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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Innovation or spin?: Another month, another platform

Barely a month seems to pass without either the launch of a new foreign exchange trading platform or at the least a significant enhancement and upgrade to an existing one.

In the past few weeks new offerings have been announced from the CME and Reuters, Deutsche Bank (see: Space 2007: an FX market odyssey?, Euromoney June 2006), Calyon Financial and Lava. Meanwhile, UBS has confirmed it is not launching a new platform aimed at the retail segment but rather that it is enhancing its electronic offering to its private client base. Elsewhere, former EBS chief executive Peter Bartko has pitched up at eSpeed, where he is rumoured to be overseeing another foray into the market, and Currenex has added a host of new bells and whistles to its platform to please the algorithmic trading fraternity.

So it seems that despite all the talk of industry consolidation, the FX market is still fragmenting. It is one of those contradictions that seem to define it. They used to say in the old days that the FX pie was big enough for everyone to have their fill; now that it has got even bigger, it seems, at least on the surface, that it still is. With new platforms springing up left, right and centre, no doubt many of the big price providers will continue moaning about liquidity mirages, even if they have already got the t-shirt for that particular gripe.