Monex Announces Membership in MIT Media Lab, as Academia Sought for Cutting Edge Technology

The Tokyo-based FX broker operating globally, has today announced its membership as a Consortium Laboratory Member with Massachusetts Institute of

Monex_Group_Japanese broker Monex Group Inc, which operates a number of brands across the globe, has today announced that it has joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MIT Media Lab for active discussion and information exchange with faculty, researchers and students, to help bring cutting-edge technology and increase awareness of ideas that can improve people’s financial experience globally.

The membership begun in April, according to the official press release issued today, and Monex has since joined the list of consortium members where U.S. and international corporations join to conduct research across a broad range of relevant industries, with the aim of “creating a better future.”

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Monex Joins MIT Media Lab as Consortium Laboratory Member

This brings the list of MIT Media Lab members to 61, where Monex is now listed on the MIT Media Lab’s website as a Consortia Lab Member, and Joint Program Member. Other financial related companies involved in FX, on the list, include Bank of America, and ICICI Bank, as an example.

It will be interesting to see what will come next from Monex as a result of this effort, since there could be other indirect benefits such as finding the next hire, in addition to the marketing exposure that could be incidental to their membership.

Southern Facade of MIT Media Lab Building, photo by Andy Ryan [Source: MIT]
Southern Facade of MIT Media Lab Building, photo by Andy Ryan [Source: MIT]
To become Consortium Research Sponsor costs $400,000 per year, and the “Things That Think” sponsorship, another project within the lab costs $200,000 per year for a minimum of 3 years, while sponsors at both levels receive full intellectual property rights, license-fee free and royalty free, to all work developed in the Laboratory during their sponsorship years, according to a description on the MIT media Labs website.

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In addition to receiving benefits, Monex will be able to contribute, and considering the size of its FX business and customer base, certain quantitative metrics could help derive trends or conclusions as part of feedback provided, for example.

This isn’t the first time that online brokers have sought the help of academia, just yesterday, Forex Magnates reported about WorldWideMarkets (WWM), and how Financial Labs LLC – the company co-founded by WWM’s founders, had utilized Harvard PhD’s, some of who were trained at MIT as well, and based from their Cambridge Lab nearly a decade ago, operating cutting-edge technology (at the time) running supercomputers to analyze Foreign Exchange markets.

The trend of looking beyond a standard MBA has been practically cemented as the battle of the quants makes competition fierce for HFT programmers or designers of trading systems and risk-management solutions, including low-latency connectivity and related,  as the speed of technology and increased market efficiency demands a more scientific approach. In early December Forex Magnates had reported when physicist hedge fund guru Dr. Richard Bateson had departed Man Group to head London Quantitative Investments (LQI) as CEO.

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Therefore the solutions for new emerging cutting-edge technologies may be found in the hands of the youngest and brightest minds as they emerge from some of the best universities in the world, or others with such qualifications but years of experience under their belts as for example in the case of Dr. Bateson mentioned above.

Paradoxically, some giant breakthroughs have also emerged from college dropouts in their garage, so the relativity is no guarantee of outcome, although it’s safe to say that bringing Forex to a lab such as the one joined by Monex could spawn some interesting ideas.

The news for Monex follows its second straight month for declining FX volumes after March dipped by 8.5% over February, and after Forex Magnates reported that Shizuoka Bank had acquired a nearly 20% stake in Monex Group for $235M, forming a business alliance.

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