The stories that made the most impact in the global forex industry this past week, judging by their popularity with our readers, involved a legal challenge against the acquisition of Boston Technologies by one of its co-founders, the launch of a commision-free stock trading app and a $10 million dollar prize FX trading contest.
Brokers Halting Ruble Trading as Liquidity Evaporates
Since the beginning of this past week, more and more retail FX brokers have been notifying their clients that trading conditions on ruble pairs are tightening considerably. The brokers were forced to take these risk management measures, limiting maximum margin or widening spreads, due to the extreme volatility suffered by the Russian ruble.
Immediately after the initial story, brokers started to report that the volatility had caused banks to remove pricing and liquidity from the Russian currency altogether, thereby completely limiting the ability to hedge trades. As a result, traders have reported problems with order execution, and brokers began stating publicly that they have halted trading on the currency due to limitations from liquidity partners.
By Thursday, China was brought into the story as the head of the Chinese foreign exchange regulator said he is closely monitoring the slide in the ruble. Chinese officials must be closely following the state of the Russian currency and economy, as Russia is not only one of China’s biggest energy producers, but it might also fall back on its ¥150 billion ($24.1 billion) currency swap agreement with China.
Kevin Millien Challenges Boston Technologies Acquisition in Court
On Monday, we reported exclusively that Boston Technologies co-founder and minority shareholder Kevin Millien filed a preliminary injunction against former BT CEO George Popescu, BT, Currency Mountain Holdings, Forexware and Emil Assentato.
After successfully obtaining an injunction order from the Belize court and announcing his intention to sell his minority stake to the CFH Group, Mr. Millien decided to proceed defending his interests back in the US. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to read the full-length story complete with the court documents obtained by Forex Magnates.
Silicon Valley Takes on Wall Street
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In great news for American penny-saving stock traders, the much-hyped startup Robinhood has finally released an iPhone app after being announced over a year ago. Robinhood is Silicon Valley’s latest attempt to disrupt the American stock brokers business model, about which they said: “Many still rely on paper-based accounting and the few that have mobile applications, are built off of archaic interfaces.”
Aimed at young traders, Robinhood offers zero commissions for US securities with a freemium model, and it does not require any minimum deposit to open an account. The startup raised $16 million from brand name VC investors including Google Ventures and acclaimed rapper Snoop Dogg.
Let’s Talk Retail Forex
As we look forward to 2015, one common thread that often comes up during discussions between brokers, technology providers and traders as a next step for retail FX technology is not just what new offerings will become available, but also establishing a common language to communicate what is presently available to brokers.
In a recent contribution to the Forex Magnates Experts Site, Andrew Ralich, CEO of oneZero and Forex Magnates’ “Technology Expert,” provided a framework which attempts to tackle not only the question of what’s coming next, but also what exists now in clearly defined terms. In his opinion, “Many of the conversations that happen between tech providers and brokers lose steam when there is confusion around what is actually being discussed.”
TopTradr App to Power the $10 Million FX Trading Contest
TopTradr, the social FX trading firm, has announced on Tuesday that it will be powering the upcoming Quantic Traders Challenge, where retail and professional traders will compete for a $10,000,000 equivalent capital allocation.
We conducted a review of the app including the founder’s view of the offering. We learned that the contest’s winners can trade on behalf of the firm and earn a performance fee of 25% on any profits that they generate, similar to professional hedge fund managers.
Both articles led to lively discussion between those critical of the TopTradr business model and those supportive of it. You can still join the debate and share your take on it now.