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2012 In Review: FXCM

Dec 21 2012

The year has been slow for the forex industry in general, and it took brokers a lot of effort to stay afloat. In order to remain ahead of competition, many of them had to reduce spreads and come up with various marketing activities and technological innovations. Some brokers did better than others – but the important thing is, they all survived (well, most of them). 

With this article we are beginning a series of year reviews on some of the most dynamic forex brokers. For each of them, we will give you an overview with the highlights of 2012 – what did the broker do, what didn’t it do, what were the major accomplishments, and so on, and so on. 
The first broker we will look at is FXCM – one of the worlds’ largest providers of forex and CFD trading services. Here’s what FXCM was up to in 2012. 
The year started strong for FXCM. In January, it got into a white label agreement with Friedberg Direct to launch FXCM Canada. This was great news for Canadian traders, as the broker complies with the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and all accounts are protected by for up to $1 million. 
Again in January, the broker upgraded its MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform. The new features included the possibility of full and/or partial order fills, micro lots trading, and new currency pairs: USD/ZAR, USD/SGD, USD/HKD, SGD/JPY, USD/TRY, EUR/TRY, USD/RUB, EUR/HUF, and USD/HUF.
In February, FXCM teamed up with E*TRADE FX and thus E*TRADE FX customers got access to a000 no-fee platform with advanced charting, news and analytical tools, no commission trading  24 hours a day, 5 days a week, etc. 
After announcing excellent operational metrics for Q4 of 2011 in March 2012, FXCM witnessed its stock prices rocket. 
Then in April, iPad and Android tablet users were the ones to get good news – the broker released designated applications for the two device types. The apps came ready to trade and equipped with all sorts of features – 45+ chart indicators, interactive live charts with pinch and zoom capabilities, 56 currency pairs, etc.  
The new apps must have been a good idea – because Q1 results of 2012 were great. FXCM’s retail volume had increased by 20% compared to Q1 in 2011, and institutional volumes had raised by 82%! 
May was another busy month for the broker: it sponsored a university forex contest, launched a trading app store, and signed a white label agreement with DIF Broker.
FXCM kept this momentum in June, when it acquired Lucid Markets - a non-bank electronic market maker, and later on the same month, an Investment Trends report named FXCM the biggest broker in France in terms of customer accounts and trading volumes. 
And that was not the last recognition FXCM received in 2012: in July, German traders pronounced it “Best Forex Education Provider”, and their U.S. colleagues gave the broker “Number One in Overall Client Satisfaction”. Also in July, FXCM became the first retail broker to start offering NinjaTrader – a trading platform famous for its high performance analytic and trade execution tools that maximize a trader’s efficiency in fast-moving markets. 
In August, the entire forex market had begun to slow down significantly, and FXCM reported slight decreases in trading volumes and revenues. To stay competitive and offer lower spreads, it introduced dealing desk execution to FXCM Australia customers to test the waters. 
In September 2012, the FXCM team headed to Las Vegas to meet and greet the attendants of the FXCM Expo. Unfortunately we couldn’t attend but that’s probably for the best – we could have easily lost all our hard-earned money at the Blackjack tables in this city of sin, while the rest were attending seminars, workshops and training sessions. September also brought the third white label agreement for the year: the one with Barclays in the UK.
At the beginning of Q4 in October, FXCM challenged traders and programmers to design trading applications, and in return offered a prize pool of almost $60,000
By that time, the dealing desk execution experiment started in Australia must have turned out to be successful, as FXCM began offering the lower spreads this dealing model brought in the UK and USA as well. 
In November, the last white label co-operation for the year became a fact: the one with the Spanish broker GVC Gaesco. The number of active, tradable accounts had increased, and revenues were slightly up. 
The last change FXCM introduced in 2012 was the margin change in hedged positions. I imagine that after that the broker relaxed and congratulated itself on a successful year. At least that’s what I would do. 


TAGS: FXCM  forex trading  forex metrics  forex trading platform  forex contest  white label agreement  forex expo 

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