The three biggest banks in the currency markets - Chase Manhattan, Citibank, and Deutsche Bank - have joined with news and information group Reuters to launch Atriax, a multi-bank foreign exchange trading portal for corporates and professional dealers.
The principal founders are joined by over 40 other banks, in total responsible for more than 50 per cent of the $1.5 trillion daily turnover in the international currency markets. Atriax, which will provide online trading in 100 currencies, will compete directly with rival bank-backed system FXAll, and third party portals, such as Currenex and CFOWeb. Atriax members are free to participate in other electronic FX platforms.
Dan Morehead, recruited from Tiger Management as chief executive officer (designate) of Atriax, comments: "Our aim is to quickly establish Atriax as the most efficient means to research, transact and settle foreign exchange business. The Atriax platform will provide a single point of access to market news and data, aggregated research, on-line dealing and straight through processing."
Atriax will post real-time market data and news supplied by Reuters and aggregated research from its bank members. The system will also offer automated confirmation and settlement of transactions.
A 14-strong board of banks has been set up to help in defining trading protocols and the eletrconic interfaces to member systems. A seperate board, consisting of 24 global corporate and institutional representatives, will advise on the development of the platform's product and service offerings.
Larry Carter, chief financial officer of Cisco Systems, comments: "Cisco is very supportive of this type of project. An on-line marketplace for transacting foreign exchange represents a 'new world' approach to an age-old type of transaction. Not only does such a model offer increased transparency in price and execution, but it also offers the potential for straight-through-processing, by connecting banks directly to e-commerce engines like Cisco's."
James Bunt, vice president and treasurer of The General Electric Company, says: "GE expects to execute the majority of its foreign exchange volume via Atriax, because its member banks already transact more than 50% of GE's volume and also provide more than 50% of total market liquidity.