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Deutsche Bank's Autobahn: Motorway pile-up

I did have to laugh this week. On the very same day we published the overall results of the Euromoney 2008 FX poll, market leviathan Deutsche Bank suffered an embarrassing problem with its Autobahn platform.

FX poll 2008: Global FX market continues dramatic growth

I won’t bore you with the technical details, but the end result was that Deutsche’s clients were unable to trade electronically for a couple of hours on Tuesday. No doubt, Deutsche’s rivals will be pleased to hear of a minor glitch, after all, it’s no secret that Autobahn has become one of the pillars of the bank’s FX business.

“The importance of a solid e-commerce platform cannot be overestimated. It is the bedrock of the entire business,” Zar Amrolia, Deutsche’s managing director, global finance and FX, recently told me.

“Autobahn FX continues to be a leading electronic FX platform providing product innovation, competitive pricing and an unrivalled ability to offer clients deep and consistent liquidity during challenging times.”

Word reaches me that Amrolia, who jokes he is the back-up generator for Autobahn, was stuck on a nine-hour flight when the platform crashed, so he couldn’t jump on his treadmill and reboot it. But his team coped well and clients were said to be not too upset. Rivals will be hoping that the next time the platform falls over, it will be for a few months rather than just a few hours, giving them a chance to catch up with Deutsche.

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