February was an excellent month for brokers as Covid-19 coronavirus fears brought volatility to a wide range of markets. Volumes were up substantially from January, with some brokers reaching record monthly totals.
Profits were also robust, driven primarily by late month declines in stock indices and gold. With the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus continuing, the volatility may persist well into March, if not longer.
2020 is off to a strong start as volumes and profits rebounded from a pedestrian month of December.
Early month profits were driven primarily by Gold, and the month finished strong on late month movements in the Euro. Indices also produced profits throughout the month as reactions to the spread of the coronavirus added volatility to equity markets.
When the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) introduced its new trading rules in 2018, retail brokers had to rethink their strategies due to the more demanding regulatory environment and the corresponding squeeze in profits. In particular, following the Product Intervention Measures, brokers have been looking beyond Europe in order to diversify their client base and maintain volumes.
At IS Risk Analytics, we oversee over 1 Trillion USD in notional volume on a monthly basis. This includes startup brokers, established powerhouses and everything in between.Within our client books we see all of the tricks malicious “retail traders” use to take advantage of brokers. This includes cross broker arbitrage, malicious Expert Advisors (EAs), spraying the market, spoofing, the list goes on.
Imagine the situation… you are sitting on the trading desk reviewing activity for the day and you come across a pocket of traders who were able to arbitrage your feed systematically. It has been a few hours since the transactions took place. The traders have already transferred the profits to linked accounts which have since withdrawn the funds. Now you must explain how this happened to your Head of Risk and CEO, who will undoubtedly not be pleased to hear the news.