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Algorithmic trading: Barclays adds algo bite to Barx

Barclays Capital has decided to add algorithmic trading functionality to the front end of its Barx foreign exchange trading platform. The bank made its PowerFill service available to clients on its graphical user interface (GUI) on September 18.

Having crossed over from other asset classes, algo trading has been a hot topic in the FX market for about 18 months. The market seems to have an ambiguous approach to the topic, with algos being blamed for such problems as latency arbitrage and prices gapping, but also lauded for the extra liquidity they have brought. Barclays’ decision to provide algo functionality on its GUI looks designed to expand the use of algos, even if it does seem slightly outdated given that many market participants on both the sell side and buy side are already actively using them.

However, one trading system vendor in the equity and futures space says that the Barclays offering should prove popular, if those markets are any indication. He says different users look for different levels of functionality from algos. “There are basically three tiers,” he says. “The first, basic level is the pre-programmed strategies that are supplied by vendors. The second are those provided by brokers, which they charge for, and the third level is the models developed and used by buy-side clients themselves.”

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