FXecosystem CEO James Banister on the importance of quality trading infrastructure in Asia’s major financial center

“After a long discussion with various interested parties in Singapore there is no doubt Singapore has great ambitions to keep growing as a key FX centre, and is focused on multi-bank trading pricing engines and growing an FX hub” – James Banister, CEO, FXecosystem.

The world’s largest electronic trading centers of London, New York, Chicago, Hong Kong and Singapore are continually engaged in commercial synergy, and therefore in order to remain at the very forefront of electronic order execution for the entire world’s financial markets economy, the infrastructure that connects the significant centers to each other and to the global trading environment is critical.

Today, British institutional and retail outsourced connectivity service provider FXecosystem, led by astute senior industry leader James Banister, embarked on its expansion into Asia, opening a new headquarters in Singapore as well as a point of presence (POP) connection at Equinix’s SG1 Singapore datacenter.

The expansion accommodates current retail and institutional client requirements and underpins FXecosystem’s strategy for growth in the region. It follows a successful six-month operation of FXecosystem’s new NOC and Engineering facility in Asia.

This is a milestone and very important in terms of accessibility. FinanceFeeds today spoke to Mr. Banister in order to take a look at some business critical aspects that are crucial in terms of electronic market connectivity.

The Asia Pacific region is vital in terms of financial markets connectivity to the major financial centers of the West, including New York, Chicago and London. How will FXecosystem’s presence there ensure greater relationships between Tier 1 banks across the world, prime of primes, executing venues and hosting providers?

As part of FXecosystem’s growth strategy being in South East Asia is critical. We are also planning to POP in Hong Kong and Tokyo in very near future to complete our Asia network. In addition, our clients in Asia require access to our Meet-Me-Room which is virtual and in a private cloud.

With Tier 1 banks now restricting liquidity to OTC derivatives firms en masse, there is a great opportunity for non-bank ECNs such as FXall, Currenex and Hotspot to work together with technology and connectivity firms to engender greater direct market access to liquidity. How will FXecosystem’s presence in Singapore make steps to further this?

My background is in electronic FX, having previously worked at FXall. I have a great network of ECNs and, in fact we have all the major ECNs in our Meet-Me-Room.. FXecosystem has an active programme of engagement with all the key ECN liquidity providers and we have had notable success working with them, in guiding our clients and new clients to co-location with best pricing engines locations for each client.

What is your opinion on the differences between multi-bank trading platforms in Singapore and Hong Kong, two of the world’s largest financial centers, compared with those of London and New York, and how should trading infrastructure be built to be able to engender seamless order flow between all regions? 

After a long discussion with various interested parties in Singapore there is no doubt Singapore has great ambitions to keep growing as a key FX centre, and is focused on multi-bank trading pricing engines and growing an FX hub. This is one of the reasons we decided to place our regional HQ in Singapore.  We also see Hong Kong as a key centre, especially around the retail FX gateway to China.

With a massive influx of Western companies into Singapore and Hong Kong at bank level and institutional FX level, how does the server hosting cope when LD4 serves the City of London just 30 miles away, and New York has two Equinix venues? Are Singapore and Hong Kong reliant on HK and TY servers, and what is the difference in execution quality?

If a client is cross connected to a pricing engine locally to their market, this does not have any impact. If, however, they request a Liquidity Provider in NY4 or LD4, for example, they are they going to have to deal with RTD time (Round Trip Delivery) to connect to those venues. The speed is critical and gives a competitive edge, impacting the number of trades which can be processed per second.

What market segment will FXecosystem attract in the APAC region?

We are targeting both the institutional and retail FX markets. We are helping clients here to expand into Asia and are also hoping to attract Asian brokers and banks who will benefit from the enhanced connectivity between Asia, Europe and America.

What is FXecosystem’s plan for the immediate future in Asia?

To grow the office in Singapore to be a major regional HQ for FXecosystem so we can support our clients in Asian time zones.  We see tremendous opportunity for our FX/Bond connectivity services combined with our new areas of focus around Data Monitoring and analysis on / flow monitoring.  Our FXeco-eye data monitoring product can be delivered via SaaS as a monthly service and has great applicability across all the major finance centres in Asia.

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