French Ban, Strong Financial Results and an Acquisition – Best of the Week

Saxo Bank, FXCM, Metaquotes and more are among the firms that appeared in last week's top stories.

During the passing week the most interesting stories from the online trading world included actions taken by the authorities in France and the industry’s reactions, new details on the post-SNB situation at FXCM and a brokerage acquisition in Asia-Pacific. We have also seen announcements of new cooperations and offerings this week.

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French Crackdown

The week started with an exclusive report on Monday that 24Option, one of the largest binary option brokers in the world, has been banned from operating in France over failure to comply with certain regulatory obligations.

Just a few hours later The French financial regulatory watchdog (AMF) has announced that the country is going to introduce a ban on the online advertisement of forex and binary options products in the country. The move was prompted by an AMF report to the country’s Parliament, and President stating that  fraudulent forex and binary options brokerages have solicited close to €4 billion from French residents over the past 6 years.

Within days the local industry responded by forming the Association Française des Courtiers et Prestataires de Services d’Investissement (AFCOPSI) to represent the interests of the legitimate firms in the country and their clients. The initial members of the AFCOPSI are CMC Markets, FXCM, IG, WHselfinvest and XTB – all companies that have on-the-ground offices in Paris.

Saxo Bank GFT Group Partnership

On Tuesday it was revealed that Saxo Bank has tapped GFT Group to help with its global transformation strategy and to accelerate its business transformation initiative. The UK based consultancy will be utilizing its experience to assist Saxo Bank in its restructuring that started a couple of months ago.

The Global Head of Operations at Saxo Bank, Gerry Lelliott, elaborated: “GFT’s expertise and experience in this area will help to make sure that our world class operations initiative will deliver a range of advantages for Saxo Bank’s clients, including greater efficiencies across a number of business functions. We look forward to working with GFT on this exciting initiative.”

Understanding the Interactive Brokers MT5 Deal

This week Interactive Brokers announced a partnership offering a new solution for brokers that are keen to provide a significant MetaTrader 5 offering. In conjunction with the services of oneZero and MetaQuotes the U.S. brokerage company has enable access to about 15 exchanges initially for the retail FX brokerage industry.

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On Wednesday Finance Magnates offered an analysis of how using the features of MetaTrader 5, that have made access to a variety of exchanges possible, this new offering could prove to be a missing alternative in the market – combining a relatively popular platform with Direct Market Access (DMA).

New FXCM Details

On Thursday new details emerged on the progress and debt management of FXCM Inc. (NYSE:FXCM). In its latest quarterly results the company reports that for the quarter that ended on June 30th, trading revenue amounted to $69.0 million, which is higher by over 16% when compared to the same period last year.

So far FXCM has managed to return a total of $160.9 million to Leucadia National (NYSE:LUK), with the remainder of the principal balance of the loan to the online brokerage standing at $192.5 million. The amount is only marginally lower than what FXCM had to relay to Leucadia National in September last year. The lender expects the full repayment of the loan to occur sometime in 2017.

FXCM also highlighted in its earnings presentation that the non-core assets that it is looking to sell are expected to realize a higher value in the future. This is probably the reason why FXCM has not been in a rush to sell its stakes in FastMatch, Lucid and V3 Markets.

Rakuten Securities Acquires FXAsia

On Friday Rakuten Securities has announced it acquired the FX brokerage business of FXAsia. The brokerage has been regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and was acquired for an undisclosed sum.

FXAsia has been primarily focused on high-net worth clients with the minimum deposit threshold at the brokerage amounting to $10,000.

The move follows an expansion of Rakuten Securities in the APAC region after the company bought the Japanese and Hong Kong businesses of FXCM last year.

Tech’s Financials

This week we have also seen the share price of TechFinancials (LON:TECH) soar after it presented a solid performance for the first half of the year and managed to issue a guidance that was way ahead of market expectations. EBITDA until the 30th of June is expected to grow higher by 80% to over $1 million from $550,000 in the first half of 2015.

Commenting on the results, the CEO of TechFinancials, Asaf Lahav, said: “During the first half our B2B division continued to perform strongly and we are now finally seeing the fruits of our B2C initiatives. Both revenues and EBITDA are substantially up compared with the same period last year leaving the Board increasingly confident about meeting market expectations for the full year.”

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