US Layoffs and a Sting Operation – Best Stories of the Week

E*TRADE, Interactive Brokers, Monex Group 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 industry included an exciting new agreement, an updated trading platform, a legal dispute between two brokerages that had been partners, and the apprehending of a Cyprus brokerage employee that attempted to illicitly sell customer data for personal profit.

Assimilation agreement

On Monday we reported that E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC) has entered into an agreement to assimilate Aperture New Holdings, the parent company of OptionsHouse, an online brokerage for equities and options trading, for the sum of $725 million. E*TRADE is looking to expand its customer profile via OptionsHouse’s trading composition.

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“We could not be more excited to show OptionsHouse customers all we have to offer, including deep research and education, long-term investing tools, and a best-in-class mobile experience,” said Paul Idzik, CEO of E*TRADE Financial.

Updates to Trader Workstation

On Tuesday we reported that Interactive Brokers (NYSE:IBKR) announced a set of new features to its trading platform, Trader Workstation.

These include a Block Trading Desk, where clients of the firm can execute their trades in an orderly fashion without revealing the extent of the complete order, the ‘Adaptive Algo’ instrument which will open the door to institutional types of orders for retail investors, and the RIA Compliance Center which is designed to ensure that compliance rules and obligations are met, which will be of particular help to start-up advisors.

Lastly the brokerage updated its platform to add some new customization options.

Legal action

On Wednesday we reported that TechFinancials is terminating its February agreement with IBID Holdings Limited due to an alleged breach by the latter firm. It is considering legal action against its former partner for violations which include failure to transfer the initial investment amount.

At the time the agreement was signed, the two firms agreed to negotiate new terms in good faith in the event that the profit goals weren’t met, however, TechFinancials is now considering the instigation of legal action against IBID Holdings.

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According to a recent IBID Group statement on the termination: “IBID is surprised by the unjustified decision of TechFinancials to terminate the agreement between them and it intends to pursue its rights through the applicable legal avenues.”

New access to US equities

Thursday saw us writing about DirectFX Trading and DriveWealth officially launching exchange-listed US equities and futures trading on the MetaTrader 4 trading platform.

The offering is a result of a partnership between DriveWealth, Direct FX Trading Pty Ltd and oneZero Financial Systems. The platform will utilize technology from oneZero to offer the US listed equities and DriveWealth will enable futures, FX, CFDs and binary options.

The CEO of oneZero Andrew Ralich commented: “We have seen global demand for access to equities and futures markets via a well-recognized trading platform like MetaTrader4.”

Redundancies

Japanese brokerage house Monex Group has cut about 100 employees from its US offices. The firm reduced the total headcount by 40 in April 2016 and axed another 60 people on July 27th, 2016.

After a challenging quarter, Monex Group reported a decline in net profits of 78 per cent YoY. Despite the launch of a new trading platform, revenues from commissions declined by 5 per cent in the US, and the company booked a net loss of ¥11 million in its Chinese revenues.

Caught red-handed

And finally, on Friday the Cypriot newspaper Cyprus Mail reported that a female brokerage employee aged 36 was arrested by Limassol police after being spotted copying customer data to an external flash drive. The company informed authorities, which staged an exchange with the employee, promising to pay her €6,500.

A meeting was arranged in a cafeteria in Limassol, where the envelope with the money was handed to the suspect. The employee was detained by police after the exchange and is currently facing a trial. The individual admitted to the crime yesterday after the detention.

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