Forex Weekly Look Back: HSBC winds down US retail banking business, Playtech to sell Finalto for $210 million

Looking back at the most intriguing and popular industry news from the past week between 14th and 28th May on LeapRate.

European trading and investing platform has announced extending its trading hours to allow pre-market and after-hours trading on its platform. Clients of the platform can now trade derivatives on popular securities between 04:10 to 20:00 EST, outside of the traditional trading hours of 9:30 to 16:00 EST. The extension of the trading hours is meant to allow clients to trade at more convenient and flexible times. It will also help them react quickly to news and events before the normal trading day starts.

London Stock Exchange Group has revealed following the integration of Refinitiv, David Craig plans to leave the Group at the end of 2021. Andrea Remyn Stone will take his place as Group Head, Data & Analytics from 1 July, 2021. Stone currently serves as Chief Product Officer, Data & Analytics and works closely with Craig on a smooth transition in the coming moments.

The HSBC Holdings plc revealed its intentions to exit its US domestic mass-market retail banking business after 40 years of trying to run a full-service bank in the United States. Europe’s largest lender will exit 90 branches of its current network which includes 148 branches. The remaining 25 will be turned into international wealth management centres. In HSBC’s announcement, the company said its remaining “small network of physical locations” in the US will switch focus to “international banking and wealth management”.

Moscow Exchange will add 20 international stocks to trading. The new addition includes stocks from  Zoom, Western Digital and Virgin Galactic. The number of shares and depositary receipts of international issuers available on the Russian market operator will now reach 144.  The Moscow Exchange plans to add more international securities for trading in the future based on demand from banks, brokers, asset managers and their clients.

London-listed financial broker IG Group has signed a sponsorship deal with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for a period of three years. The sponsorship will see IG’s logo printed on the shirts of both men and women on the national team. The first Test against New Zealand, which is going to take place next week, will mark the beginning of the deal and the IG branding will appear for the first time.

FairX announced its plans to launch a new CFTC-regulated futures exchange to offer more accessible futures to individual investors. A number of firms will offer FairX products at launch, among which are TD Ameritrade, E*Trade Financial, ABN AMRO Clearing Chicago LLC, ADM Investor Services, Advantage Futures, Dorman Trading, StoneX, Wedbush, Virtu Financial and XTX Markets. Nodal Clear, part of EEX Group, which is in turn part of Deutsche Börse Group, is set to provide clearing services.

Morgan Stanley revealed in a letter addressed to staff that its Head of Prime Brokerage, Ed Keller, is set to leave his role due to health reasons. Keller is due to be replaced by Kim Shaw and Penny Novick, who will assume the roles of global co-head of the division. Exact details of Keller’s health issues were not revealed in the press release, but plans are in place for Keller to take on a new senior advisor role within the company upon his recovery.

Online gaming and financial trading giant Playtech announced that it entered into an agreement to sell its financial trading unit Finalto to a Consortium led by Barinboim Group and backed by Leumi Partners Limited and Menora Mivtachim Insurance Limited. Playtech has to a cash offer of up to $210 million from the Consortium. The offer includes an initial $185 million, of which $15 million is deferred for up to two years from completion of the Transaction, together with a further $25 million which depends on certain cash flow or other criteria being met by the business carried on by the Finalto group.

Forex24 announced opening a new research & development (R&D) centre in Kyiv, Ukraine. The new centre will allow the Cyprus investment firm to create new technologies to support forex trading. Forex24 has plans to further develop mobile trading platforms, fund withdrawal solutions and advanced customization features by utilizing Kyiv’s ecosystem to drive innovation and growth as a number of other companies do. The office in Kyiv will work together with different teams to make use of the company’s resources.

Wells Fargo & Company announced today the appointment of Ulrike Guigui as head of Payments Strategy. Starting on 1 June, she will report directly to Ather Williams III, Wells Fargo head of Strategy, Digital, and Innovation and will be based in New York City. In her new role, Guigui will lead Wells Fargo’s enterprise payments strategy. She will work together with industry partners to ensure the company is strategically aligned and positioned for growth opportunities in the payments industry.

LCH has recently announced the appointment of James Pearson as its new Head of ForexClear. Pearson is set to begin his new role within the FX derivatives clearing service on the 1st June 2021. He will be based at its London office,  where he will take on the responsibility of overseeing the department’s continual growth strategies. It has also been confirmed that he will report to the CEO, LCH Ltd, Isabelle Girolami.

Global multi-asset broker Tickmill has just announced its partnership with social trading platform TradingView. In the latest Tickmill release of future, the company teamed up with TradingView to facilitate direct market access (DMA) to 5 regulated derivative exchanges: CME, NYMEX, COMEX, CBOT and EUREX. Tickmill Clients can now trade directly from the charts on their preferred trading platform. In the official announcement, Tickmill noted that for a limited time, all new futures clients with a funded account will have access to TradingView PRO with no additional fees.

Financial markets data science firm FairXchange appointed James Dalton as Strategic Advisor. He will assist with the firm’s strategy, product development and the growth of its global client base of banks, hedge funds and FX brokers. Dalton brings three decades of experience in financial markets. His previous roles include Head of FICC Digital at National Australia Bank, Head of FX Algorithmic Execution at Citi, and Client Technology Solutions at State Street.

IC Markets revealed the latest expansion of its offering with over 950 new company stocks and 3 cryptocurrencies. The new additions the Australian broker has made include notable stocks from companies such as the German Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer BioNTech SE, event managing website Eventbrite, Inc. and multicultural eCommerce platform Shopify Inc.

FBS signed a sponsorship deal with Leicester City, the English football club announced yesterday. The broker became the lead shirt sponsor for Leicester City for the next three years. The partnership will start with the 2021-2022 gaming season but the team already showcased the new logo on their shirts in yesterday’s last game of the English Premier League where the club played against Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium.

Forex Weekly Look Back

The governor of the Bank of Korea suggested that cryptocurrency trades from South Korean citizens are a potential threat to the country’s financial system. Increased trading of virtual assets – known for their volatile pricing – is threatening to leave the nation’s financial system at risk of instability, according to the Governor of the Bank of Korea, Lee Ju-yeol, in a statement made earlier in the week.

The Swiss Stock Exchange announced the addition of Iconic Funds BTC ETN GmbH as a new ETP issuer. This is the fourth crypto ETP issuer to join the exchange in 2021. The number of trading products on SIX Swiss Exchange reaches 92. SIX has seen strong growth in trading turnover in crypto products. In the first five months of 2021, CHF 4.5 billion have been traded on SIX, which is more than a whole year since crypto products were first admitted for trading at the exchange in 2016.

PayPal’s blockchain lead has announced at Coindesk’s Consensus 2021 event that a withdrawal function on the platform is on its way. Speaking to conference moderator Jeff John Roberts, Fernandez da Ponte stated that plans are in the pipeline for PayPal to begin allowing customers to withdraw crypto into third-party wallets. At this moment in time, PayPal does not allow its users to move around cryptocurrency holdings off-platform, despite this it has allowed customers to purchase bitcoin and various other cryptocurrencies since last October.

Iran has recently announced a ban on the mining of cryptocurrency for as long as four months following country-wide power outages. The intensive industry is said to have contributed to blackouts for households and businesses across Iran, with outages lasting as long as six hours a day in recent weeks. Such blackouts even caused Iranian chess professionals to lose their match during an Asian championship hosted online.

Europe’s largest bank HSBC confirmed today it is not planning to launch crypto trading. The bank’s Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters that Bitcoin is too volatile and they are not promoting it to their clients. The statement follows Bitcoin’s recent 50% slump after China’s latest crackdown on crypto trading and Elon Musk’s last week critique on Bitcoin energy consumption and reversing his position on Tesla accepting Bitcoin as payment.

The likes of BTC.TOP and HashCow have reportedly halted operations in China following an intensified crackdown on bitcoin trading and mining by Beijing. Not only has the crackdown paused business, but it has also had a massive effect on digital currencies during a time when scrutiny of them is heightening on a global scale. The latest crackdown is said to be a strategic method of fending off financial risk by State Council committees. China accounts for around 70% of the crypto supply around the entire globe, meaning this first-ever target is set to take an incredible toll on the industry.

Fintech firm Plaid helps customers to authorize their bank account to make a payment quickly. In order to help businesses benefit from ACH payments, the company has partnered with Square. ACH payments debited directly from bank accounts provide a lower-cost, more accessible alternative to credit cards for many businesses. Accounts and routing numbers used for ACH are more permanent than cards which expire or can go missing. Even despite the benefit for merchants, cards have solidified their position as default in e-commerce.

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