A Computerized Trader Just Beat Banks in Top Currency Ranks

Computerized trading firm XTX Markets Ltd. has come from nowhere to dethrone major banks including Deutsche Bank AG in the rankings of the world’s biggest spot currency traders.
The London-based proprietary trader is now the fourth biggest, accounting for 7.6 percent of spot foreign exchange — a subset of the overall currency market. It’s the first time an electronic specialist has displaced a bank in Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc’s annual survey.
Deutsche Bank has a 7.1 percent share of spot trading, according to Euromoney’s 2016 poll. The German bank was second only to Citigroup Inc. in 2015. XTX was the ninth biggest firm for overall foreign-exchange trading, which also includes swaps and options.
Its name is a reference to a mathematical expression, and the firm was spun off from quantitative hedge fund GSA Capital last year.
XTX’s sudden arrival in foreign exchange is part of an evolution that has already made itself felt in the stock market, where banks are surrendering market making to companies that specialize in electronic trading. XTX says it relies on quantitative research, machine learning and correlations between assets to generate prices.
“Electronic market making is entering other asset classes, whether it’s fixed income or others,” said Steve Grob, global director of group strategy at Fidessa Group Plc. “The foreign-exchange market is worth trillions and trillions — it would seem an obvious direction of travel.”

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