. on the same day. Still, clients are allowed to ask for withdrawals through their “MT4 My Page” between November 10 and November 14 this year.

If a client fails to initiate withdrawals during that time window, MONEX Group will facilitate the withdrawals without involving the client.

The company also disclosed that it will also deposit funds to customers with Securities and Exchange comprehensive account with it. If this account isn’t available, MONEX will remit funds to the client’s bank account as per the details provided in the trading account.

MONEX Group’s decision is part of its strategic shift to its own trading platform, a trend that will also be replicated in its North American unit IBFX. IBFX sold off its MetaTrader 4 client portfolio in the U.S. and Australia to FXCM in order to focus on its Tradestation trading platform.


FX Probe Could See Settlements Top $41 Billion, Citigroup Analysts Say

Citigroup Inc. analysts estimate that investigations into claims of foreign-exchange benchmarks fixing could see banks potentially pay up settlements worth $41 billion.

German lender, Deutsche Bank AG is expected to bear the huge brunt of the fines, potentially facing penalties of up to 5.1 billion euros ($6.5 billion). The fines are expected to equal roughly 10 percent of its total worth of assets, or its tangible book value.

Based on the same calculation approach, Barclays Plc is expected to be slapped with 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) in penalties, while UBS AG risks a fine of 4.3 billion Swiss francs ($4.6 billion).

 “Extrapolating European and, more importantly, U.S. penalties from a previous global settlement suggests to us a total potential global settlement on this key issue,” said the Citigroup analysts in a note seen by Bloomberg News.

Watchdogs in various continents, especially in the U.S., Europe, and Far East, are investigating the possibility that forex traders in leading banks exchanged clients’ positions and conspired to fix currency benchmarks. U.S. and U.K. regulators are expected to enter into settlements with some lenders as soon as November.

The analysts at Citigroup based their calculations on a Reuters report dated Sept. 26 that estimated the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority penalties could involve fines amounting to around 1.8 billion pounds. They then calculated their estimates on how far the fines may go in other probes from that benchmark, using the settlements reached in the Libor cases as a reference point.

Citigroup accounts for the biggest proportion of the transactions in the $5.3 trillion-per-day forex market. The U.S. lender has 16.04 percent market share, with Deutsche Bank holding 15.67 percent share and Barclays with 10.91 percent. UBS has 10.88 percent share.


CME Records New Daily Transaction Record, Fortress Hires MD for Singapore

CME Group reported that transactions touched a new daily record on Wednesday, with 39.6 million contracts executed. This erased its previous record of 27 million contracts set in May 29th, 2013, representing a gain of 47 percent.

Trading volumes of the company’s Globex platform used for trading options and futures posted 35,067,597 contracts, beating its earlier record of 23,537,737 that it recorded in May 29, 2013.

Volatility in the bond markets rose as analysts speculated the Federal Reserve may not raise interest rates soon.

A combined sum of interest rate options and futures touched 25,088,750 contracts, beating its earlier record of 19,417,635 that was recorded in May 29, 2013. Eurodollar futures trades rose to 11,532,544, exceeding the former record of 6,880,382 that was achieved on Sept. 17, 2014. The total options that were traded on the exchange were 7,281,248, beating the previous record high of 5,933,963 that was attained on June 24, 2013.

Meanwhile, Fortress Investment Group has hired Jim Conklin as the Managing Director, Singapore. Conklin previously worked at QFS Asset Management in various senior roles such as Partner, Chief Information Officer and as a Director of Research. Prior to this, he was also employed at FX Concepts as the Head of Investment Research, dealing in currencies, commodities and fixed income.

Conklin also once worked at Fortress as its Portfolio Manager in 2005-2008, where he dealt in various portfolio classes such as G10 emerging markets and FX. His appointment is the second major one at Fortress since September, when it poached Adam Rosenberg from Goldman Sachs to head its Gamification division.