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Electronic FX trading: FXall looks to secure its position

The platform’s chief executive, Phil Weisberg, says the firm is ready to face the difficulties of a bear market.

It is hard to believe just how different the FX market was when FXall was created a mere eight years ago with initial investment from Bank of America, Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and UBS Warburg. Back then, although it was clear that electronic trading had already reshaped the interbank spot market, it had made little impact on the way banks interacted with their clients. Perhaps the only thing that was certain was that the market would change but very few people could be sure of the direction it would take.

"Nobody knew how profound the impact of electronic trading would be," says Phil Weisberg, chief executive of FXall. "Everyone was fearful that the role of the bank would fundamentally change. Of course, that hasn’t happened but at the time people were afraid. I think at the time the value of the single portal hadn’t been proven. Banks were looking for the right way to do it and gain from the experience of some of the other consortium members."

Born in a bull market

Weisberg points out that although activity in the FX market itself was hardly buoyant – according to the Bank for International Settlements daily turnover fell by nearly 20% between April 1998 and April 2001 – the rampant equity bull market and as-yet to burst dotcom bubble meant that there was no shortage of funding for anything that had a technological whiff about it.

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