Category: Money transfer

Forex Trading Moves Closer To Computer Platform

Amid recent controversy regarding illegal activities within international currency markets by licensed traders, a growing number of investment banking executives are calling for a full transition to electronic, computer-based trading platforms that do not rely upon the soon-to-be “obsolete” human “voice spot” trading.

The advantages of a fully integrated electronic trading platform are obvious. By the very nature of the code manifested to create the trading algorithms and platforms, compliance is simply a non-issue. There exist no opportunities for malicious or deviant behavior when all trading is undertaken within a carefully monitored and regulated software infrastructure.

Although electronic trading methods were virtually unheard of at the dawn of the new millennium, roughly 74% of all currency trading now occurs through software platforms. That being said, investors should not completely forget voice trading just yet. In the spot market, where currencies change hands directly and traders themselves assume the risks previously held by market-makers, roughly 35% of all trades still occur via voice trading.

As an increased volume trading switches into the electronic currency trading marketplace, it is expected that the larger players in the industry will continue to grow and quickly develop overwhelming dominance. Currently, the most prominent electronic trading platforms for currency exchange are Deutsche, Citi, Barclays and UBS.

One of the largest criticisms of electronic trading is the decreased profit margins that results from such exchanges. Unlike voice trading, which allowed for decreased transparency and the opportunity to quickly shift massive quantities of wealth, electronic trading typically requires these large actions to be broken into significantly smaller quantities, resulting in increased financial loss and, therefore, decreased profit.

While some believe that electronic trading helps reduce in-office manpower levels, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, electronic trading platforms commonly require up to a 33% increase in personnel, as software algorithms and infrastructure must constantly be maintained. Additionally, many state that this “neutral” interface remains a vehicle for wrongdoing. Claims have been made that these electronic platforms can be engineered to adjust pricing levels depending upon mouse movements and behaviors of consumers, leveraging their uncertainty or desires against them.

Foreign Exchange Latest – Dollar gains as GBP nears 9-month lows

Although tensions remain high in the Middle East and Ukraine, the US Dollar is slowly pushing back, regaining critical lost ground against the British Sterling and Euro Dollar. Although a variety of 2014 peaks have already been met and exceeded, many experts are in agreement that the US Dollar will need a fresh and compelling impetus to continue its ascent. That being said, an increased in value of USD may comes as a result of international pressure on the EU as opposed to substantive gains on a domestic level.

The US is currently enmeshed in a variety of international conflicts that are causing many to re-assess their investments in the national currency. As Iraq continues to slip further into conflict and the ISIS militant group increases their volume of highly visible, violent demonstrations, many are left wondering what the full extent of US involvement in this conflict will be.

Meanwhile, the ongoing drama between Russia and the Ukraine is producing worldwide hesitation and fear, particularly in financial circles. Recent sanctions placed against the Russian nation are expected to result in an increase in pressure on the Euro Dollar, which, until recently, has been trading at nine-month lows. Although the EU has officially emerged from the devastating recession of recent years, the economic landscape of this region remains quite fragile. Whether or not the EU will be able to reassert their validity in the FX exchanges in the upcoming days and weeks has yet to be seen. Were the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to continue to escalate, it is highly likely that the EU Dollar will experience large price swings.

The GBP has also been experiencing its fair share of suffering, due largely to its association with the EU. For US travelers, this couldn’t come at a better time, as trips abroad will prove to be much more affordable than they would have been otherwise due to a strong US dollar.

As is common with FX trading, the volatile combination of international events taking place on a regular basis can quickly destabilize and reshape short-term expectations. Depending upon upcoming actions taken by the US Government, many believe that the US dollar is poised for increased volatility.

“To say FX Volatility is Low is an Understatement”

to put the current “tranquil” state of the FX markets in context, it’s necessary to look back in history…way back. The stability of the US Dollar against the Japanese Yen that is being observed in FX exchanges today has not been seen since 1977. Using a variety of proxy modelling techniques, it could also be stated that the Euro Dollar has not been this tame since 1979.

Although many would view these observations as simply part of a larger pattern occurring in the international economy, the actual data points to something else entirely. According to George Saravelos, a currencies analyst at Deutsche Bank, “The decline in currency volatility is unusual compared to other asset classes.”

So, what could be the cause of this unique situation? Analysts agree that current economic conditions would not promote this level of stability. In fact, both the S&P 500 and 10-year US Bonds are experiencing over a 1% increase in volatility when compared to levels witnessed in the early 1990’s. Following the “taper tantrum” that occurred last summer, as well as a variety of unexpected policy surprises coming from the ECB, it seemed reasonable to assume that volatility would shake up for the FX markets for a reasonable amount of time.

One possible explanation for the placid nature of the currency markets could be a shrinking gap between buy and sell prices due to increasing competition and ever more powerful FX trading technology. This year alone, the buy and sell spread for FX exchanges at large was reduced by 20%. As automation and complex algorithms take over the marketplace, some say, it is inevitable that stability will slowly embed itself within the infrastructure of the FX markets.

Another possible theory points to the growing shift towards electronic trading platforms as opposed to traditional inter-bank voice trading. This shift is not just relegated to the FX markets. Following recent changes outlined by Dodd-Frank, many of the asset classes within the US fixed income market are also being transformed and revolutionized by electronic trading systems.

FX traders shouldn’t be overly worried that the glory days of foreign exchange are over. That being said, some experts are saying that the highs experienced earlier this year may not return for quite a while. According to Saravelos, this unheard of stability, “is also a warning shot on the impact that technology and regulation can have on other asset classes as competition and the market mature.”

Bitcoin can be “the Internet of money” says Google Analyst

Google analyst Andy Yee is the latest to wade into the bitcoin regulation debate, concluding that any legal framework should be based on an “adaptive” approach.

Politicians and policy makers alike have expressed concerns about bitcoin’s lack of regulation.

Yee has proposed that rules should apply to services that actually handle money as opposed to those that create the digital currency software. He wrote:

“The logical and user layers are populated by private actors from the bitcoin community and real economy respectively. These actors are small and can easily escape from regulation and enforcement. At the information layer, intermediaries of various kinds have emerged to bridge the two networks. Their position in the Internet architecture enables them to capture information flows and identify wrongdoers. In addition, they are larger and more established actors, making them more amenable to state regulation.”

In his article for Internet Policy Review, Yee suggested using similar laws and rules to those already used to regulate financial companies:

“These laws and regulations of general applicability can in theory be applied to the emerging non-financial, information-based companies in the bitcoin economy. But a balance needs to be struck between eliminating instances of gatekeeper-aided wrongdoings and avoiding excessive burdens on gatekeepers.”

When addressing the issue of criminal useage, Yee wrote:

“Criminals need to go through intermediaries in this layer to exchange between the bitcoin and real economies. As a result, these exchange mediums collect and retain significant amounts of information, which can be utilised by law enforcement to detect money laundering and the underlying criminal activity.”

In other words, at some point the criminals will want to transfer their bitcoin currency into recognisable money and it is at this stage that they can be caught.

Various Google employees have voiced their opinion’s about bitcoin. Its Chief Economist Hal Varian has been quoted as saying: “I think something like this technology will take hold in the future but I am not particularly optimistic about bitcoin because it suffers from being the first in the area.”

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Google’s Director of Ideas, Jared Cohen, declared that bitcoin was “inevitable”.

Here in the UK the European Banking authority has advised that European banks should not deal in virtual currencies until a regulatory system had been developed.

We shall continue to monitor developments…

Facebook Wants to Start Handling Your Money – Here’s Why

Gotten swept up into the social media craze in recent years? That’s understandable. After all, never before in the history of the human experience have individuals been able to explore so many elements of their daily lives simultaneously, ranging from pertinent world and local news to advertisements, product placements and social updates from friends and family.

That being said, Facebook is ready to take their immersive experience one step further by offering a convenient and powerful method for undertaking e-commerce transactions with many of the world’s larger retailers as well as between Facebook friends.

In many ways, this information should come as no surprise. After all, virtually every other major internet and tech platform has begun to release tools that individuals and business owners can use to quickly transfer money, pay invoices, etc. One of the more prominent technologies featured recently has been Bitcoin, the revolutionary crypto-currency that has quickly risen to become one of the most talked about and, simultaneously, controversial tech innovations in years.

Currently, there’s no concrete details on whether or not Facebook’s system will handle Bitcoin transactions, nor is there really any information at all! The news leak concerning this payment system was actually instigated by a computer techie at Stanford who discovered lines of existing code within the Facebook infrastructure that allowed for payments to be processed and undertaken via the messenger app.

This, really, is the only information that is actually available at this point. It stands to reason, however, that Facebook would be considering a platform such as this to unleash in the upcoming months, if only to remain competitive with the other tech giants who are operating in similar fashion.

A payment system would also ensure an even more regular supply of traffic to Facebook, which is only good news to investors and shareholders. It’s obvious to see, therefore, that any one of several reasons could be used as justification for implementing this new program. Because of this, it will be quite interesting to see exactly how this product rollout occurs and, more important, when. Timing is everything in the tech world, and numerous businesses have lost out to the competition simply by letting first mover advantage slip out of their fingers. If Facebook is serious about gaining respect and competing with the nation’s other tech giants, it’s definitely important for them to consider just how much time and money they are willing to invest in this particular enterprise.

Money Remittances to Developing Countries Will Grow ‘5 Percent’ This Year

In today’s volatile world climate, it should come as no surprise that analysts are predicting stronger than ever results from the international remittances market, largely due to the fact that a growing number of international migrants are being forced to leave their homes as a result of violent conflict and other issues. The current numbers are estimating a roughly $435 billion remittances total this year alone, which is nearly a five percent increase over last year’s levels.

One of the many reasons why remittances remain such an important factor in the world of international currency is the fact that this particular form of money transfer allows for expedient transfer of private cash inflows into developing nations. Studies have shown that, in 2013, remittances alone totaled well over three times the sum total of official development assistance.

It is also interesting to note that the relative cost of sending remittances to developing nations has dropped to roughly 7.9% of the total value transferred. That being said, the expenses associated with transferring money to Africa remain inordinately high. Although remittances may continue to expand and grow, the underlying factors contributing to this unprecedented growth are troubling in their own right. Experts now agree that forced migration levels are at their highest since the outbreak of the Second World War. In total, nearly 73 million individuals have been forced to leave their home country due to the outbreak of troubling conflicts.

There remains a silver lining to all of the aforementioned situations, however. A strong regional remittance platform in East Asia and the Pacific is directly helping to promote further economic stability in the area at large. It is also estimated that remittance levels will rebound in Latin America and the Caribbean in upcoming months.

While there is, obviously, no guarantee that the current global situation will remain as it stands today, it is likely that forced migrations and other shifts in global demographics will continue to create a dynamic remittances market that may prove to be advantageous for those whose business interests align with this specific phenomenon. It is likely that 2015 will be as, if not more, exciting to watch than the events of 2014.

Banks Set Aside Billions of Pounds for Forex-Rigging Fines

If future preparations can serve as any indication of former crimes, Barclays recent fund allocations may provide enough proof for skeptics who have been convinced “from the beginning” that UK’s banks, as well as those in other countries around the world, have been engaging in illegal activities within the Forex markets. Currently, Barclays has allocated nearly £500m in order to ensure that any costs or fines incurred in the ongoing investigation regarding forex riggings are fully covered.

Barclays is no stranger to controversy. In 2012, the bank was fined approximately £290m for manipulating Libor, a scandal that pales in comparison to the penalties which may be sustained in upcoming months. Currently, the Financial Conduct Authority is attempting to reach a settlement with six major banking establishments regarding illegal activities in the Forex marketplace, a trading arena that involves over £3.5tn in transactions each and every day.

It is expected that the Financial Conduct Authority will release information regarding their regulatory actions next month. Experts agree that it is quite likely that the FCA will include an exhaustive collection of e-mails and e-chats, all of which point strongly to interest-rate fixing in forex markets among traders with Barclays.

Unfortunately, Barclays continues to soil its reputation with scandals such as this. Shares in Barclays continue to fall as an ever-increasing series of controversies continue to mount. In the third quarter of this year, Barclays’ profits have fallen by nearly £200m when compared to a year ago this time. Almost 8,000 jobs have also disappeared over the course of the last year. That being said, over the course of the past nine months, overall profits for Barclays have risen by approximately 5%.

Although Barclays is currently suffering heavily from some of the costliest scandals the bank has ever experienced, bank leaders have already stated that the bank will continue to pay its 1p quarterly dividend as promised. Whether or not the bank will be able to salvage its reputation after these issues, however, is another matter entirely. More information about this scandal will be available in the following weeks, following pending announcements from the Financial Conduct Authority and Barclays’ leadership.

Forex – Pound Sterling Near 1-Year Lows

Forex traders may be in for a somewhat bumpy ride in upcoming months, as the Pound Sterling has fallen to a near one-year low following news that the UK’s economic growth may be slowing. Recent government reports have shown that the UK’s service sector is expanding at the slowest rate seen in the last 17 months.

Although such news may initially appear to be somewhat grim, business optimism has not fallen as much as may be expected. In fact, the vast majority of firms in London’s financial sector continued hiring staff. These disappointing figures are also serving as a strong prediction that the Bank of England will, at least for the time being, keep interest rates at their current levels in an effort to promote economic stability. From the perspective of GDP, the UK experienced .7% growth in the third quarter of this year, while a .5% expansion is considered the likely outcome of fourth quarter activity.

The rise in the value of the US dollar is not only the byproduct of economic weakness in Europe. The now exclusively Republican-controlled House and Senate are considered to be a huge show of support for the US dollar. Government gridlock has, historically, contributed to currency weakness. Fortunately, the United States no longer has to suffer through the degree of turmoil that had embroiled their government over the last two years.

Investors are currently awaiting the outcome of a European Central Bank meeting that is occurring on the heels of a surprise stimulus move by the Japanese government. Many industry analysts are now predicting that the ECB will engage in a similar strategy, injecting much-needed funds into the Euro zone.

Related data points regarding the economic health of the Eurozone continue to be somewhat disappointing. Retail sales have dropped 1.3% on the monthly charts, which exceeded predictions for a .8% overall decline. Whether or not these factors will strongly influence the value of Pound Sterling remains to be seen. If the ECB were to intercede, it is likely that currency value fluctuations would follow suit. It will be interesting to observe exactly how these scenarios play out in the final month of 2014, and what expectations are established for the opening months of 2015.

Learn how to Save Money and Time on International Currency Transfers

Although international travel is, obviously, one of the most enjoyable and exciting adventures available for many us, current logistical hassles can transform what should otherwise be a carefree and thrilling experience into an annoying and cumbersome series of trials and blunders. International currency transfer remains one of the most important and yet annoying and time-intensive elements of traveling abroad. It’s not uncommon for travelers who have little experience with international money transfer to lose a large part of their initial travel fund on transfer fees and poor exchange rates.

It’s often tempting to approach one of the major high street banks when you first begin pursuing international money exchange services. That being said, these institutions often do not offer customers the best possible exchange rates. A variety of independent money exchange services are available for travelers across the United Kingdom that provide competitive exchange and allow you to spend more of your money on your vacation as opposed to exchange fees.

Due to the fact that foreign currency exchange rates often change on a second-to-second basis, it’s highly important that individuals who may be new to international exchange seek expert advice from those who make foreign exchange their primary business. Fortunately, a growing number of independent services do offer consultation services in addition to standard exchange services. Instead of wasting time and money at the major high street banks, we highly recommend that you explore the numerous advantages offered by independent services in business in virtually every major city in the UK.

For those whose interests fall more in line with long-term international adventures, including buying property in a foreign country, independent currency exchange / transfer services can also be particularly helpful. These businesses can help you establish a regular payment plan which ensures that you won’t miss any important milestones in your payment schedule.

As you can see, there are numerous reasons why an independent exchange service may be helpful for those interested in pursuing cost-effective, budget-friendly money transfers. While the fine details of any transfer or exchange-related endeavour will, obviously, have to be settled between the independent exchange service and the individual seeking to transfer money, it is likely that these issues will not present any long-term difficulties which would impede future plans. Ultimately, using an independent exchange service allows you to invest more of your money into your long-term goals and, simultaneously, prepare for a more exciting future! There’s never been a better time to explore international money transfers and exchange rate services. Contact your nearest independent exchange service today, and learn more about the wide variety of services that may currently be available for you, your friends or your family. Good luck!

Bitcoin Software is the future for money exchange

For many investors who have spent the last six months of their life proclaiming loudly that Bitcoin is the way of the future, the current price fluctuations that have led to the lowest price points for the currency since 2013 may be causing cold sweats, nightmares and vigorous bouts of rage/denial. That being said, taking to the time to breathe deeply and think about the history of Bitcoin may provide a more realistic and, hopefully, optimistic feeling of where this currency may be headed.

When Bitcoin first arrived on the internet, early adopters proclaimed that this currency would rattle the foundations of the current marketplace and, to be honest, it did. With values absolutely skyrocketing prior to the Mt. Gox catastrophe, many investors were swept into thinking that Bitcoin truly had revolutionized currency. That assumption, really, isn’t too far off the mark. Regardless of what the future of Bitcoin as a single cryptocurrency may be, the technology powering it and the ideas it has generated will live on long past this particular payment vehicle.

That being said, for those who are committed to gaining the most clear picture of the coin itself, the news is going to feel demoralizing. For a currency as young and volatile as Bitcoin, “first” impressions are everything. Given the absolute plunge of the currency in recent months, there’s virtually no way that an experienced investor looking to tuck away millions in a promising opportunity will give Bitcoin a second thought. The less transactions that occur, the fewer opportunities that Bitcoin has to reach new segments of the population who may find it a valuable tool. The fewer people who find the currency useful, the less credibility it is able to hold on to. And this, of course, is how the currency could die.

The idea of Bitcoin, however, will likely stay alive for decades to come, due in large part to the revolutionary nature of the blockchain, a system of reinforced anonymity and security which, due to its inherent flexibility, will likely become a ubiquitous element of the online arena.

Therefore, Bitcoin enthusiasts really have two choices when it comes to thinking about their favorite currency. They can acknowledge that the coin itself was bound to face a turbulent period of growth and change that may lead to its demise, or they can think of the bigger picture, i.e. the blockchain, and revel in the fact that Bitcoin truly is just the beginning of something much larger and more revolutionary than they could have ever imagined.

Translate »