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NASDAQ OMX Launches Currency Trade Monitoring Tool

NASDAQ OMX Group Inc.(NDAQ) said Thursday it has launched new tool to help banks monitor their staff's currency-trading activities--an area that has come under rigorous scrutiny over the past year because of market manipulation. Dubbed "Smarts FX Trade Surveillance," the technology from the exchanges group allows banks to more easily identify any possible efforts at manipulating currencies benchmarks, or any other unusual patterns in trading. The firm said the technology has been developed in cooperation with six forex dealing banks, which it doesn't name. "We took a decision to develop a surveillance model for [non exchange-traded] markets 18 months ago, after the scandals in fixed income markets," said Michael O'Brien, head of Smarts Broker at the company. The pressure from clients to add foreign exchange to the asset classes covered by the technology increased after the launch of probes on the possible manipulation of foreign exchange rates a year ago, he added. Since mid-2013 authorities in the U.K., U.S., Europe and Asia have been probing the $5.3 trillion a day currencies industry market looking for evidence of possible efforts at market manipulation. The investigations have led to the suspension of at least 30 traders and a salesperson at top dealing banks, and also some staff dismissals. (http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/04/29/lines-get-blurred-in-the-fx-probe/) Smarts will help banks to compare their trading activities against a feed based on multiple market data providers, to spot any deviations from the wider market, particularly around benchmarks. So far, the technology has been developed mostly for top dealing banks, but presentations in London attracted more than 50 participants representing smaller banks and interdealer brokers, Mr. Land added. -Write to Chiara Albanese at chiara.albanese@wsj.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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