Japanese Banks to Use Ripple, ESMA Upholds CFD Rules: Best of the Week

Catch up on last week's top stories.

IG Group Holdings Losing Leader

Peter Hetherington, CEO of brokerage IG Group Holdings, announced that he is stepping down from the role, and his position on the firm’s board, with immediate effect. The reason for this has not been made public.

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He will continue to work at the company until the end of the financial year to help his successor, who is currently being searched for.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer Paul Mainwaring will take on the role of interim CEO in the meantime.

Hetherington worked at the firm for 24 years and became CEO in October 2015.

Lesser-Known Cryptocurrencies Explode in Value

Some cryptocurrencies displayed dramatic rises in value over one week in September. The most valuable cryptocurrencies have remained relatively stable.

The token with the most dramatic gain was Eternal Token, or XET, which rose in value by approximately 736 percent between the 20th and 26th of September. Another token, Universal Cash, gained 370 percent. These tokens have relatively low values, however.

Of the major cryptocurrencies, only Ripple showed a big gain – 50 percent.

Japanese Banks Move Towards Ripple System 

SBI Ripple Asia, the joint enterprise of Ripple and Tokyo-based corporation SBI Holdings, received the licence necessary to operate its blockchain payment system.

Specifically, it registered as a substitute agent for electronic settlement with the Ministry of Finance bureau in the region of Kantou.

The system is called MoneyTap and is supposed to be a major improvement on the current inter-bank remittance system operating in Japan. 61 Japanese banks, which between them handle approximately 80 percent of all banking assets in that country, have already signed up.

European Regulator Upholds Strict Rules

The European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU financial regulation body, decided to extend restrictions on foreign exchange companies until February 2019.

The restrictions, which were initially implemented in August 2018, relate to the ‘contracts-for-difference’ investment product. ESMA said that “significant investor protection concern related to the offer of CFDs to retail clients continues to exist”.

Among the measures which have not been changed are a foreign exchange leverage limit of 30:1, and 2:1 when trading cryptocurrencies.

Back in August, ESMA renewed its three-month ban of binary options.

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Analysis: When Statistics Misrepresent Reality

Restrictions on brokerages introduced recently by the European regulator are largely based on the factoid that customers lose money in around three-quarters of their trades.

However, one brokerage – Ayondo of Germany – conducted research which revealed that approximately 70 percent of the losers lose less than £100. It can thus be argued that the aforementioned statistic is less dramatic than it appears.

In this analysis, Finance Magnates asks if the requirement that every broker explicitly state how many of its customers lose money is fair, given that many victims are losing less than a day’s wage over the course of a year.

Blackrock Buys Chunk of Plus500

Asset managing firm Blackrock purchased a seven percent stake in foreign exchange brokerage Plus500.

The purchase comes after the latter’s share price dropped by 20 percent in August. After that drop, the founders of the firm sold their shares, which led to the company losing even more value.

As of two weeks ago, a hedge fund now holds 10 percent of Plus500, so the purchase by Blackrock means that fully 25 percent of the company is controlled by institutional investors.

Dukascopy of Switzerland Files for ICO

Dukascopy Bank, which is a Swiss online bank and financial services company, filed for an approval for an ICO with the Swiss financial regulator. Reportedly, the firm plans to launch its own cryptocurrency – Dukascoins – and its own stablecoin – Dukasnotes.

Dukasnotes will be guaranteed by the firm via a guarantee fund, subject to an independent audit, and convertible to fiat currency. Dukascoins will be limited to 20 billion, and the current plan is to launch them via Ethereum, although that could change should a better option become available, the bank says.

The cryptocurrencies are intended to promote the bank’s new accounts. Each new user will receive five tokens, as will the person that introduced that client.

If approved, they will be available internationally.

While waiting for approval, the company is working on completing its technical white paper and invites outside comment.

Analysis: How Brokers Can Attract Female Customers

Data suggests that women account for only 12 percent of visitors to the websites of brokerages. Social equality aside, this means that a vast market is currently untapped.

Why are women not signing up to trade? Is it learned behaviour or an evolutionary difference in the brain? Why do brokers target their marketing at men?

In this analysis, Finance Magnates looks at these questions and suggests ways that companies can attract female traders. For example, there may be lessons to be learned on this subject from the Australian gambling industry.

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