High-speed trader Infinium Capital reduces portfolio -president

CHICAGO Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:33pm EST

CHICAGO Dec 20 (Reuters) - Infinium Capital Management has started reducing its trading portfolio "across the board" to provide units that are performing well with resources, the president of the high-speed U.S. trading firm said on Friday.

Privately held Infinium is among the higher-profile electronic trading groups and a household name among Chicago traders. The firm trades in commodities, energy and other markets.

Infinium is "actively looking to reduce" its risk, president Mark Palchak said in an interview after traders reported that the firm was exiting positions in commodity markets. "Today was a part of that, and we'll continue."

Palchak declined to say why Infinium was reducing risk or which markets it was exiting. He initially said the firm was not closing its energy unit and then said he could not comment on the matter.

"We have groups that are doing really well right now, and we want to make sure they have everything that they need to do well," he said.

A favored tool of hedge funds and other institutional traders, high-speed traders use so-called algorithmic software programs to post orders in the blink of an eye. Firms have struggled financially because of increased competition and regulatory oversight, low interest rates that have hurt volume and volatility, and the uncertain global economic recovery.

Infinium has shed employees since this summer, including its former chief operating officer, and brought in a new boss, who came out of retirement to lead the firm.

FXCM Inc, a foreign-exchange brokerage, in October bought a $12 million note issued by Infinium. Infinium had said it wanted to strengthen its capital position.

"To our knowledge, Infinium has begun deleveraging and reducing its portfolio," FXCM spokeswoman Jaclyn Klein said. "FXCM will continue exploring partnership opportunities with Infinium."

FXCM shares rose 3.8 percent on Friday.

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