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Foreign Exchange

Multibank platforms: Humble pie

Nobody is perfect. I was reminded of this basic fact of life this week by a senior figure at one of the leading multibank platforms.

For some time now, I have questioned the rationale for the existence of the multibank platforms, arguing that the level of service provided by the banks’ proprietary systems make them superfluous to requirements. Many of the buy-side participants I have spoken to over the years simply hate paying commissions – they would seemingly, or so I thought, rather ‘deal for free’ with one of their banks directly.

“Have you seen the latest Greenwich Associates report?” my multibank chum asked. “Don’t be daft,” I replied. “I write for Euromoney.”

“Well, there’s a very interesting slide you might want to take a look at,” he responded. “It basically suggests that the argument you have been puttingforward for the past couple of years is wrong,” he gently goaded.

And, it would seem he is correct and that I now have a little bit of egg on my mooey, as we say in London when we get things wrong. Greenwich’s Foreign Exchange Services – E-Commerce Report 2008 found that 74% of the buy side used multibank or third-party systems in 2007 compared with 73% in 2006, while the percentage using single-bank platforms declined to 47% from 55%. Greenwich also found that the percentage using both fell from 28% to 20%.

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