Reuters joins Chase, Deutsche and Citibank for online forex

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Reuters, the information provider, yesterday announced it was teaming up with the world's three biggest currency trading banks to create an on-line foreign exchange portal.

Reuters, the information provider, yesterday announced it was teaming up with the world's three biggest currency trading banks to create an on-line foreign exchange portal.

Atriax, a venture being launched jointly with Chase Manhattan, Citibank, and Deutsche Bank, is just the latest in a series of attempts to capture the lion's share of the £1,000bn-a-day forex market as it migrates online.

Rivals include FXall, an online forex trading portal grouping HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and JP Morgan, which is scheduled to launch before the end of this year. Others are already up and running including CFOweb, which has nine partner banks offering prices, and Curranex, which quotes prices from 25 participating banks. Atriax goes online next Tuesday.

Dan Morehead, chief executive officer of Atriax and formerly the chief financial officer of Tiger Management, the hedge fund, said Atriax's big advantage over its rivals was that it is backed by 50 major banks that together account for 50 per cent of global forex trade.

"It is amazing that although the foreign exchange market is the largest financial market in the world, it is still an over-the-counter market," Mr Morehead added. Most foreign exchange business is conducted over the phone with traders competing blindly to offer the best quotes. Methods have not changed much since traders starting dealing in cable (sterling-dollar) at the turn of the last century.

"This puts everything in one place," Mr Morehead said. None of the members is obliged to put their business through Atriax although General Electric, a major dealer in the forex market which is joining an advisory board of customers, said it expected to put the majority of its forex business through the new portal.

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