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Tim Quast
Traders Magazine Online News

We're All HFTs Now

In this guest commentary, author Tim Quast looks back at the history of HFT and how the market has evolved to where many firms now fit the definition of high-frequency trader.

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April 30, 2001

A European Menu for Americans

By Staff Reports

What about investors in the U.S. who want to trade in European markets?

There are several approaches. A Florida firm says it has the best and most cutting edge - an online service providing live, executable quotes in thousands of foreign securities.

The service, INTLTRADER.COM, is a subsidiary of International Assets Holding Corp. in Winter Park, Fla., and it thinks it may eventually have 2.5 million "end users on the business-to-business side." The site now has about 300 clients.

Foreign Ordinaries

The site offers real-time quotes and almost instant order execution at a set price, even when the foreign markets are not open. Orders for stocks are transmitted to the firm's market making desk which handles roughly 8,000 foreign ordinary stocks.

The online service, which evolved from an earlier model that was somewhat clunky, is using technology created by eFORCE, a global eBusiness integrator, which utilized International Assets' proprietary real-time foreign quote and trading capabilities. The Winter Park-based firm is hoping to sell its quote and trading services to other Wall Street dealers.

At the helm is Ed Cofrancesco, senior vice president of capital markets. He joined the firm, when Gerry Mastrianni, who had headed trading, left with his entire team to form a competing firm, GMST World Markets in nearby Mary Lake, Fla.

INTLTRADER.COM says it is the first U.S. broker to provide investors with the ability to trade foreign securities in more than 30 markets over the Internet. It charges a flat $29.99 per trade.

Some analysts said the online approach in the U.S. to trading in foreign markets will grow.

Another approach for the intrepid American investor includes purchasing the American Depository Receipts of non-U.S. companies from a U.S. broker dealer. Some brokers, however, do not provide price quotations. In some cases where quotations are available, they are not in real time and unlike INTL, for instance, are denominated in foreign currencies.

INTLTRADER.COM is not the only game in town. Globeshare.com, operated out of New York, provides access to some about 40 foreign markets. The basic commission charge for a foreign stock order is $25 and there are other charges for real- time executions and other services.

Other U.S. firms hoping to build new business providing American investors access to foreign markets include E*Trade Group and TD Waterhouse Group.