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FX comment: Thursday’s spike blocked the back end

Most FX players will have welcomed the last week’s volatility that meant a surge in platform volumes, but there have been rumours that several banks struggled to cope – and not just at the front end.

Obviously, the fact that prices are frequently gapping does cause some tension, but most leading e-commerce providers seem to recognise that being in the business requires a ‘win some, lose some’ approach.

More worrying is talk that several platforms slowed or even shut down because they were unable to process the number of tickets going through. It is a wonder why some banks still deliver retail, micro and client trades to their back offices without using an aggregation service.

For instance, during the excitement of last Thursday (May 6), several banks apparently stopped streaming prices. The result was an immediate spike on the multibank platforms at the market’s hub – such as EBS, Reuters and the CME– as well as on those single-bank platforms that kept streaming.

Andy Coyne, CitiFX’s head of FX prime and G10 e-commerce, is in no doubt that the main problem was caused by pressures on the back office. He says Citi processed more than 1 million trades without any problems, which, he concedes, would not have been possible two years ago. Coyne says that Citi recognized it had to plan for big-ticket days and that included utilising Traiana’s NetLink and developing Citi’s own proprietary netting systems.

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