Nicholas Pratt
Nicholas Pratt

Delivery, processing and storage: key advances in FX data management

The foreign exchange market has always considered itself special and quite unlike other asset classes. The over-the-counter culture, the reliance on age-old relationships between price-givers and price-takers, the instinctive approach to trading behaviour – they are all long-held traits that, even in a time of momentous technological change and transformation, the long-term participants have sought to retain. Some of this is down to the conservatism of many of the traditional FX participants – the types that resist any radical changes, adhering to the maxim that the markets have operated in the same way for many years and will continue to do so. If it is not broken, then do not fix it. However, as the statistics from the Bank of International Settlements triennial survey into FX volumes will testify, there has been an increasing number of new participants entering the FX world, bringing with them their own expectations and demands and little awareness of or respect for the traditional way of doing things.

Back five years ago, when this trend began to gain momentum, the most notable characteristic of the FX market to these newcomers was the paucity of market and pricing data available to them. And for buy-side money managers or high-frequency hedge funds, this data is critical. But such is the character of an unregulated and over-the-counter market like FX that it lends itself to a situation where, historically the dealers owned the data and wouldn’t give that pricing data to anyone but other dealers. Consequently the FX market was dominated by the interbank market, a dynamic that was altered by the emergence of sophisticated and aggressive hedge funds and buy-side money managers that had previously been wholly dependant on what their prime brokers would offer them by way of market data and pricing data subsequently demanded direct access to the interbank platforms and demanded streaming prices from the dealers and the platforms. Up until this point, the investment banks dealing in the FX...continued

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