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Foreign Exchange

Exclusive: Icap to open up EBS front end

Icap is poised to increase the number of ways its clients can access its EBS spot trading platform. Interviewed for February’s Euromoney magazine, David Rutter, Icap’s deputy chief executive officer of electronic broking, says that the company is now prepared to give the green light to independent software vendors (ISVs) and allow them to connect to the system.

The ISVs, most of which emerged as the the equity and futures markets went electronic, have long beat a path to EBS’s door. As market after market went electronic, it must have seemed ironic to them that the major trading venues in spot FX, one of the first products to move on to the screens, remained out of their reach. Instead, they have had to content themselves with providing access to the alternative venues that have sprung up over the past decade. 

Traditionally, EBS’s thinking was that ownership of ‘desktop real estate’ protected market share. For EBS, there seemed little reason to allow access through an ISV, which potentially would have made aggregation far easier. By having a stand-alone screen on a dealer’s desk, the belief was that any really serious FX player, particularly on the sell side, would have to trade on EBS because that where the best price and liquidity was.

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