LSEG buyout finally unshackles Matching and FXall

After watching the market evolve around them, platforms can finally get on the front foot

It must have been difficult working for Matching or FXall over the past few years.

Having a competitive edge in today’s spot FX platform market often comes down to how many bells and whistles you can add, but Refinitiv’s brands were stuck in a development ‘deep freeze’ under their market data-focused owners.

They had to stand and watch as smaller but more nimble platforms came to market with faster speeds and an array of new order types, and while they could see clear opportunities in the rapidly evolving non-deliverable forwards space, they were unable to take them.

They even had to watch as their big rival in the primary space, CME-owned EBS, announced it was moving its Market trading venue onto the US exchange’s super-fast Globex technology.

So the London Stock Exchange Group’s £27 billion buyout of Refinitiv, finalised in January, came as a huge relief for Matching and FXall. Finally, the firm has an exchange group as an owner that understands what a platform needs to succeed in this business, and the willingness to put the money in to get there.

As revealed by FX Markets in May, LSEG plans to re-platform the two venues onto the technology that powers its equity exchange. This allows them to quote faster, and offer a range of different order types than the two currently available.

The London Stock Exchange Group’s £27 billion buyout of Refinitiv came as a huge relief for Matching and FXall

Separate from the re-platforming, Refinitiv is making a big push to update its trade reporting analytics, while connections to LCH’s ForexClear – the main central counterparty for non-deliverable forwards – will be simplified. The user interface is even due for a new coat of paint.

Neill Penney, now LSEG’s head of FX, is excited by the opportunities, and bullish about the platform’s prospects in our cover story, particularly for Matching, which has increasingly been seen as clunky and lacking the state-of-the-art technology that defines the modern FX market.

Even in a market where some have questioned the continued need for primary markets such as Matching amid a huge push by banks to internalise their flow, he insists they still have a big role to play, and that these improvements essentially get them back in the game.

Their competitors of course are unlikely to stand still, but for now, it must be a good feeling to finally be able to fight without one hand tied behind your back.

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