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Instinet and Citi pioneer crossing

Talk of an exchange for foreign exchange has been around for almost as long as e-trading platforms but none of them has so far have precipitated a move in that direction. Instinet FX Cross, a joint venture between Instinet and CitiFX, may prove to be different.

Banks are looking for ways to offer unique services and capture more deal flow without taking on extra market risk. Instinet FX Cross - a crossing network in which Instinet matches forex orders twice a day, and sends them to CitiFX for anonymous execution and settlement at its benchmark fixing rates (Citigroup has built separate internal systems to process this) - does just that. And the possibility of other banks joining to create an industry-wide crossing system is real.

Instinet refuses to comment on whether its contract is exclusive But to say, as it does, that it is acting as a "market agent managing order collection" suggests that the addition of other banks is feasible. And CitiFX does not rule out the possibility of talking with other banks in the future, though it adds that this is not an option it is presently considering.

Buy-side institutions and market observers are sceptical, arguing that Instinet FX Cross is nothing more than an enhancement of CitiFX's proprietary array of e-offerings.

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