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Best bank in online FX: Citigroup

Many banks that took part in this year's foreign exchange internet awards will no doubt groan with disappointment when they see that Citigroup has won the award for best bank in online forex for the second year running. And that is understandable. As standards rise across the board, the differences between one suite of online forex tools and another shrink.

Clients are becoming harder task masters the more internet-savvy they become. Not only do they expect certain levels of functionality, they are also beginning to lose patience with banks whose websites are poor on performance.

But many clients are still reluctant to commit themselves to end-to-end integration with one bank or portal. This is hindering implementation of straight-through processing but it does not mean that banks can reduce spending on their back-end systems. For example, as the drive towards streaming, dealable prices begins, so the need for a robust auto-pricing engine increases.

The request-for-quote trading systems that dominate today leave banks open to clients trying to play the market as the ticket price remains static. The slower a bank's online response times, the greater the risk. Kevin Collins, head of forex trading at BGI London, says: "Taking advantage of non-negotiable prices is not really in the spirit of the game.

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