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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Retail and institutional FX: Never the twain shall meet?

The distinction between retail and institutional FX business is well established, but there is a growing sense that both types of client can be supported on the same platform.

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Inevitably, platforms developed to accommodate both retail and institutional clients are in the vanguard of calls for market convergence.

For example, Andrew Ralich, co-founder of oneZero Financial Systems, says a hybrid approach offers value to market participants who are looking to leverage technical capabilities – such as ultra-low latency, scalability and extensibility – along with order routing, risk management and execution workflow solutions.

According to True Trade COO Emilio Mercado, a single FX platform would suit the combined needs of all retail clients and most institutional firms in terms of pricing, transaction fee and best execution.

Complexity

The complexity lies in having liquidity pools that can cater to a variety of client types and algorithmic trading strategies, he says, adding: “There will always be a need for specialized pools of liquidity, dark pools and internal matching.”

The retail and wholesale FX markets are increasingly symbiotic, suggests Tom Lee, FX product manager at Saxo.

“Retail trading platforms have been at the forefront of investment in technology, creating tools that have levelled the playing field between retail and institutional clients,” he says.