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BNP Paribas unveils its advanced multi-product FX trading platform – “CORTEX FX”
Publication date: 24 April 2012
Author: BNP Paribas
Launched on March 7th 2012 CORTEX FX is an innovative multi-product solution for the bank’s corporate and financial institution clients to manage their foreign exchange requirements.
CORTEX FX is the result of a great deal of consideration of client needs and technical development work at the bank. According to Thomas Soede, Global Head of Electronic Markets, CORTEX FX was built to satisfy the needs of a very diverse client base, spread across 60 countries: “our ambition when we set out to build CORTEX FX was to have a platform that is highly customisable, that gives our clients the ability to click and trade, and offers them access to a comprehensive range of post-trade services. We also wanted to give our clients the ability to trade emerging markets currencies on a local basis. With CORTEX FX we have developed a new electronic application that is fully integrated in terms of product access, enabling clients to benefit from using a range of intelligent electronic tools and services.”
Even the selection of CORTEX FX as the platform name is the result of a lot of thought. Unlike many other banks, who have branded their platforms around names which evoke power, speed or some aspect of market dominance, BNP Paribas have opted for a different approach, choosing instead a name which evokes deeper concepts associated with the power of the human brain. CORTEX is BNP Paribas’ new brand for all of its electronic trading applications.
The platform was built in-house using Silverlight technology, which means that no downloads are required, and is accessible via the bank’s GlobalMarkets portal. It has a comprehensive library of widgets built into the system which clients can pick and choose from as they wish.
The trading screen is well organised and has been designed to be as intuitive as possible. It has three principal areas – the main trading screen itself, a quick trade window and customisable/exportable blotters, along with a host of links and data feeds where traders can see the latest market news, commentaries, forecasts, FX research, trading strategies and analytics. This design approach gives clients complete flexibility to set up and tailor the trading screen exactly how they want it.
The platform also has a number of other features which have been specifically designed to make life as easy as possible for traders. These include a tutorials feature, where users can learn how to make the best possible use of the huge array of functionality at their disposal and a System Health Check feature which enables users to diagnose, at the click of a button, any client-side connectivity issues which may be leading to impaired system performance or slow response times. Another feature which is likely to be very popular with users is the one click button to lock the platform. This enables a trader to walk away from his or her desk at any time and not have to worry about closing a range of applications when doing so.
Product and currency coverage is extensive, with G10 currencies, over 30 EMK currency pairs, GCC currencies, plus crosses. Users can trade spot, outrights and swaps easily with one and two click trading. There is also a wide variety of execution and order types available. With the platform’s sophisticated pricing engine, competitive pricing in over 150 currency pairs is available and fast execution is a key feature – there is no slippage between execution and confirmation. An extensive range of Asian, European and LatAm NDFs can be traded, with streaming and executable prices available during Asian and American trading hours. The Options Trading functionality gives 2-way auto-quoted vanilla, barrier and digital options. Multi-leg options for structured deals and delta solving features are available via a user-friendly interface.
The platform allows for flexible levels of permissioning for different users. This means for example that there is considerable granularity in terms of spreads, products traded, trade sizes and tenors – different spread levels can be set for individual users and different product trading environments can be set for different users within the same institution. The platform is also fully customisable for a corporate treasury environment.
CORTEX FX also has advanced post-trade services and capabilities: the platform gives fully integrated STP to all leading 3rd party providers, Prime Brokerage and post-trade valuations.
The bank has a three week release schedule for new and updated functionality on the CORTEX FX platform which will ensure that it remains at the cutting-edge. In order to ensure that CORTEX FX is both robust and resilient in the face of threats of all types BNP Paribas have built a separate IT infrastructure for the platform which is wholly independent of the bank’s core IT infrastructure.
Free iPhone/iPad apps are available to download at the iTunes app store which give access to research, market commentaries and analytics on the Global Markets workspace. BNP Paribas recently won the award for “Best iPhone/iPad app” at the letstalkFX.com and social-markets.net 2011 Social Forex Awards in London.
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