ThinkMarkets Goes Public via SPAC Deal in Canada

ThinkMarkets Goes Public

ThinkMarkets, an Australian-based broker operated by Think Financial Group Holdings Limited, has announced its plans to go public through a reverse merger with Canada-listed blank check company, FG Acquisition Corp. The anticipated listing is scheduled for July 2023. (Read our detailed review about ThinkMarkets)

  • Nauman Anees, Co-Founder and CEO of ThinkMarkets expressed excitement about embarking on this new phase as a publicly traded company with the support of FGAC. Nauman Anees will assume the role of CEO in the merged entity, while the other Co-Founder, Faizan Anees, will become the President.
  • According to Nauman Anees, the decision to list on the TSX in Canada offers an efficient pathway into the public markets, and the company sees significant opportunities to expand its product and service offerings in Canada.

ThinkMarkets provides retail forex trading services and also operates an institutional presence with a liquidity provisioning platform launched in 2021. The broker boasts a substantial client base of 138,500 traders from 165 countries. With a strong focus on growth, ThinkMarkets achieved a 24% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) and generated $62 million in revenue in 2022.

While the majority of its business is in the retail sector, ThinkMarkets is experiencing year-over-year growth in its institutional business. In addition to its presence in Australia, the broker has expanded internationally, obtaining a license in New Zealand earlier this year and entering the Japanese market through the acquisition of a local FX firm.

Vantage Obtains License to Establish Operations in South Africa

Vantage, an ASIC-regulated foreign exchange brokerage, has extended its services to tap into the emerging opportunities in South Africa, a rapidly growing and dynamic region.

Vantage has successfully obtained a derivatives license from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). This authorization permits the company to function as an OTC derivative provider, enabling it to engage in activities such as originating, issuing, selling, or creating a market for OTC derivatives as part of its regular business operations.

Vantage expressed its interest in operating in South Africa due to various factors, including the favorable business environment and the progressive legal framework for international brokerage firms in the country.

To comply with local regulations, Vantage must appoint registered representatives within the country, including at least one key individual and a compliance officer, to effectively manage company affairs. In line with this requirement, Ted Odigie was promoted to Head of Sales for Africa in November. With over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, Odigie specializes in business development and client management, joining Vantage in August 2021.

Marc Despallieres, Chief Strategy and Trading Officer at Vantage, commented, “We are delighted to have obtained our FSCA license. South Africa has been our target market, and we were determined to offer traders outstanding financial services and products while adhering to the highest regulatory standards.”

Forex brokers in South Africa are overseen by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, which grants approval to firms operating within the jurisdiction. The FSCA issues licenses and has the authority to impose penalties on companies that violate the guidelines of the nation’s dual regulatory system.

South Africa boasts a robust and well-structured financial market, making it an attractive destination for brokers seeking expansion. As one of the top ten global capital markets, it attracts thousands of investors. Furthermore, the market in South Africa offers diversity and is not as saturated as other regions like Europe.

In addition to entering the South African market, Vantage recently expanded its service offerings and trading products by introducing Vantage Connect, a liquidity solution catering to institutions and corporates in the UK.

This move into the B2B market aligns with the current challenges faced by institutional and professional traders when accessing the wholesale foreign exchange price-matching community through a prime brokerage model. Vantage’s strategic expansion in the institutional segment aims to meet the growing demand for customized trading solutions.

Oil Prices Stabilize as Russia Deems Further Production Cuts Unnecessary

Oil Prices Stabilize

Thursday saw a stabilization in oil prices, mitigating some of the previous session’s losses, following Russia’s announcement that OPEC+ does not foresee a need for additional output reductions.

Alexander Novak, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, characterized the oil markets as balanced. Russia is a member of the OPEC+ consortium of oil-producing nations that earlier this month unexpectedly agreed to slash their collective production by about 1.16 million barrels per day, a move the U.S. termed ill-advised.

Novak stated that OPEC+ does not view further oil output cuts as necessary, but it has the capacity to tweak its policy as required.

Brent crude futures rose by 64 cents, reaching $78.33 a barrel at 1:05 p.m. EDT (1705 GMT). Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude saw an increase of 60 cents, settling at $74.90.

On Wednesday, both benchmarks plummeted nearly 4% as concerns about a potential U.S. economic recession overshadowed a larger-than-anticipated decrease in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Investors are closely monitoring economic indicators for potential signs affecting energy demand.

The U.S. economy experienced a more significant slowdown than anticipated in Q1, although there was a decrease in jobless claims for the week ending April 22, according to data.

An analyst at Price Futures Group, Phil Flynn stated, “There’s a blend of signals on interest rates, and the oil market is uncertain how to react to this.”

U.S. data on Wednesday indicated a greater-than-expected drop in capital goods spending. The slumping of First Republic Bank further influenced the weak risk sentiment in the banking sector, which weighed down oil prices.

Analysts highlight poor refinery margins as a key factor in the recent fall of oil prices. Tamas Varga, an oil broker at PVM, named heating and gas oil “the principal potential drivers of this marked weakness.”

Varga noted that “Stocks of this product are somewhat resistant to depletion, possibly due to robust Russian exports.”

Despite an EU embargo and oil price cap, sources informed Reuters that Russia has ramped up its exports of refined products.

Reduced refinery profit margins could result in run cuts and a subsequent decrease in crude demand, suggested Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

The backwardation in the Brent futures curve (LCOc1-LCOc7) has levelled off slightly above $2.00 per barrel, after peaking at $4 a barrel on April 12.

Backwardation, a market scenario where front-month contract prices surpass those of later months, typically suggests a tight supply.

Market participants are waiting for the first quarter data on eurozone GDP growth, due Friday, for potential market direction. The data could influence the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decisions in its meeting scheduled for May 4.

FXCM Launches New Platforms in Response to All-Time High Retail Volumes

FXCM launches new platforms

FXCM, a leading online FX and CFD broker, has announced the launch of two new platforms in partnership with Adaptive Financial Consulting, a trading technology provider. According to FXCM, the new platforms are designed to support a larger number of instruments and a progressive web application (PWA) that provides greater access globally to its products and services.

The launch of the new trading platforms comes as retail trading has hit an all-time high, with non-institutional market participation accounting for around 23% of market volume. FXCM’s new platforms are aimed at making it even easier for this increasingly important segment of the market to access key markets and take advantage of new opportunities.

  • Brendan Callan, CEO of FXCM, commented on the importance of innovation in the trading technology space: “Trading technology is constantly changing and as a leading player, it’s vital that we embrace innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Our new platform and web-based app provide our clients with the optimal experience and a suite of products and tools they need to succeed.”

The two new platforms join FXCM’s existing proprietary trading platforms, Trading Station Desktop and Trading Station Mobile, as well as an extensive MT4 offering and API trading opportunities via a proprietary API, FIX, and Java.

FXCM’s new web-based platform, built using React, replaces the firm’s previous web platform and will integrate an array of tools and features in the coming months. The company’s new progressive web application (PWA) provides an app-like experience to users, while still being accessible through a web browser. It eliminates the need to download and install an app, making it easier for clients in jurisdictions without access to FXCM’s native trading applications to access its services. The PWA also works offline and in low-quality network conditions.

The launch of these new platforms reflects FXCM’s commitment to innovation and ensuring that its clients have access to cutting-edge trading technology.

Read our detailed review of FXCM broker.

CMC Markets Introduces Investment Platform for Singapore

CMC Markets has revealed the ‘soft launch’ of its latest online and mobile trading platform, “CMC Invest,” in Singapore.

CMC Markets Introduces Investment Platform for Singapore
CMC Invest Introduced in Singapore

This development represents another significant step in the UK brokerage’s geographical expansion, following its recent in-principle approval for a Singapore stockbroking-related entity. The launch is part of CMC’s ongoing effort to diversify and broaden its global presence through technology, leveraged institutional offerings, and non-leveraged platforms.

With a 16-year history in Singapore and offering CFDs since 2007, CMC Markets has a solid foundation for the success of CMC Invest. The platform aims to address the diverse needs of local clients seeking more sophisticated investment products and services. The Singapore-based version of CMC Markets features a wide range of products, including stocks, ETFs, options, and futures. It boasts a transparent platform without hidden fees such as inactivity and settlement charges.

CMC Invest will offer clients zero commission and real-time pricing on a wide array of listed products, along with research tools like Trading View Charting, ESG rankings, Opto content, and Thematic Investing. Existing Singaporean clients can access the new platform beginning next month while onboarding for new clients is set to commence in the third quarter.

Christopher Forbes, Head of CMC Invest Singapore, highlighted the importance of providing a reliable and transparent platform for investors during volatile market periods. He emphasized the company’s responsibility to offer clients an easy-to-use, robust platform with the right tools and guidance. The platform will also include research notes and investment insights to help clients make more informed investment decisions.

Shares of CMC Markets, listed on the London Stock Exchange, faced a challenging environment in February and March, with lower equity volumes and a higher proportion of lower-margin institutional trading activity. The company anticipates its FY 2023 net operating income to fall between £280-290 million and has warned of increased costs, leading analysts to reduce their earnings forecasts.

To learn about the broker, please read our detailed review of CMC Markets.

Stock Indexes Rise and Dollar Weakens While Oil Rallies

Stock indexes advanced on Thursday, although they finished below session highs, while the dollar declined as investors shifted their focus to upcoming inflation data and the interest rate hike outlook. Longer-dated U. Treasury yields fell in anticipation of Friday’s personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data release. Economists predict core prices to have risen by 0.4% in February and posted a 4.7% annual increase.

The US dollar slipped to a one-week low against the euro, bolstered by German inflation data. Oil prices increased over 1% due to lower US crude stockpiles and an export halt from Iraq’s Kurdistan region, counterbalancing pressure from a smaller-than-expected cut to Russian supplies.

Investors’ risk appetite on Thursday was fueled by hopes of bank turmoil containment and speculation that central banks worldwide are nearing the end of their interest rate hiking cycles, according to Jeff Kleintop, Chief Global Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab. However, hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials raised concerns among investors, who were bracing for Friday’s critical economic data and potential volatility from traders’ end-of-quarter position adjustments.

Despite recent events, including the collapse of two US banks and the rescue of a major European bank, which led to speculation that the Fed might halt rate hikes to avoid a broader crisis, Federal Reserve officials signaled that more work was needed to address inflation. The focus on inflation and the Fed’s stance pushed stock markets higher, with technology shares contributing the most significant gains.

In the currency market, the dollar index fell 0.477%, while the euro rose 0.57% against the dollar. The Japanese yen and Sterling also strengthened against the greenback. US crude oil prices rose 1.92%, and Brent increased by 1.25%. Gold prices gained as a weaker dollar and lower bond yields drove demand for the precious metal, with investors closely watching US inflation data to assess the Fed’s next move.

ZuluTrade Gains FSC Approval to Offer Wealth Management Services, Expanding Its Market Presence

ZuluTrade Gains FSC Approval to Offer Wealth Management Services

Social trading leader ZuluTrade has announced its expansion into the wealth management sector, following approval from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Mauritius (Licence No. IK21000018). As a member of the Finvasia Group of companies, ZuluTrade can now provide an array of wealth management services, broadening its offerings to investors and brokers alike.

In January 2023, Finvasia Capital Limited received an Investment Banking Licence from the FSC, which extends to group companies such as ZuluTrade. This approval marks a significant achievement for both companies. Finvasia Group Co-founder and CMD Sarvjeet Virk commented on the development, stating that the FSC license represents an important milestone on ZuluTrade’s roadmap and opens new growth horizons for the company.

Under the new license, the platform can provide services such as Investment Dealer, Investment Adviser, Corporate Finance Advisory, Asset Management, and Distribution of Financial Products. The firm will offer broker-agnostic social wealth management and social trading services, giving investors access to a wide range of tools and resources, regardless of their chosen platform or broker. These offerings include diversification of instruments, social feeds, access to strategies, backtesting, and the Trading Automator.

ZuluTrade also presents a compelling proposition for brokers at an institutional level, enabling them to expand into new verticals by joining the network. The company’s versatile technology allows brokers operating on MT4, MT5, ActTrader, or XOH infrastructure to seamlessly offer ZuluTrade’s social wealth management services to their clients without limitations.

Finvasia’s Co-founder and ZuluTrade CEO Tajinder Virk highlighted the opportunities that the Mauritius licensing presents, stating that the company aims to make wealth management simple, social, and accessible to all investors. The company’s broker-agnostic technology offers access to a wide range of markets and ready-made strategy proposals, giving investors the freedom to choose their preferred platform or broker, setting ZuluTrade apart from its competitors.

To learn more about the company and its service offering visit ZuluTrade’s official website.

Credit Suisse Shares Surge After Swiss Central Bank Backstop and Debt Buyback

Credit Suisse Shares Surge
Credit Suisse Shares

Credit Suisse shares have made a strong recovery, increasing by over 20% on Thursday, after the bank announced plans to borrow up to CHF 50 billion ($54 billion) from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and buy back around CHF 3 billion worth of its debt. The move aims to improve liquidity and ease investor concerns following a turbulent week for the lender. The SNB had stated on Wednesday that it was prepared to provide a liquidity backstop after Credit Suisse’s stock price plunged by as much as 30%.

The decline in share price came as the chair of Saudi National Bank, a key Credit Suisse shareholder, dismissed the possibility of further investment. The drop also coincided with turmoil in global banking stocks following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Credit Suisse stated that its decision to borrow from the SNB was a proactive measure to bolster liquidity through a loan facility and a short-term liquidity facility.

In an effort to buy back debt, the bank plans to tender a cash offer for 10 US dollar-denominated senior debt securities worth up to $2.5 billion and four euro-denominated senior debt securities worth up to €500 million. The offers are set to expire on March 22.

  • CEO Ulrich Körner described the steps as “decisive action to strengthen Credit Suisse” as the bank continues its strategic transformation. Körner’s restructuring efforts have included the sale of part of Credit Suisse’s investment bank and the elimination of thousands of jobs. Yields on the bank’s bonds dropped slightly following the announcement, while spreads on its five-year credit default swaps fell from 980 basis points to 898 bps. Meantime, check out swap-free account forex brokers for safe trading.
  • UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey are said to be monitoring the situation closely. Analysts have suggested that the improved liquidity position and the support from the SNB and Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority will help Credit Suisse regain the trust of investors. However, some uncertainty still remains.
  • The latest developments at Credit Suisse have prompted speculation about the bank’s future, with JPMorgan analysts suggesting that a takeover, possibly by UBS, is the most likely scenario. This comes as Credit Suisse attempts to rebuild investor confidence following a series of scandals and setbacks that pushed its stock price to an all-time low.

Credit Suisse’s announcement and the SNB’s liquidity backstop have provided much-needed relief for the beleaguered bank, whose shares had plummeted 39% this year and 85% over the past two years. The bank’s market value had fallen below CHF 7 billion, just months after raising CHF 4 billion in capital.

The lender’s challenges were further compounded earlier this week when PwC, its auditor, identified “material weaknesses” in Credit Suisse’s financial reporting controls. This led to a delay in the publication of the bank’s annual report. On Wednesday, Saudi National Bank chair Ammar Alkhudairy stated that the bank had no plans to provide further capital to Credit Suisse, despite having acquired a 10% stake in the Swiss bank last year.

Alkhudairy cited concerns about unwanted regulatory requirements as a result of owning a larger share in Credit Suisse but expressed support for the bank’s restructuring plan, adding that he did not believe it required additional capital.

The recent events at Credit Suisse have drawn attention to the vulnerability of European banks, which hold significant bond portfolios whose paper value has been impacted by rising interest rates. While the bank’s measures have helped to alleviate immediate concerns, Credit Suisse must continue its strategic transformation and address remaining uncertainties to rebuild investor confidence and secure its long-term future.

Apple Relists Popular MT4 MT5 Trading Apps After Six-Month Delisting

Apple has relisted the popular trading apps MetaTrader4 and MetaTrader5 on its AppStore after a six-month delisting. This means that iOS users can once again download the two trading platforms and that existing users will receive updates. Thus, you have the possibility to trade with TriumphFX which uses the MT4 trading platform.

Apple relists popular MT$ MT5 trading platforms
MT4 MT5 are back on iOS

The relisting follows a lengthy negotiation process between MetaQuotes, the Cyprus-based software company behind the apps, and Apple. MetaQuotes was required to provide detailed explanations on operational technicalities and other requested insights to satisfy Apple’s requirements.

  • MetaTrader4 and MetaTrader5 are leading third-party trading platforms in the retail forex and contracts for differences (CFDs) trading industry, with a total market share of 83.8% as of the end of Q2 2022, according to Finance Magnates Intelligence.
  • The delisting last September came as a surprise to many in the industry, with no proper explanation given by Apple for the move. However, industry insiders speculated that the company was concerned about the use of the apps by offshore-based fraudsters.
  • The delisting forced MetaQuotes to focus on its web-based mobile platform, and the company launched a new MT5 web terminal last November, highlighting that there was no need to download a mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Despite the setback, MetaQuotes has continued to innovate, recently launching a messaging app with financial news and analytics tips for traders. The company also offers a “Tradays Forex Calendar” on the AppStore and five applications on Google Play, including the two trading platforms and an app that shows the current US dollars/Colombian pesos exchange rate with historical price data.

The relisting of the popular trading apps on Apple’s AppStore is a welcome development for MetaQuotes and its users. It will enable iOS users to continue using popular trading platforms and benefit from the latest updates and features.