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FX survey 2014: Falling down... Is there any way back up?

The top five global foreign exchange banks have been saying for many years that the banks ranked just outside that top tier are under pressure: they must maintain similar levels of infrastructure in terms of people and technology as the biggest players, but cannot compete on revenues in an ultra-low-margin business.

This year, that pressure seems to be taking its toll.Two banks that have been suffering since the start of the financial crisis because of the underperformance of their overall FICC business fall out of the overall top 10. Morgan Stanley drops from ninth to 11th place. Credit Suisse suffers a more dramatic fall, from eighth place to 12th overall.

The biggest long-term faller in the Euromoney FX survey is RBS. The UK bank reached its peak in 2007 survey, ranking fourth overall with a market share of 8.9%, just before its ill-fated purchase of ABN Amro. Even as the bank fell into 81% ownership by the UK government, it managed to maintain its position in the top four of the Euromoney rankings, coming fourth in 2009 with a market share slightly down at 8.19%.

Since then, RBS’s decline in market share has been dramatic, with its volumes for 2014 at just 3.25%. The bank still ranks in the top 10 overall, but that position must be under threat next year given new CEO Ross McEwan’s determination to reposition RBS as a UK-focused corporate and retail bank. Lloyds, which follows a similar overall corporate strategy, ranks 35th overall with a market share of just 0.18%.

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