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ACI Briefing: «Project Delta Prepares for Launch»

Two years ago there was still some debate in the FX markets about the benefits, or lack of, that could be brought to emerging markets by e-trading. At that time, it was argued, liquidity was not deep or consistent enough to support online trading, however, experience elsewhere in the industry — not least the major markets — shows that liquidity has generally been improved by online trading.

An original argument in favour of the echannel, transparency, would appear to be a convincing reason for extending the benefits of «e» to the emerging markets and many banks have in the past year scaled up their transaction capabilities in these areas. Liquidity appears to be deepening — although many still point out that we will only discover how deep the markets really are when we face another «event» — and customers are trading in emerging markets, online, in increasing numbers.

In Russia, online trading has been embraced to the extent that a new project due for launch in early 2006 relies upon the benefits of e-trading to expand the local market and make access easier for foreign banks. Effectively, the local market is using the e-channel to grow. Project Delta has been jointly developed by the Moscow International Currency Association (MICA) and ACI Russia, and is a unique bilingual Russian-English trading platform The platform will have two components, its first iteration will support money market trading (Delta MM), but the benefits are expected to be extended to foreign exchange very soon after. Delta MM is a service of DeltaTrading System, an electronic brokerage system that allows dealers to work with Russian Rouble on forex and money markets using their preferred language — Russian or English. «This option helps any foreign money market dealer easily enter the Russian credit market as a user,» explains Igor Souzdaltsev, manager of Project Delta, President of ACI Russia, and Head of Financial Markets at Investsberbank in Moscow. «It was specifically developed to provide European banks with easy access to the Russian forex and money markets.»

When Delta FX is officially launched, the two services will have different logins, however thay will be able to be placed on one desktop to enable easy access to both markets for traders.

The system is easily accessible and Delta has developed a rouble account opening kit in English that will allow users to do all the necessary paperwork in one business day. «This is the first financial project of its kind in Russia,» explains Souzdaltsev. «We aim to provide support for the convertibility of the Russian rouble and develop the Russian financial markets at a faster pace than would be possible offline.»

The functionality of the system very much reflects general market practice. Users input their bid or offer in the tenor they desire, the amount they are looking to trade (including minimum trade size for partial fills) and then select from two credit limit options, Group or Counterparty.

If Group is selected, a user can release their price to pre-selected groups of market participants. These can be buckets of counterparties defined by any criteria the user wishes, for example, German banks, Russian banks, US banks etc. Selecting the Counterparties option means that the user’s price is shown to all its counterparties with whom it has established direct credit lines.

A third option is available on the system,one that maintains a participant’s anonymity.

At all times, orders can be cleared from the system, they can also be suspended but in its initial iteration they are unable to be automatically re-submitted at a later time. A full deal blotter is also provided on the system to proprovide information not only on trades, but also a user’s order history.

«We are currently in contact with those Europeans banks interested in entering the Russian forex and money markets,» says Souzdaltsev. «I’m expecting to see the first trades made between Russian and European banks on the bilingual Delta Money Market trading system in the spring of 2006. We are also expecting the launch of Delta FX in a few months too.

«I believe that implementation of this project with foreign funds coming to the rouble zone will significantly increase Russian market liquidity,» he continues. «It will not only widen and strengthen Russian financial markets but also provide support to President Putin’s ambition of achieving full convertibility of the rouble and the establishment of our national currency as a „hard“ currency.»

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