More than a year after CEO change, EBS plays catch-up in FX

Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:48pm EDT
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By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK Oct 18 (Reuters) - Electronic trading platform EBS is trying to regain its mojo.

Once the largest currency venue for major global banks, EBS has seen volumes drop sharply in recent years as major Wall Street banks have increasingly handled trading in-house.

The company's volumes are down sharply, with a 27 percent year-over-year decline as of September, and are less than one-third of a peak hit in 2008.

To head off more declines, EBS is betting it can attract mid-sized banks they see as underserved in this market.

The company's new direct dealing platform, called EBS Direct, is primarily aimed at smaller and regional banks, although it has signed up other non-financial clients as well.

"The direct dealing segment of the industry is growing in a fragmented fashion and there is no dominant player," Gil Mandelzis, chief executive officer at EBS, told Thomson Reuters.

"There's an opportunity here for EBS to become one of the biggest players, if not the biggest in the market."

These smaller and regional banks represent a sizable chunk of the forex market - about 24 percent, or about $1.3 trillion of the $5.3 trillion global trading volume per day, according to the 2013 estimates from the Bank for International Settlements.   Continued...