This day in history: May 13, 2003: The very first integrated online FX trading system goes live

In episode six of this series on FinanceFeeds, we take a look back at “This day in history” within the world of FX. Every Friday morning, we take a journey through annuls of time to look at the various groundbreaking developments that continue to take place in our fascinating industry. Thirteen years is more than a lifetime […]

This day in history: first integrated online FX system goes live

In episode six of this series on FinanceFeeds, we take a look back at “This day in history” within the world of FX. Every Friday morning, we take a journey through annuls of time to look at the various groundbreaking developments that continue to take place in our fascinating industry.

Thirteen years is more than a lifetime in the FX industry.

Indeed, these days, within just thirteen months, several revolutionary developments often take place, let alone when that number is multiplied by twelve.

On this day, thirteen years ago, North American electronic trading giant Gain Capital Holdings Inc (NYSE:GCAP) released what it considered at the time to be the very first fully integrated FX trading system in the world for retail clients.

Back in 2003, retail FX was still very much in its infancy, and only very few firms existed.

Last week, FinanceFeeds CEO Andrew Saks-McLeod met with Josh Levy, co-founder of the very first retail FX company, MatchbookFX, to take a look at the origins of this now highly developed and global sector, which today serves over 4 million traders worldwide, distributed among approximately 1400 brokerages.

GAIN Capital was a very different company thirteen years ago than it is today. In 2003, it was a privately owned company, and its original founder Mark Galant was CEO, this being some seven years before the company became publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2010.

How did comprehensive trading systems start? Via partnerships

Strategic partnerships with signal providers, analytics firms and ancillary software providers to create a very comprehensive trading environment are commonplace today, but back in 2003, were very rare indeed.

There was no MetaTrader 4 platform, and there was no marketplace of applications for the purposes of traders to develop their own applications. MetaQuotes had previously released a number of versions of the MetaTrader platform starting in 2002. MetaTrader 4 was considered to be a significantly enhanced version during the early Millennial years and was released in 2005 giving rise to a series of very advanced software and solutions providers which developed their systems around what has become a prolific platform in the retail market.

This paved the way for new advanced retail platforms, including Spotware Systems’ cTrader, which brought algorithmic trading and opensource platform technology to within the realms of retail traders.

GAIN Capital’s spearheading of this comprehensive range of services began on May 13, 2003 with its partnership with eSignal which was unveiled at the Las Vegas Money Show in Nevada.

eSignal is owned by Interactive Data, and provides charting software, mainly for stock trading and comprises real-time financial market data, news, analytics and decision support tools.

In May 2003 GAIN Capital heralded this integration as the first of its kind, allowing FX traders to monitor market activity, identify trading opportunities and execute trades from a single platform.

At its launch, Chuck Thompson, President of eSignal stated

“This partnership brings together the best in charting/analytics with the market leader in forex trading. eSignal provides forex traders with real-time data and sophisticated technical analysis tools that allow them to make real time trading decisions. Now, they can also instantly execute trades with GAIN Capital directly from eSignal’s application.”

Mark Galant made a commercial statement: “As traders broaden their scope beyond equities and embrace markets such as foreign exchange, it’s important to offer them the ability to utilize the decision support tools with which they feel comfortable. We are pleased to be eSignal’s forex partner and believe this joint offering to be, without a doubt, the optimal solution for active forex traders.”

Photograph: The popularity of mobile phones and text messaging surged in the 2000s in the Western world, but still had not entered the trading world. The advent of now the prolific retail trading platforms on handheld devices occurred post-smartphone. Copyright Alton.

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