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Foreign Exchange

Bill Gates takes Oanda stake

I was off to ABN Amro’s offices in London on Tuesday night for a few swift sherbets at a cocktail reception. This was being held to announce the bank’s official launch of its marketindex retail trading platform in the UK.

As readers of Euromoney know, the technology behind marketindex is provided by Oanda (see ABN Amro launches foray into retail FX and other assets, July 2006). ABN successfully launched marketindex to German clients in June 2006 and has subsequently made it available in Austria and Switzerland. The UK is seen as the next challenge.

Oanda’s founders and joint chief executives, Michael Stumm and Richard Olsen, were both at the reception. I’ve watched the progress of Oanda for several years, as Alan Fletcher, one of my old muckers from Midland, is the company’s head trader. But I’ve never actually met Michael or Richard, both of whom can be rightly classified as boffins. These two have brought a different approach to the FX industry; Zafar Alam, global head of private investor products at ABN Amro, was not wrong when he described Oanda, which was founded in 1996, as a pioneer in algorithmic trading. Almost from day one, Oanda has utilized innovative risk management solutions and deployed technology that is the envy of many banks.

The result is that it can enable its clients to trade any amount from a single dollar up, which obviously generates a mass of tickets, as well as providing real-time interest.

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