Summit Partners Buys FX Platform Stake

As reported by Tom Osborn of FINANCIAL NEWS, 360 Treasury Systems, Europe‘s largest independent currency and fixed-income trading platform, has announced a majority investment from U.S. private equity firm Summit Partners, becoming the latest independent FX platform to receive a strategic interest from bigger market players.

Summit will become the German platform’s largest shareholder, while 360T chief executive Carlo Koelzer will retain a significant stake. The transaction is subject to approval from BaFin, the German regulator, as well as the German Cartel Office.

The financial terms were not disclosed. The investment will involve a partial divestiture of a stake held by German firm Brockhaus Private Equity.

The Boston-based growth equity investment firm has previously taken strategic stakes in Liquidnet, the equity trading platform aimed at European institutional investors, Flow Traders, the Dutch high-frequency trading firm, and OptionsXpress, the U.S. options broker which was last year bought out by Charles Schwab for $1 billion.

In 2008, Summit raised a maiden EUR1 billion fund to invest in mid-market European growth companies, with investment from Deutsche Bank Private Equity, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs), and oil giant BP’s pension fund.

Multi-dealer FX platforms allow currency buyers, such as corporate treasurers and institutional investors, to connect to an electronic trading platform directly, allowing them see competing quotes from multiple banks in real-time. Following the vast growth of foreign exchange trading as a lucrative, low capital dependent business, most major banks now operate their own private, single-dealer electronic platforms.

360T was founded by Koelzer and Mathew Kuppe, now the firm’s Asia Pacific MD, in 2000. It offers trading in interest rate swaps and money market transactions, alongside its core foreign exchange business. 360T’s 2010/11 accounts list total remuneration of EUR9.8 million and 84 staff, a reduction in headcount on the 2010 financial year when the firm registered an operating profit of EUR8.9 million.

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