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Foreign Exchange

Regulation: US capital ruling could kill off smaller dealers

If, as expected, US regulator the National Futures Association implements a proposal it has sent out to its 43 forex dealer members (FDMs), the result will be that many firms will have to attract fresh funding or close down.

Proposed NFA rules seen as catalyst for consolidation in US retail: The Weekly FiX

The proposal is due to be discussed by the NFA’s board in August. If ratified, it will then go to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which effectively acts as the NFA’s gatekeeper. The CFTC will almost certainly rubber-stamp it.

Up to $5 million

In its proposal, the NFA points out that the under-capitalization of many FDMs is the main cause of many of the problems that have plagued the sector, It is therefore looking to raise FDMs’ net capital requirements from $1 million to $5 million. Two other proposed changes to the NFA’s concentration charges and its accounting requirements are likely to result in FDMs being obliged to have a minimum of $10 million in adjusted net capital to stay in business.

The majority of FDMs do not have this much free capital available, so unless they receive fresh funding, they will almost certainly go out of business if the proposal is passed. The current situation is that only a few FDMs, including FXCM, GFT, Oanda, FX Solutions and Gain Capital, have sufficient capital to comply, although they were recently joined by Interbank FX, which has secured fresh funding of $40 million from Spectrum Equity Investors.

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