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Retail forex trading to be banned in Europe?

23 August 2016

Last week saw a potentially momentous move by a European regulator – the Belgian market authority banned  the distribution of some OTC derivatives to retail counterparties. The move is likely not to stay isolated. ESMA, the pan-european regulator has recently issued yet another warning. The regulatory radar has firmly focused on the sector – with trends in the US pointing in a similar direction.

In effect, Belgian’s move might be a first in a movement to gradually ban OTC trading of binary options, spot forex contracts and CFDs (Contracts for differences). We have received a lot of customer questions asking how this affects Darwinex. This blog post outlines why we think it was about time that regulators stepped in, and why it validates many of the structural choices we’ve made in servicing the independent trader movement.

Why retail forex OTC is wrong …

An OTC contract allows two counterparties to trade with each other in conditions that both adhere to. It has the potential benefit that anything can be traded, provided both parties agree to it. It can work well between evenly capitalised and knowledgeable parties (e.g. UBS and GS) – although one wonders if even institutions understand the economics behind the clauses they sign.

Offer OTC trading to retail customers (e.g. remove the “equally capitalised and knowledgeable” provision), and OTC means trouble. Take, for instance, a retail broker-dealer, advertising the following bet to any novice retail trader:

  1. Bet on the “price of the EURUSD” as published (e.g. SET) defined by the dealer
  2. The retail broker-dealer and the retail trader agree to settle the differences in the price set by the dealer
  3. The broker-dealer throws in the bonus option of multiplying any movement in the underlying up to 500 times – which can greatly amplify the wins! (and the losses)

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 12.50.37

We know where this ends: retail investors losing their shirts. Note: the blame doesn’t only lie with the broker-dealer, he didn’t impose the 500:1 leverage choice on the trader – greed and ignorance did. Having said that, there are 2 RED flags in the above set-up:

  1. A retail-dealer’s business model largely is pocketing the losses greatly compromises its incentives.
  2. A retail-dealer sets the price of the underlying – e.g. it’s both a player betting its own capital and a referee in the same game.

Not saying that all dealers incentivise their customers to do silly things – but given how profitable the above meat grinder is, is it realistic to expect them to stop customers blow themselves up?

There you go. That’s why the Belgian ban is likely not to be the last we hear on the topic. It only took 10 years, but the good news is:

  1. Regulators have finally stepped in
  2. The alternative solution has long existed (we’ve offered it all along!)
  3. We’ll (Darwinex) stop feeling like fools for doing the right thing and losing out to morally loose competition

… And why retail OTC is obsolete

If you think this problem is new, think again. This has happened every time a new investment opportunity came up.

The solution has long existed. It is to create a “marketplace” – commonly referred to as “Exchange” for financial instruments. Rather than trade bilaterally (pairwise) with bespoke (OTC) conditions with each other, a new central counterparty (CCP) is created, that trades a single standardised contract acting as the middleman that anonymously connects all participants with each other. Read this to understand the difference. This levels the playing field in a way that makes it structurally impossible for anyone party to abuse the market without making itself vulnerable to arbitrage.

There is one situation in which marketplaces don’t work well: with non-standard contracts. Without critical mass in liquidity, it’s too difficult to make a marketplace work, and in that situation market makers are probably better suited than a central counterparty. This is the reason why retail forex trading started OTC: even though no asset is more plain vanilla than spot foreign exchange, 10-15 years ago 1) it wasn’t possible to trade micro-lots in the interbank market, 2) there weren’t as many retail market participants as there are today.

Fast forward to today, and the restrictions are gone. You can trade micro-lots with Goldman Sachs on a marketplace / Exchange. Betfair founded LMAX, the first MiFID compliant multilateral trading facility (MTF) for foreign exchange and CFDs. We have been with LMAX from our very beginning because a) we think it’s the right way and b) we didn’t want to be caught off-guard when regulators (finally) acted.

Why the ban doesn’t affect Darwinex, now or going forward

We have consciously chosen to:

  1. Align ourselves with traders by
    1. Operate a matched principal model. We are a pure broker that trades with customers. We gain NOTHING when customers lose.
    2. Offering a platform allowing traders to legally scale their strategies with investor monies – removing their structural need to over-leverage
  2. Offer unique technology & tools to
    1. Inform traders, amongst others, of the risk (Value at Risk) in their strategies
    2. Protect investors when markets become riskier or traders over-leverage
  3. Trade on Exchange – by sourcing
    1. All of our CFD offering from a regulated Multilateral trading facility – e.g. Darwinex CFDs are NOT OTC.
    2. Part of our FX flow from a regulated Multilateral trading facility – e.g. part of our FX flow is NOT OTC

Furthermore, this is the reason why we’ll soon be offering Futures trading – we’ve simply had it with the stigma condemning even the clean guys in the forex sector.

The only reason we don’t source all our FX flow from LMAX Exchange is that LMAX suffers (and will suffer) from adverse selection until the ban spreads beyond Belgium. Because it doesn’t tolerate last look by LPs, and because it allows any participant (e.g. it doesn’t ban winning traders, regardless of strategies), it has historically been less competitive on raw spread comparisons – LPs offer wider spreads to protect themselves from winning traders, who tend to concentrate with LMAX once they’re banned by retail dealers.

Put it another way: a casino admitting winners offers worse (and worsening!) odds than casinos banning winners. Being as competitive price-wise as possible, together with the need to have a backup provider, is the reason why we partially aggregate liquidity from other parties on an OTC basis. If the regulatory push to trade on Exchange goes Europe (or world) – wide, we will continue servicing customers – this time without the commercial penalty we incur for NOT pocketing their losses.

In other words: rest assured that once this healthy regulatory movement comes full circle, both the independent trader movement and Darwinex will benefit even more from being structurally aligned for profit exchange. Please do not hesitate to highlight points that warrant further clarification – as this post will likely attract long term readership 🙂

 

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apalancamiento esma

NextEra Energy Stock Split 4:1

19 October 2020

The NextEra Energy stock split is approaching. At Darwinex we will apply the stock split on October 27th.

The NextEra Energy stock split is approaching. $NEE shares will be split 4-for-1. The number of shares will be multiplied by 4 and share prices divided by this same value.

At Darwinex we will apply the stock split on Tuesday October 27th at market open.

In live accounts we will adjust open position to the split without the need to close and reopen trades. Pending orders will be cancelled. In MT5, the hedged positions will be closed and the split will be applied to the resulting net position.

In demo accounts we will close all open positions in $NEE on Monday afternoon. Pending orders will be cancelled.

$NEE stocks will be available for trading from Tuesday, October 27th, at the post-split price.

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be happy to assist you!

End of Daylight Saving Time in Europe (October 25th 2020)

Please note that Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends in Europe on Sunday October 25th 2020 but our MT4 nd MT5 servers’ time is not changing until Sunday November 1st 2020 when DST ends in the US.

Please note that Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends in Europe on Sunday October 25th 2020 but our MT4 nd MT5 servers’ time is not changing until Sunday November 1st 2020 when DST ends in the US.

This means that there will be 1 week (October 25th through November 1st) where, for European users, most markets will open 1 hour earlier than during European DST, e.g. FX market will open at 21:04:01 GMT.

Instrument Trading Hours (GMT)
FX 21:05 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 20:59:50 – 21:04:01 daily) 
DARWINS 21:05 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 20:59 – 21:05 daily)
COMM.  
XAUUSD 22:01 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 20:59 – 22:01 daily)
XAGUSD 22:00:01 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 20:59:50 – 22:00:01 daily)
XTIUSD 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00:01 – 22:00 daily)
XNGUSD 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00:01 – 22:00 daily)
INDICES  
AUS200 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
STOXX50 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
FCHI40 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
GDAXI 01:30 – 21:00 (Mon – Fri)
SPA35 07:00 – 19:00 (Mon – Fri)
J225 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
UK100 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
SPX500 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
NDX 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
WS30 22:00 Sun – 20:55 Fri (except 21:00 – 22:00 daily)
US STOCKS 13:31 -19:59 (Mon – Fri)

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you with any question you may have!

apalancamiento esma

Margin increase for EURGBP and EURJPY this Friday (Professional Clients)

14 October 2020

Our margin requirement for the EURGBP and EURJPY pairs for Professional Clients is changing this Friday, October 16th 2020, around 17:00 BST.

Our margin requirement for the EURGBP and EURJPY pairs for Professional Clients is changing this Friday, October 16th 2020, around 17:00 BST.

The measure is due to the recent increase in market volatility.

The new margin requirement will be 1% for both EURGBP and EURJPY, replacing the previous 0.5%.

It will remain in place until further notice and will affect both existing and new positions.

Kindly make sure you have enough available margin and equity in your account for the new margin level.

Need help? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@darwinex.com.

apalancamiento esma

Discontinuation of cryptocurrencies from 2021

15 September 2020

From 2021 Darwinex will no longer offer cryptocurrencies. As a first step, on Monday 21 September we will deactivate the creation of new accounts.

From 2021 Darwinex will no longer offer cryptocurrencies. Their low demand from our customer base does not justify the regulatory risk involved.

As a first step towards the discontinuation of cryptocurrencies, on Monday 21 September we will deactivate the creation of new accounts.

The cryptocurrency accounts already opened will be able to continue operating until the end of the year.

Amended Trading Hours U.S. Labor Day 2020

27 August 2020

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming U.S. Labor Day on September 7th, 2020. All times are UTC.

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming U.S. Labor Day on September 7th, 2020. All times are UTC.

Labor Day 2020

For your convenience:

– Normal DARWIN trading hours

– Normal FX/CFD trading hours

– Annual Calendar of Amended Darwinex Trading Hours

Apple And Tesla Stock Splits

25 August 2020

Tesla’s and Apple’s stock splits are approaching. As of August 31st, Tesla shares will be split 5-for-1, and Apple’s 4-for-1. Existing shares of each company will be multiplied by 5 and 4, respectively, and their share prices divided by those same values. At Darwinex we will apply the stock split on the weekend of August […]

Tesla’s and Apple’s stock splits are approaching. As of August 31st, Tesla shares will be split 5-for-1, and Apple’s 4-for-1. Existing shares of each company will be multiplied by 5 and 4, respectively, and their share prices divided by those same values.

At Darwinex we will apply the stock split on the weekend of August 29th.

In live accounts we will adjust open positions in $AAPL and $TSLA to the split without the need to close and reopen trades. Pending orders will be cancelled.

In demo accounts, however, we will close all open positions in $AAPL and $TSLA on Friday afternoon. Pending orders will be cancelled.

Both $AAPL and $TSLA will be available for trading from Monday, August 31st, at post-split prices.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. -- % of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.