Convenience is key for online trading

A plenary discussion held on October 2 to investigate the real benefits of online FX trading found that both corporate and institutional clients embraced the ability to transact routine trades online.

Head of treasury operations at Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, Hans van den Bosch, referred to these lower value trades as "nuisance trades". In contrast, he added, the large or exotic FX trades were less likely to be executed online because for them the "colour of the market" is more important.

At Unilever, up to 90% of trades by volume are conducted online, compared with 75% by value, he added.

From the institutional perspective, the feedback was similar. By volume, about 50%-60% of JP Morgan Fleming Asset Management's trades are transacted via portals, said Daniel Baird, associate, currency management and trading at the firm. However, the percentage by value being traded online is significantly lower than the corporate representative at about 20%.

The benefits of using FX portals also include ease of use. Baird said that, with seven trading systems currently on its screen, he would welcome the opportunity to cut down on the number he has to use.

Participants in the seminar also mentioned the benefits of FX portals in providing benchmarks. "In a rising market, fund managers were not so focused on cost," said FXall chief executive Phil Weisberg. "But now they're checking costs much more closely."

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