By Patrick Graham
LONDON (Reuters) - ICAP-owned EBS Brokertec <IAP.L> said on Thursday it was on the verge of launching its "Ultra" data service, a high-speed feed that will further strengthen the hand of the large banks and computer-driven trading firms that dominate the currency world's biggest venues.
The EBS Live Ultra service, priced identically to the company's existing EBS Live feeds and updating its snapshot of the market five times more regularly, will be launched "imminently", EBS Chief Strategy Officer Tim Cartledge said.
The launch of the service, planned since the start of 2016, comes as some market participants raise questions over the cost and access to data feeds that banks and other players in the $5-trillion-a-day market use to power trading engines and other systems.
Market participants say EBS Live costs $50,000 a month.
Another trading venue, State Street-owned Currenex, is set formally to launch its NOW market data product shortly.
Reuters News' owner Thomson Reuters <TRI.TO> competes with EBS and Currenex in the provision of foreign exchange trading infrastructure and services.
"The novel thing about EBS Live Ultra is that it places an obligation on the most sophisticated consumers of the data to help create data for the good of the wider market," Cartledge said.
"Access to the fastest data requires an obligation to help benefit all participants, rather than limiting access to it to those with the deepest pockets. We are offering a new 20 millisecond market data feed but we are not asking clients to pay any more for it."
Currency market managers say that developments in the data feeds are linked in part to the broader reordering of the market's eco-system over the past five years in favor of a new generation of high-speed traders who use complex algorithms to churn out orders and arbitrage between platforms.
That has helped squeeze many smaller banks out of the top tier of trading and the sort of market-making activity where they hold currency orders on their own books in aid of making more profit through trading.
(Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Toby Chopra)