Retail investors have gotten increasingly interested in trading foreign currency, but until now, there's been no way to see how well they're succeeding. New disclosures are required to reveal the success and there's not much of it.
Just as foreign currency trading is on the verge of going mainstream, regulators say they are preparing to launch an investigation into whether foreign exchange firms are using unfair trading practices to take advantage of retail investors.
Investors interested in the currency markets -- but not so keen on pulling an all-nighter to keep track of the yen -- are getting a crack at another option: buying shares in a retail foreign-exchange brokerage. GAIN Capital, the company that owns Forex.com, will go public today, the second forex broker to do so this month.
Bonds yields are nil. Gold is hardly a bargain. Blue chips are boring. Tired of the usual suspects and seeking bigger returns, more investors are shifting their focus overseas -- not to international companies or emerging markets, but to foreign currencies.
With headlines blaring about the dollar's decline, a yuan revaluation, a euro crisis and other currency-related news, it's probably not surprising that more individual investors are calling up brokers to trade currencies. But how much they are trading is a shock. Though it's still a small part of the more than $3 trillion in currencies traded daily, the amount of money that these aspiring currency kings trade is growing at a nearly 40 percent clip each year, to an estimated $125 billion a day. The catch? Trading money can cost, well, a lot of money.