SunGards announcement this week that it will offer an online multibank foreign exchange trading platform came the same week that FXAll, a competing bank-run online trading service, opened for business.
SunGards STN Treasury, which will be available in two months, will run on the SunGard transaction network, which connects the Wayne, Pa., companys buy-side and sell-side clients. The company hopes to offer liquidity from multiple banks, lowered prices, and straight-through processing with the platform. In addition to foreign exchange, it will facilitate money market and over-the-counter derivatives trading.
The goals of STN Treasury are to be the conduit for the most competitive trading prices for the market and deliver the lowest cost for providers in the market, said Shawn McMorran, president of STN Treasury.
SunGards platform will be up against FXAlls, which announced Thursday that it began trading with 14 banks on Wednesday, almost a year after the banks joined together to form a consortium.
Phil Weisberg, chief executive officer of FXall, said 48 banks are signed up to provide liquidity on his system, and many of them will be trading live in the next wave of integration.
The number of liquidity providers who have signed letters of intent has increased substantially, which is a great endorsement of our functionality, Mr. Weisberg said.
Another bank consortium attempting to get a piece of the $1.5 trillion moving through the foreign exchange market daily is Atriax, formed last October by Reuters Group PLC, Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank, and the former Chase Manhattan Corp. Atriax is due to launch this quarter.
In addition, State Street Corp. has been operating a multibank trading platform since last year, and before that it ran a single-bank platform for four years. Finally, some technology companies, including Currenex and CFOWeb, have been offering online foreign exchange trading since last year.
SunGard said it anticipates no problems signing up liquidity providers for STN Treasury, because it will tap into its network of 700 bank clients that already are connected to its transaction network, which also links 1,000 money managers, 45 million 401(k) participants, 1,500 insurance companies, and 180 brokers.
Our clients are telling us that they want a transaction platform that combines the price improvement and compliance benefits of a multibank platform with the cost reduction and efficiency benefits of straight-through processing, Mr. McMorran said.
He added that he does not view SunGards offering as competitive to others already in the market. It is a very large market, and until liquidity migrates to one location we need to be offering the service to our clients.
Simon J. Wilson-Taylor, senior vice president and head of State Streets trading system, Global Link, said he agreed that online foreign exchange should not be viewed in a competitive manner.
Foreign exchange is commoditized, he said. The market is becoming crowded, but it will be a long time before the others can satisfy the kind of complexity we have today.