With more investors looking past the BRIC countries for the next big emerging market opportunities, Africa is ready for an investment boom. There are several challenges when it comes to investing in Africa, including unemployment, poverty, corruption and conflict. All of these are genuine obstacles to the business environment, but Africa’s economic foundations have been strengthening. Developed economies are only just shaking off the side-effects of the global economic downturn of 2008-2009, but Africa recovered quickly and is now displaying strong economic fundamentals.
Usually regular borrowers on global markets, Russian companies are finding their funding lifeblood cut off by banks and asset managers who worry their investments will get caught up in the stand-off between Moscow and the West. According to Bloomberg data, corporate offerings of foreign-currency bonds since the Crimea incursion have fallen by 69% to $7.1 billion so far this year from the same period last year. With military tensions still running high between Russia and Ukraine and the ongoing imposition of tough Western economic sanctions, it has become more and more difficult for companies to issue bonds or obtain loans, a situation that could eventually threaten some of them with default.
The world’s largest banks are introducing reform to their currency trading divisions in an effort to regain the trust of customers and pre-empt regulators’ efforts to impose changes on an industry damaged by allegations of manipulation. The banks are taking action in the wake of several authorities opening investigations into claims that dealers leaked confidential client information to counterparts at other firms and colluded to rig currency benchmarks used by money managers.
In August, the Financial Stability Board, the regulatory task force for the Group of 20 economies (G20), proposed widespread change for the FX industry. The world's top banks have backed the majority of the recommendations to reform the setting of the leading global currency benchmark following allegations of market rigging in the world's largest and least regulated financial market.
FXCM: Founded in 1999 in New York, FXCM is a leading global provider of foreign exchange trading and related services. It provides services through its own online trading platforms and through third-party platforms such as MetaTrader 4. FXCM allows retail and institutional clients to speculate on global foreign exchange markets in what is known as "margin forex trading". Outside the US, FXCM also provides trading in contract for difference (CFDs) on major indices and commodities such as gold and crude oil. FXCM was one of the early developers of online FX trading. Its business model allows retail clients to speculate on forex markets with leverage. FXCM promotes a "no dealing desk" business model for its currency products, taking prices from a number of major banks and allowing clients to trade the best price at any given time.
OANDA: With its launch of fxTrade in 2001, OANDA was one of the first companies to offer fully automated online currency trading. OANDA was founded on the belief that technology and the Internet would globalise the marketplace, creating an unprecedented need for currency-related products and services. OANDA uses innovative computer and financial technology to provide Internet-based FX trading and currency information services to everyone from individuals to large corporations and from portfolio managers to financial institutions. It has access to one of the world's largest historical, high frequency, filtered currency databases. OANDA was co-founded by Michael Stumm, a professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, and Richard Olsen of The Olsen Ltd, a leading econometric research and development firm.
AvaTrade has been an innovative pioneer in online trading since 2006. The company was created as a combined effort of financial professionals and experts in web-commerce with the goal of perfecting the online experience for retail traders. The company's total trading volumes surpass $60 billion per month, and its user-oriented perspective, combined with solid financial backing, is unique in the field of online trading. It offers a broad range of platforms and services, aiming to create the optimal trading environment for every level of trader. AvaTrade offers a full spectrum of trading instruments including FX, stocks, commodities and indices. Based in Dublin, it has regional offices and sales centres in Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Sydney and New York.
KBL European Private Bankers: Founded in 1949, KBL European Private Bankers engages its clients in dialogue, provides them with independent investment advice, and strives to meet their evolving needs through a range of tailor-made services and products. It provides a range of investment solutions through its Global Investor Services, Global Financial Markets and Asset Management departments. The group has subsidiaries across nine European countries and is expanding its horizons to capture future opportunities in high-growth emerging markets, including the Middle East and Asia. The company’s mission is to be a preferred European private banking group that cares for clients and colleagues as if they were members of its own family, always putting their long-term well-being first.
FXOpen: Founded in 2003 as an educational centre of technical analysis, FXOpen is a New Zealand-based retail FX broker offering online trading services via the MT4 platform. It provides access to the Electronic Communication Network (ECN) to execute trades in currencies and precious metals. The company has international offices in Australia, United Kingdom and Russia, forming part of FXOpen Group. It is represented worldwide but is mostly present in Europe and Asia. Liquidity for trades can be obtained from other traders, brokers, financial institutions or even FXOpen itself. ECN models do not have large liquidity pools and clients are often unaware of where their trade liquidity is coming from or the depth of the market price. This is how FXOpen can offer such low spreads and commission structures.
Commerzbank is a leading German global banking and financial services company that finances more than 30% of Germany’s foreign trade. Commerzbank’s presence in the UK dates back to 1873, originating from a stake in London & Hanseatic Bank. Its FX Quantitative Solutions Group within FX Sales and Trading is headed by Jessica James. It delivers deep statistical understanding into the short and long-term behaviour of FX markets to support a range of client FX activities, including FX trading strategies, portfolio construction, capital allocation, valuing FX options, risk management. Combining industrial knowledge with academic analysis, Commerzbank’s FX team provides fresh and challenging perspectives on FX topics every month.
eToro is the world's leading social investment network, enabling clients to tap into the wisdom of crowds to help them make smarter investment decisions. Founded in 2007 in Israel, it has developed flexible simple-to-use trading platforms that provide fast and easy access to the financial markets. It operates the largest social trading network, OpenBook, whose "copy trading" feature enables investors to view, follow and copy the network's top traders automatically. Social trading is designed to offer many opportunities to interact with the trading community, whether through live chat traders messaging system or through discussions boards where customers can exchange investment ideas with traders from across the globe. eToro's social trading network enables every customer to find expert traders to learn from and copy the best.