GFT exits U.S. retail foreign exchange business

NEW YORK Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:43am EST

NEW YORK Dec 3 (Reuters) - GFT has shut its foreign exchange retail brokerage business in the United States to focus on institutional business in both the United States and globally, the firm said on its website on Monday.

Terming it a "difficult business decision," the firm said all U.S. retail forex customers were placed on a "position closing-only basis" from 7 p.m. on Sunday.

"We understand that this is an inconvenience for you, so we are working to make arrangements with one of our high quality institutional partners to accept the GFT U.S. retail forex accounts," the firm said. "We expect that your forex account will return to its normal status soon so that you can continue trading forex markets normally."

The firm did not immediately return calls for comment.

The institutional market makes up more than 90 percent of the global foreign exchange market, dominated by banks and a dozen non-bank customers or electronic communication networks such as ICAP's EBS, Currenex, and Thomson Reuters.

GFT follows a trend of recent months of firms either entering the institutional business in combination with retail brokerage services or leaving retail brokerage altogether.

The retail currency trading industry in the United States has been showing signs of stress because of tougher margin and capital requirements.

GFT is a division of Global Futures & Forex, Ltd with corporate headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan and offices in Jersey City, New Jersey, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney, according to their website.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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