ITG acquisition seen bolstering Virtu’s place in FX market
Analysts believe Virtu Financial’s acquisition of ITG is largely a positive development for customers of both firms and the wider FX market, despite lingering concerns over access to institutional customer data.
In the month since Virtu confirmed it was buying ITG, the high-frequency trading shop has been at pains to stress it would not trade on its clients’ data once it had taken over the agency-brokerage and analytics firm.
Virtu CEO Doug Cifu has spoken about establishing a client data governance committee to ensure data is protected.
The acid test, though, will be the extent to which the institutional trading community is willing to continue to trade through ITG as a Virtu company.
Xavier Porterfield, head of research at New Change FX (NCFX), reckons inertia will favour the newly expanded business, observing that the institutional trading community is conservative and generally loath to change trading practices.
On the other hand, Virtu is a market maker and in principal markets – such as FX, where it takes the other side of customers’ trades – there are services that ITG offers (such as transaction cost analysis) which it might be prudent for customers to source from elsewhere, he adds.
“It all depends on how transparent Virtu is about how it treats, stores and accesses client information,” says Porterfield.