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Foreign Exchange

CitiFX launches Velocity 2.0; stakes claim as the fastest platform in market

Citigroup, the fourth-ranked FX bank, has launched Velocity 2.0 – the latest version of its single-dealer FX trading platform – 18 months after introducing its predecessor, Velocity 1.9, as it seeks to grab a larger share of FX trading volumes by offering easier-to-use functions and faster trading speeds.

“This isn’t just a case of the same chassis and engine with a different body,” the bank’s global head of FX and local markets Anil Prasad told reporters on Thursday in London. “Developing Velocity 2.0 was done from the ground up, written in a new programming language, that we think makes it a lot faster than anything else on the street.” Prasad says it will revolutionise FX trading by addressing five core areas that are crucial in the electronic trading of foreign exchange: faster execution; lower transaction costs; increased liquidity; better-targeted information offered in real time; and simplification of desktop space, which, in some cases, sees some individual traders operating with as many as a dozen separate screens.

The platform’s developers say prices now update 92 milliseconds faster than on any other single-dealer platform and the speed of execution has also been substantially improved. For instance, the transaction time of a trade between New York and Singapore has been reduced by more than 20%, with room for further efficiency gains when the platform is fully fine-tuned.

New transaction speed times between hubs (based on speed of 600 million km/hr)

New York to Chicago

13.2 milliseconds

New York to London

52 milliseconds

New York to Singapore

230 milliseconds

 Source: Citigroup

In terms of liquidity, the addition of client-to-client matching has added substantial liquidity to the platform, and in emerging market currency pairs, users will be able to see the best prices that have been integrated into the platform from Citi’s regional trading desks around the globe. Much of the improvements are the result of surveys the bank conducted with it clients, and one concern that has become common as electronic trading has surged has been the proliferation of screens per trader. Citi has sought to consolidate so-called desktop real-estate, while also minimising computer resources, which is particularly of interest to multiple-currency or cross-asset traders.

Prasad says the size of each trading tile is now 68% more compact than before, which means 42 currency-pair tiles can now fit on to a standard 1024x1280-size screen compared with 25 tiles previously. This could potentially require the use of at least one less monitor, while the new architecture, which developers say is 50% less CPU intensive, will allow users to open multiple windows without compromising system speed or stability.

A key element to Velocity 2.0, that Citi say separates their platform from others, is the speed and ease of accessing every feature available on the platform. Whether it be placing orders, analysing a currency’s volatility surface or accessing market-moving news from CitiFX wire –the bank’s filtered real-time news feed – users can access all features at the click of a button within each currency-pair tile, offering a speedy, compact and user-friendly trading platform.

Citi has begun rolling out the new platform to its clients, and will accelerate this in the coming weeks. Prasad said on Thursday that Citi’s trading volumes have accelerated faster than the market average, rising 40% in 2011, versus the average of 10%.

 Citi Velocity 2.0 screenshot


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