It has not been a good year for retail currency broker FXCM which in January faced massive losses in the aftermath of the shocking Swiss Franc revaluation. In fact, only a $300 million bailout from Jefferies/Leucadia allowed the currency trader to meet regulatory requirements and continue operations.
Then, this morning, FXCM clients woke up with even more headaches when the currency broker admitted it had been hacked, leading to a "small number" of unauthorized wire transfers from customers’ accounts. FXCM said it received an email from a self-proclaimed hacker who claimed to have access to customer information. The company said it is working to establish the scope of the breach and identify affected customers.
Not a bad idea: hack clients accounts, then quietly syphon money out.
So, blame the Chinese again? That would be awkward after Xi Jinping's visit with Obama last week.
But more importantly, will this be the final straw for FXCM, and will the broker's client decide to give the already teetering company one more chance? Perhaps the biggest question is why would anyone still want to trade FX when this is clearly the domain of the central banks, and anyone with a less than infinite balance sheet get stopped out virtually on a daily basis, especially once the momentum igniting effect of the HFT algos is added.
As a final remember, FX trading is the one venue where HFT firms like Virtu are betting their on. Expect even more grotesque moves in any given FX pair as liquidity in this critical market evaporates to nothing.