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Market aggregators: Pendulum swings away from multibank platforms

Citing evidence from what he admits is a limited study, TABB Group partner Robert Iati feels that the decision of many of the leading FX banks to invest heavily in their own trading portals has left the multi-bank aggregating platforms looking vulnerable.

"The banks are certainly paying tens of millions a year [in systems development]. This can be justified by making the platforms multi-asset. The pendulum is moving back towards the banks" Robert Iati, TABB

Robert Iati, TABB

After examining where both buy-side and sell-side dealers are trading, Iati says that this has resulted in the market fragmenting again, after what looked like a period when it would consolidate.

“We’re seeing a shift in the curve. In the late 1990s, there was a move of business away from the banks as the banks supported aggregators such as FXall, Atriax and Currenex. That worked but within a couple of years the banks realized that they wanted stickiness and they started to put money into developing their own [trading] websites. To an extent, that has impacted the growth of the aggregator sites,” says Iati.

He adds: “Around the millennium, everyone was predicting that 50% of the volume would be done on the aggregator platforms.” As Iati points out, that has not happened and now he wonders about the long-term viability of the aggregators.

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