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Currencies

Equity eyes more forex trading income with online platform

US and Kenyan currency.
US and Kenyan currency. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Equity Group #ticker:EQTY has launched an online foreign exchange (forex) trading platform that gives customers real-time streaming of rates across multiple currency pairs as it aims to double its forex customers.

The platform, dubbed ‘EazzyFX’, eliminates the need for face-to-face or over-the-phone transactions, giving customers access to competitive prices on both emerging market and major traded currencies.

This will cut settlement time for Equity’s forex transactions from about half an hour to under two minutes, according to Group Director of Treasury James Mutuku.

“Forex trading is still viewed as a mystery and a preserve of elitist club.

"The banks dictate what time to open and close but EazzyFx gives customers the control to trade round the clock with real time settlement,” said Mr Mutuku during the launch in Nairobi.

Mr Mutuku said that the bank expects more volumes to come through due to the convenience of the service.

Key clients being targeted are corporate and small and medium-size enterprise customers.

Thomson Reuters platform

EazzyFX will be hosted by Thomson Reuters Electronic Trading, which currently has over 100 banks across 56 countries.

Equity will pay them monthly fee for offering automated prices.

Customers will use the platform to request for forex trade amount, place multiple trade orders, access a full trade workflow and lock in the time they want the deal settled.

Equity group CEO James Mwangi said the platform will be for free but the bank will continue charging the normal commissions it has been charging for forex trading done through face-to-face.

“The platform will be transparent on the commission the bank makes when customers buy or sell currency. We are simply responding to the needs of customers,” said Mr Mwangi.

Digital platform

He said the bank wants to follow on the successes of digital platforms such as Eazzy Cash, Eazzy Pay and Eazzy Loan to migrate most of its forex customers to the EazzyFx platform.

In the third quarter ended September 2018, Equity booked Sh2.37 billion as forex trading income, down from Sh2.56 billion in the previous nine-month period.

For the year ended December 2017, forex income hit Sh4.11 billion, a 24.2 per cent growth from previous year.

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