Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, today announced the launch of ForexTrading.com which will offer retail investors a select range of FX crosses and CFDs with variable spreads – as low as 0.8 pips.
Those spreads are not only variable, they are also significantly smaller than the spreads available to Saxo's existing retail clients through the SaxoTrader and WebTrader platforms. Here's a quick comparison between two demo accounts, with the new ForexTrading.com first:
Something else that has reduced is the minimum initial deposit, which is down to $2,000 for the new accounts. Obviously there is a price to be paid for these benefits. You trade using cut down versions of SaxoTrader and/or WebTrader, which only allow you access to a limited selection of the most liquid FX pairs (both spot and forward) and commodity CFDs:
If you want to trade stocks, futures or options you'll still need a "classic" Saxo account. If you can live without those instruments however, on a ForexTrading.com account all communications will have to be in English, and trading is not available via telephone. The new accounts have to be funded by wire transfer initially, but after that instant top-ups using debit or credit cards are available. That might come in handy, since leverage on the most liquid pairs can go as high as 1:200! You might well infer from that fact that these new accounts are not available to citizens of the United States, and you would be correct to do so.
Assuming you're not from the U.S. and you've funded your account there are a numbers of ways of placing a trade, but all of them are manual! Once upon a time Saxo did support automated trading via Trade Commander, but not any more it seems. We took a look at Saxo's Web Trader platform when MSN Trader was launched, so for now we're going to concentrate on the desktop platform. Here's a view of an FX order ticket:
As you can see there are a variety of ways of entering a variety of order types, and on FX at least market depth information is made available to you. Minimum order size for forex is 5,000 – midi lots I suppose?
If all that information seems like it's too much to handle, you can look at a table of your favourite instruments instead:
If you click the little "Trade" check box the quotes turn into green buttons, and you can perform a one click trade by just clicking one of them. Note too that "Gold" is available either as spot "FX" or as a futures style CFD complete with expiry date. That no doubt explains why the "Value Date" box which allows you to select a forward date for FX pairs is grayed out for gold. Along with the other commodity CFDs, there is also a "continuous" version of gold of the sort familiar to futures traders. This merges the different contract expiries into a single set of data that can be charted and/or analyzed without any sudden jumps at expiry, but can't be traded.
There you have our first quick impressions of Saxo Bank's new retail brokerage offering. It looks like it's going to be worth a very close look at a practice account if you're happy trading manually and you have in your possession at least $2,000 you're willing to lose. However if you're into automated forex trading like us, or you're from North America, unfortunately you'll need to look elsewhere. As things stand at the moment ForexTrading.com isn't going to see off MetaQuotes.net just yet.
We suggested just after Christmas that FXCM were building an acquisitions war chest, and that's how things are now starting to pan out. At the beginning of this month the Wall Street Journal reported that:
FXCM had agreed to buy the retail trading business of GCI Capital of Japan, adding 20,000 active accounts to the online foreign exchange broker.
Now FXCM have announced in a press release that the deal has been finalized:
FXCM has acquired the retail FX business of GCI Capital Co. Ltd of Japan for $5 million net of cash received, subject to certain adjustments. GCI Capital's retail FX business, which has been operating under the FXCM Japan brand, will provide an excellent complement to FXCM's recent purchase of ODL Japan. The two entities will combine and operate as FXCM Japan, under the FXCM Inc umbrella.
We also suggested not long ago that more forex lawsuits were on the cards, and FXCM has been on the receiving end of another one this month. According to Michael Greenberg at Forex Magnates an analyst's downgrade after FXCM's recent IPO on top of that first lawsuit led to a fall in FXCM's share price, which in turn led to a securities class action lawsuit against FXCM.
Filed under Stock Trading by
That prescient title is a quotation from a presentation given by Professor Dave Cliff of the University of Bristol at the Innovation and Algorithmic Trading conference hosted by LMAX at University College London at the end of February. I was sat at the front throughout Dave's talk, and I found myself laughing frequently. Perhaps for that very reason any shots of the back of my head have been left on the cutting room floor in the videos that have just been made available on the LMAX Trader community website. Here's Dave's extremely interesting and even more amusing presentation from that event on the subject of "Robot traders and evolving markets":
Here are Dave's take aways (at around 27:00) to try and tempt you to watch the whole thing from start to finish. You won't regret it, I promise!
- Algorithmic trading is here to stay
- Human traders are an endangered species
- Machine optimised algorithms are the future
- The global financial markets are a large scale complex IT system
- A wind tunnel is a useful thing… but it tells you nothing about whether Gower Street will be congested at 5 PM
- We need system level simulations too
Here's the UK Government project that Dave refers to at the end of his talk – Foresight Project on The Future of Computer Trading in Financial Markets and here's why he thinks it's important:
As far as I know no one has a tool for measuring tail risk at the systemic level (32:45)
That is no joke!
Filed under Trading Systems by
It didn't take long for the next forex lawsuit to arrive, and from the same source too! Following on from their action against FXCM, the Business Trial Group of Morgan & Morgan, P.A. has announced another class action lawsuit, this time against FXDirectDealer, LLC (more commonly known simply as FXDD). According to the announcement the plaintiff this time around is Hugo Cruz, and once more the suit accuses:
FXDD of fraud by misrepresenting its trading platform as one that is free from dealer intervention or manipulation. Instead, Cruz alleges, FXDD uses a number of devices and tricks, including software applications, designed specifically to manipulate and interfere with customers’ trades.
Like the FXCM case, the suit alleges that FXDD uses specially designed software to manipulate trading and “loot” its customer accounts, and also that FXDD lures its customers by promoting a “demo account,” which was touted as providing customers with a true market trading experience. Instead, the suit alleges, the demo account does not reflect what FXDD does when the customer begins “live” trading.
I can't help but wonder if these forex class action suits are like London buses? You wait ages for one, then three come along in quick succession.