Barclays gives Specs to FX participants

The client portal originally launched for equities in 2015 is now available for foreign exchange

Expanding Specs: Barclays says the tool will enhance the way clients interact with the bank

Barclays is expanding its Specs online client portal to its foreign exchange business in a bid to give customers a one-stop shop for greater control and transparency in their electronic trading.

The move is part of Barclays’ effort to automate more tasks to reduce operational risk. The bank wants its e-trading teams to work together in a structured manner that leverages best practice across the various asset classes it covers.

Specs, which was initially launched for the equities space in 2015, aims to give clients greater visibility, transparency and control regarding information on their e-trading relationship with Barclays.

The bank launched Specs formally to Barx FX users in June this year, enhancing their ability to view, verify and request modifications to their e-trading connectivity and settings. Specs can be launched directly from the Barx platform or the web.

“Once we saw the initial success of Specs for equities, it became clear that we could repurpose much of what had been done with that technology to reach a broader set of clients within markets. Our FX business was a good starting point for expansion because of the strength of our electronic trading franchise on Barx and other channels,” says John Hannigan, director of electronic fixed-income, currencies and commodities (e-Ficc) distribution at Barclays.

Prior to the portal, customers were able to get some of their information by interacting with Barclays’ client services teams, either via email or telephone – a manual process that can be prone to delays and errors. The tool now gives clients a self-service solution that puts all of their information at their fingertips as the bank moves towards digitising workflow, both internally and externally.

Barclays’ Specs tool comes at a time when FX executions are becoming more complex and regulations have placed greater demand on transparency among all market participants. Banks have increasingly turned to technology to improve workflow, as well as to conduct internal surveillance.

The introduction of Specs for FX is just one more way that we can enhance our clients’ experience when they transact with Barclays
Mauricio Sada-Paz, Barclays

The bank is working on additional FX features, including a communications tool that would allow it to deliver product updates, disclosures and other notifications. Currently, a client’s customisable Specs profile for e-FX trading includes access to the platform, user permissions and limits by products, currency enablements and export functionality for greater flexibility.

But a key differentiator, according to Barclays, is that the information available to clients through Specs goes beyond the details of a client’s relationship with the bank’s single-dealer platform; it also gives them the scope of their connectivity, permissions and settings across several trading venues.

“Barclays is committed to the FX business. We are dedicating capital and investing in technology to deliver new products in the algo space, improve connectivity with multi-dealer platforms, and to digitalise our internal and external workflow tools. The introduction of Specs for FX is just one more way that we can enhance our clients’ experience when they transact with Barclays,” says Mauricio Sada-Paz, managing director and global head of e-Ficc distribution and product at Barclays.

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