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Foreign Exchange

FX: Gain Capital dares to be different

FX retail leader might look offshore; Regulators’ moves “may not help investors”

"This business is still evolving; it’s still young. I think we’ll see another five years of tangible development"

Glenn Stevens, Gain Capital

It is easy to forget just how recently the retail foreign exchange market emerged. A decade ago, it barely existed; now it is an established and important global business. Retail FX was able to emerge for several reasons, including technology. But perhaps the main factor was the drive provided by a small group of entrepreneurs who recognized that it could be a viable product. The precise size of the market is hard to ascertain. Data from the 2008 Euromoney FX Poll suggested that as much as $80 billion a day could be flowing from the retail sector to the bank liquidity providers. More recent estimates suggest average daily turnover might be $125 billion.

Because there was no template, various approaches were taken by the first retail providers. Some viewed it as a technological exercise, while others saw it as akin to running a bookmaker. Very few saw it as an extension of the professional FX market.

One company that did was Gain Capital, founded in late 1999 by Mark Galant, who had been global head of FX option trading at Credit Suisse before joining technology vendor FNX.

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