Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 


SummaryMost relevantAll NewsAnalyst Reco.Other languagesPress ReleasesOfficial PublicationsSector newsMarketScreener Strategies

Banks slash FX leverage for clients after Swiss franc rout

02/06/2015 | 08:51am EDT

MILAN (Reuters) - Banks are cutting back on the credit they offer leveraged investors in foreign exchange, after an eruption in Swiss franc volatility one day last month forced changes in risk-management models, several industry figures said on Friday.

In the aftermath of the franc's surge on Jan. 15 -- as much as 40 percent -- and the losses that resulted, U.S. authorities imposed a 50 times cap on the leverage retail currency brokers like FXCM can offer clients.

That means by putting $1 on a currency swing, the client actually bets up to $50. The rest is effectively provided on credit by the broker or the broker's banking partners.

No such limits are put on retail FX trading in Europe, or on the wholesale market, where the stakes are far higher for the banks and funds betting trillions daily on currency moves.

Several sources with FX trading operations, speaking on the sidelines of an industry conference in Milan, said the impact of the volatility caused by the franc meant banks were cutting the leverage they offer even their most trusted and valuable clients.

"Whereas a big hedge fund would get 30-40 times leverage from a bank before, now it might well be half of that," said the head of sales at one trading house, asking not to be named.

"This is all being driven by the risk-management models. When volatility rises as much as it has, the banks are slaves to the models, which say they have to cut back on risk. This has dominated the past two weeks for us."

Banks are still sifting through the fallout of the franc move, which meant millions in losses for many clients who had bet the Swiss National Bank would keep its ceiling on the franc's value against the euro indefinitely.

Another banking source said the FX world's biggest player, Citi (>> Citigroup Inc), had increased margins on other pegged currencies, including the Danish crown and Hong Kong dollar. A rise in the margin investors have to put down decreases the rate of leverage. Citi declined to comment.

"We're doing a lot of business with our existing clients since the franc move, volatility is good for the industry and good for profits," said a third industry source.

"But if leverage rates in general are reduced as a result of this move, that will also have an impact on bottom lines."

(Editing by Larry King)

By Patrick Graham

Stocks treated in this article : Citigroup Inc, Thomson Reuters Corporation

© Reuters 2015
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CITIGROUP INC. -0.33% 66.71 Delayed Quote.8.19%
EURO / DANISH KRONE (EUR/DKK) -0.02% 7.43659 Delayed Quote.-0.05%
EURO / SWISS FRANC (EUR/CHF) 0.00% 1.0819 Delayed Quote.0.10%
RISE, INC. -3.70% 26 End-of-day quote.8.33%
THOMSON REUTERS CORPORATION 0.86% 131.36 Delayed Quote.24.96%
All news about CITIGROUP INC.
12:48pD R HORTON : Citigroup Adjusts DR Horton's Price Target to $106 from $109, Keeps..
11:24aPLUG POWER : Citigroup Initiates Plug Power at Buy Rating With $35 Price Target
07:13aARVINAS : Citigroup Adjusts Arvinas' Price Target to $153 From $118, Keeps Buy R..
07:03aINTEL : Citigroup Adjusts Intel's Price Target to $57 From $60, Maintains Neutra..
07:01aBOSTON BEER : Citigroup Adjusts Boston Beer's Price Target to $854 From $1,145, ..
07:00aCIMAREX ENERGY : Citigroup Adjusts Cimarex Energy's Price Target to $96 From $84..
06:56aDISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES : Citigroup Adjusts Price Target on Discover Financi..
06:25aMONSTER BEVERAGE : Citigroup Raises Monster Beverage to Buy From Neutral, Price ..
07/22Citi appoints Saraf as head of Indian investment banking
07/22Citi Appoints Rahul Saraf as India's Investment-Banking Head
More news
Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 71 016 M - -
Net income 2021 20 466 M - -
Net Debt 2021 - - -
P/E ratio 2021 6,71x
Yield 2021 3,08%
Capitalization 138 B 138 B -
Capi. / Sales 2021 1,94x
Capi. / Sales 2022 1,92x
Nbr of Employees 214 000
Free-Float 65,6%
Duration : Period :
Citigroup Inc. Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
Full-screen chart
Technical analysis trends CITIGROUP INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 27
Last Close Price 66,71 $
Average target price 83,67 $
Spread / Average Target 25,4%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
Jane Nind Fraser President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Mark A. L. Mason Chief Financial Officer
John C. Dugan Chairman
Mike Whitaker Head-Operations & Technology
Mary Mcniff Chief Compliance Officer
Sector and Competitors