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Saturday, August 29, 2009

How Consultants Help SMBs Choose VoIP Systems

Buying phone systems is getting more complicated for SMBs (small- to medium-sized businesses). Partly that's because the systems are becoming more complex, and partly it's due to the fact that smaller companies have started expecting more from the systems they choose. For these reasons, such companies are depending more on consultants to help them make the right choices. Consultants are likewise depending on SMBs for a greater percentage of their income.

Hard Evidence

A recent study by The Brookside Group LLC of Mendham, N.J. tells the story. The firm's "2008 State of the Market Study" surveyed the activities of independent telecom consultants not affiliated with vendors. It analyzed the responses of 342 consultants and the updated professional profiles of 1,750.

The resulting data indicated that 54 percent of the consultants' clients are now SMBs, defined as between six and 999 employees. Enterprises of 1,000 employees and above account for 46 percent. That's up from 45 percent SMB, 55 percent enterprise in 2001, and a 49/51 split in 2005. The growth in SMB clients has particularly accelerated over the past three years, the report found. The majority of those clients fall in the medium-sized category, which the report defines as between 100 and 999 employees.

Driving Causes

The main impetus behind the trend has been smaller companies' growing interest in IP PBXes and hosted-IP telephony, according to Brookside founding partner Michael Sawka. Other key drivers are interest in unified communications and the growth of broadband networks that can support such technologies.

But making wise choices about complex new IP-based communication systems requires considerable expertise, which boosts demand for consultants. Their know-how is considerable, with 72 percent of those surveyed having been in business for more than 10 years. The consultants themselves are doing what they can to boost demand even further by broadening the range of services they offer.

Turning to Consultants

Clients have a number of reasons for using consultants to help them with their telephony needs, according to the report. The first is that consultants will help themsave money on phone systems and services, a motive of 69 percent. Second, at 52 percent, is a specific interest in a new technology, product or service. Others include the desires to do more with existing phone systems and networks, to increase network efficiency and to improve business processes. Improving business communication and collaboration is a motive of 33 percent, while improving competitive advantage is important for 29 percent.

According to Sawka, the most fundamental service consultants offer is needs assessment, or helping companies determine which equipment or services will work best for them. Beyond that, consultants make themselves useful in a variety of ways, depending on a client's needs and resources. They can help evaluate and choose vendors, for example, even going so far as to write RFPs (request for proposals) and assist in contract negotiations.

And in the last 12 to 18 months, Sawka added, consultants have become involved in network design and configuration because of IP telephony's dependence on complex data networks as opposed to simpler traditional telephone wiring. Consultants are even increasingly moving into deploying and managing phone systems and networks on an outsourced basis, according to Sawka. "There's a growing gray area between consultants and integrators," he explained. "The big difference is that consultants aren't financially compensated by the vendor."

The report noted that a number of vertical industry segments find consultants particularly useful. The top source of clients is health care, followed by banking and finance, local and state government and education (both K-12 and higher). Professionals such as lawyers and accountants also rely significantly on consultants

VoIP Featured News

Quality of Service, Customer Support, Are Key Factors When Choosing a Hosted Business VoIP Provider
While most companies base the decision to switch from traditional phone service to VoIP mainly on cost savings (after all, you can save anywhere from 50 to 80 percent on your phone bill by switching to a hosted VoIP service) there are two other major factors that should be considered when choosing a hosted VoIP provider: Quality of service and customer support.

AMI-Partners: VoIP, IP Telephony to Fuel SMB Networking Market
A new report from market research firm AMI-Partners predicted that the desire of small- and medium-size businesses looking to cut employees' travel costs will contribute to sizeable growth in the networking market to the tune of $1.6 billion this year. According to AMI-Partners, more companies are taking advantage of software-based Voice over Internet Protocol, or "VoIP" service, such as Skype, and video conferencing solutions as an alternative to traveling to cut costs, fueling the success of the APAC SMB networking market.

Hosted Business VoIP: What Are You Waiting For?
If you're still using traditional phone service, you can probably shave anywhere from 50 to 80 percent off your monthly phone bill by switching to a hosted VoIP, (voice over Internet protocol) service. Names Business VoIP Provider Nextiva as its 'Provider of the Month', a Website that ranks hosted VoIP services in order to help business owners make an informed decision, has awarded business VoIP provider Nextiva as its "Provider of the Month" for July 2009

Infonetics: VoIP Service Provider Equipment Market Saw Revenues Decline 29 Percent in 1Q 2009
Due to the rough economy, revenues for the global VoIP service provider equipment market declined about 29 percent in the first quarter of this year – the sharpest quarterly decline ever – according to a new report from Infonetics Research.

About FXCM

FXCM Holdings LLC Releases Financial Data: Over $100 Million in Capital
FXCM Holdings LLC has made an unprecedented public release of its balance sheet and invites other firms within the forex industry to follow its example.
Highlights of the (unaudited) balance sheet include the following:
$114,971,083 In Capital (Assets Minus Liabilities)
$126,379,728 In Operating Cash (Excludes Client Funds)
Drew Niv, CEO of the global trading firm, commented: "FXCM is proud of our financial discipline and strong balance sheet. We believe clients should have the necessary information to make intelligent choices. By releasing this information, we hope to set an example for the entire forex industry."
Balance Sheet (Unaudited)
(Amounts in USD)
CUSTOMER CASH$307,894,470
OPERATING CASH$126,379,728
OTHER ASSETS$13,034,360
FIXED ASSETS$11,005,400
TOTAL ASSETS$458,313,958
FXCM CAPITAL$114,971,083
FXCM Holdings, LLC consists of FXCM Australia LTD., Forex Trading LLC, Forex Capital Markets LLC, Forex Capital Markets LTD, FXCM Asia LTD, FXCM Canada LTD and FXCM DMCC.
Forex Capital Markets LLC
is one of the largest Forex Dealer Members
Forex Capital Markets LLC (FXCM) is regulated as a Forex Dealer Member by the National Futures Association. Forex Dealer Members are U.S. registered Futures Commission Merchants that have greater than 35% of revenue from foreign exchange.
More than $600 million in customer funds trading on platforms offered by FXCM
FXCM Holdings LLC includes firms regulated across the world, including Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Additionally, FXCM offers its proprietary foreign exchange trading technology to banks and brokers.
As of June 2009, there is more than $600 million in customer funds trading on platforms offered by FXCM.
Over 150,000 live accounts on platforms offered by FXCM from nearly 200 countries with an average of 8,000,000 trades executed each month via trading platforms offered by FXCM; moreover, customer support is provided in over a dozen languages. Registered with the CFTC as a Futures Commission Merchant, FXCM has received numerous awards from the investment community, including Best Currency Broker from Shares, Best Retail Foreign Exchange Platform from FX Week and Best Foreign Exchange Specialist from Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities. In addition to currency trading, FXCM offers educational courses on forex trading, and provides research through
FXCM Holdings LLC: Expanding and Improving
Since inception, FXCM has added over 600 employees in all areas of operation, including customer support, research, technology, and trading. FXCM has been named to the Inc. 500 list of America's Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
In 2006, FXCM launched its "No Dealing Desk" service**, which provides lower spreads.
FXCM launched many new initiatives in 2007, including the ability to hedge trades*, proprietary trading signals for clients, new currency pairs for trading, and One-click execution.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How are Rate Expectations calculated

Forecasting rate decisions is notoriously speculative, yet the market is typically very efficient at predicting rate movements (and many economists and analysts even believe market prices influence policy decisions). To take advantage of the collective wisdom of the market in forecasting rate decisions, we will use a combination of long and short-term, risk-free interest rate assets to determine the cumulative movement the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will make over the coming 12 months. We have chosen the RBA as the Australian dollar is one of few currencies, still considered a high yielders.

To read this chart, any positive number represents an expected firming in the Australian benchmark lending rate over the coming year with each point representing one basis point change. When rate expectations rise, the carry differential is expected to increase and carry trades return improves.

What are Risk Reversals:

Risk reversals are the difference in volatility between similar (in expiration and relative strike levels) FX calls and put options. The measurement is calculated by finding the difference between the implied volatility of a call with a 25 Delta and a put with a 25 Delta. When Risk Reversals are skewed to the downside, it suggests volatility and therefore demand is greater for puts than for calls and traders are expecting the pair to fall; and visa versa.

We use risk reversals on USDJPY as global interest are bottoming after having fallen substantially over the past year or more. Both the US and Japanese benchmark lending rates are near zero and expected to remain there until at least the middle of 2010. This attributes level of stability to this pairs options that better allows it to follow investment trends. When Risk Reversals move to a negative extreme, it typically reflects a demand for safety of funds - an unfavorable condition for carry.

What is the DailyFX Volatility Index:

The DailyFX Volatility Index measures the general level of volatility in the currency market. The index is a composite of the implied volatility in options underlying a basket of currencies. Our basket is equally weighed and composed of some of the most liquid currency pairs in the Foreign exchange market.

In reading this graph, whenever the DailyFX Volatility Index rises, it suggests traders expect the currency market to be more active in the coming days and weeks. Since carry trades underperform when volatility is high (due to the threat of capital losses that may overwhelm carry income), a rise in volatility is unfavorable for the strategy.

Currency Market Bull Trend Stalling as Growth Forecast and Financial Stability Lose Traction

High volatility has carried over from last week owing largely to low levels of liquidity that amplify intraday market swings. However, despite the high level of activity in the market, direction is still a missing vital component of the long-term bull trend that investors have steadily funded since the reversal in risk appetite back in March. Once again, the question of whether the past six months have represented a genuine bull market or merely a bear market retracement is being posed.

• Currency Market Bull Trend Stalling as Growth Forecast and Financial Stability Loose Traction

• Will Bullish Speculation Relent to a more Bearish Fundamental Outlook?

• Fed Ruling May Test Investors Confidence in Market Stability

High volatility has carried over from last week owing largely to low levels of liquidity that amplify intraday market swings. However, despite the high level of activity in the market, direction is still a missing vital component of the long-term bull trend that investors have steadily funded since the reversal in risk appetite back in March. Once again, the question of whether the past six months have represented a genuine bull market or merely a bear market retracement is being posed. Eventually, genuine fundamentals and the sedate forecasts they project will have to be reconciled with the steady rise in investor sentiment; and at these levels it is increasingly clear which is growing overextended. Most capital markets have shown an unbroken, bullish bias that has retraced a significant portion of the unprecedented losses through the 2007-2008 financial crisis. For the popular equities market, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced nearly 50 percent from its lows in the first quarter. What’s more, the index has risen for every one of the last eight sessions. Yet, thanks to easily compiled volume data, we can see that the conviction behind this move has become severely taxed. Not only has the general investment in this market cycle started to deteriorate since it began; but the weekly average has fallen to its lowest levels for the year. For the FX market, the progress of risk appetite is reflected in the performance of high potential currencies against those that are stationary or deteriorating (as measured by yield). Both the dollar and Japanese yen have developed relative levels of support over the past weeks against counterparts like the euro, Australian and New Zealand dollar.

While congestion has become a common sight across the markets, it is clear that the general bias is still positive. Speculative interests are well supported – especially with a considerable portion of the market’s investable capital still held in relatively ‘risk-free’ securities like Treasuries and money market accounts. Nonetheless, the influx of capital cannot be sustained on capital appreciation alone. Eventually, the profit potential in investing in an oversold market will dry up as demand for return quickly overwhelms the yield that the global markets can support. Just when will this shift happen is a matter of significant debate. Policy officials have carefully articulated their forecasts for growth by suggesting an initial recovery from the worst recession since WWII will be followed by a period of weak expansion. Naturally, this is not the type of markets that wealth and yields grow in. What we await now is a catalyst to align the markets to fundamentals. The most immediate threat is the recent ruling by a US court that the Federal Reserve must release the details it has on hand of its emergency lending programs (with names and amounts) by August 31st. While this ruling can be appealed and delayed; it could still unsettle confidence in the credit markets and fuel fears of another wave of runs on banks (the kind that led to the collapse of Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers). Even if this threat never materializes, there are still many other active hazards. Recently, the FDIC reported the number of troubled banks rose to a 15-year high 416. The market cannot support issues like this for very long.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Closing Position with a Loss:

If the sell price had moved in the opposite direction you would have realized a gross loss.

Closing Position with a Profit:

After two days, gold price rises to 835.70 at which point you decide to sell the underlying contracts.

Trading Commodities Example:

FX Solutions quotes gold at 829.60/830.10 and you believe that gold will rise. Below is an example of how your investment in CFD commodities may look:

Opening Position:

Closing Position with a Loss

If the sell price had moved in the opposite direction you would have realized a gross loss.

Closing Position with a Profit:

After two days, the US SP 500 price rises to 1275.6 at which point you decide to sell the underlying contracts.

Trading Indices Example:

FX Solutions quotes the US SP 500 at 1270.5/1271.1 and you believe the US SP 500 will rise. Below is an example of how your investment in CFD Indices may look:

Opening Position:

Closing Position with a Loss

If the buy price had moved in the opposite direction you would have realized a gross loss.

Closing Position with a Profit:

After two days the USD/JPY buy price decreases 100 pips to 108.47/108.50 at which point you decide to buy the currency pair back.

Trading Foreign Currency Example:

USD/JPY is trading at (sell/buy) 109.47/109.50. You believe that the USD is trending downward, so you will sell the pair at 109.47.

Opening Position:

Trading Examples

Take advantage of market movements by trading Forex and CFDs. Trading Forex and/or CFDs enables you to receive most of the benefits of owning a security without taking physical ownership of the underlying security. Any difference in the price between the time you buy the underlying security and the time you sell is settled in cash. The difference is your profit or loss.....

Trade Forex with FX Solutions

FX Solutions was founded to provide individual foreign exchange traders with the same professional liquidity, execution, and trading functionality demanded by interbank traders. Our proprietary price discovery and risk management technologies offer individual traders liquidity, consistency, and execution stability in the fast-growing category of Forex.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FirePips Journal + Free Forex Signals

I've been trading for more than 5 years and what I've experienced is that any indicator based system eventually fails. All technical indicators lags, which means that when it gives you a buy signals , the major players (Bank and Institutional Traders) are already in that trade. By the time you or other retail traders enter that trade it is already too late and Bank traders already start to liquidate their positions. Money from your account flows right into their account and you end up cursing the market for cheating you out of that trade.

So how come these Bank traders get in early. Well first of all they don't use indicators for trade signals. They use Price Action based systems which simply rely on price movements. Second they get internal reports on where retail traders are sitting and where they have their Stop Loss and Take Profit set up. Hence
they are able to get in first and by the time retail trades get in they are ready to get out and take your money away. They do this day in and day out and make tons of money for banks and hedge funds.

You may then ask how all the popular websites and broker's internal studies consist of indicators like MACD, RSI, Moving Averages etc. The way a retail trader would look at it is to how these indicators would help generating new signals but the way professional traders use them is different. They use these indicators
to confirm their entries for trades that they already in. This again puts them in front and retail traders keep thinking why market reverses as soon they enter a trade.

To put this into perspective
let me give you an example. Lets say you use RSI and noticed that GBP/USD has reached oversold area in your preferred time frame and you start to look for long trade. But as you all know that a pair can stay in oversold or overbought area for a period of time, so you decide to wait until it starts to go up. Price then starts to rally but at this stage you may think about another indicator, say MACD, to tell you if the price will keep going up. As price rally even further you still wait for the MACD to cross above 0 and then enter long trade.When you bought GBP/USD guess who sold it to you, the Bank traders who were pushing the prices up in the first place. After getting stopped out for few times you may think that you need a filter and that may help you from entering such trades. So you add Moving Averages and wait for their crossover, entering even further late into the rally. You may as well flip the coin and it would have similar probability of a profitable trade.

Your Indicator based system would only work if majority of the market participants are looking at the same indicators with same settings and same time frame. Remember that
indicators don't predict prices, they only tell you what has already happened. How can you then rely on any indicator to enter trades?

Next thing you may ask is do I know all this. Well I never worked for Bank or a Hedge Fund. But what I've done is to
study the Price Action for years for more than 12 hours a day. This gave me an understanding of how price moves and when to expect certain movements that are incredibly profitable. On the top I've read more than 110 books on Technical and Fundamental Analysis and Trading Psychology.

The way I trade is by letting the price tell me what it wants to do. On the days when market is moving sideways I stay out. When it start to trend in either direction of longer trend on against it, I look for trades and enter in that direction. I wait for price to tell me which direction it wants to go then wait for pullback to take place. I can pinpoint where the price would pull back to and then enter my trades there. Ever heard of
"Buy on Dips and Sell on Rallies"? Well the old cliché is true.

Last week I took 26 trades out of which 20 were winners, a winning percentage of 77%.
Total 741 pips in one week. I challenge you to find any indicator based system to match such profits.

I've done this for a while now and now ready to share these signals with other trades. You may ask why? Well let me be upfront and explain why I am doing this. My goal is start a hedge fund in 7-10 years from now and giving my signals away for free would help me
make friends and develop relationships with other traders. Forums are a great place to meet like minded people and I would be delighted to share my experience with others and also learn something in return.

I'll start sending signals from Mon next week. I'll post more on how to use the signals and what Money Management to follow.

General Forex

Earning huge profits in long run is not a easy task in Forex. Many people lose tons of money in this trading system. Foreign markets are very volatile. Therefore people engaged in this trading system should be very alert and updated with the market movements. Being an active trader, I am suggesting some profit mantras which I gained by my own experience.

Profit Mantras

1. Knowledge is must: good knowledge is very essential before trading. Understanding of subject, terminology, financial market behavior, current trends, foreign news are must for the trader.
2. Knowing currencies well: currencies are traded in pairs. So it is very important to understand the impact and relationship among both the currencies.
3. Risk Management: take risk only when you are prepared. Risk and return are the two sides of coins. Better management of risk will fetch better results.
4. Read, learn and trust trend charts: gaining information and following trend charts can help the trader to earn huge profit. It is always advisable to stick with the trends as the currencies mostly follow a similar pattern with minor fluctuations.
5. Deal in common pairs of currency: for a beginner it is always safe to trade in common currencies as the proper information is available. Uncommon currencies are very volatile and sometimes do not follow the past trends.
6. Learn from the past experiences: always try not to repeat the same mistake and remember the mistakes done in past. Experience will make trader confident and will help him to understand market well.
7. Avoid unknown Forex trading strategies: trader should not involve in these strategies which he does not understand.

Thus, there is no full proof strategy to stop loses but by following the above mantras trader can certainly avoid some of the loss.

FOREX Autopilot

As the name suggests, FOREX Autopilot is a software application that does FOREX trading in an automated manner.

The program has automated trading bots in a software format, which you install on your computer. You have to do nothing more than this installation but to keep your PC on. You will find that these trading bots will handle all the FOREX transactions for you all through the night and in the morning, you see that you have a swollen account!

Naturally, there is much criticism whether such a thing really works but FOREX Autopilot is genuine software released by Marcus Leary, a FOREX expert who also has innate Internet marketing knowledge

Quick And Easy FOREX Tips

The green buck has been working people around its little finger. In the Phillipines for example, millions of Filipinos become OFW’s or overseas Filipino workers in the hope of earning dollars to bring home to the family.

The United States is a superpower with a superpower currency to boot! Its currency, the US Dollar, is clamored in every place around the world. Even in a hole-in-the-wall money exchange stop, the US Dollar seeks a place in the pedestal of cross rates bulletins.

But for smart FOREX traders, they know that the US Dollar is not the only currency where money is power. They have learned how to delve into the Japanese Yen and the European Euro among others. Basically, if one is going to be engage in FOREX trading, better try out the other currency samples and widen one’s currency portfolio. The US Dollar will not always be the darling of the world’s central banks. [As can be seen right now, where the US presidential elections is especially affecting the value of the green buck.]

However, for first-time FOREX traders, trading US Dollars with the local currency is probably a safe way to start. After all, the local currency is needed for one’s everyday transactions; and the US Dollar is still strong relatively (most probably) to the local currency. [Unless the trading rate is already 1:1.]

The most important piece of information for all FOREX traders is the local currency cross rate. A simple usage of the cross rate is one can compare the value of a currency from let’s say, last month’s to this month’s rate. One can see how much local currency one has earned for every 1 USD as to, for example, the Canadian Dollar.

In this way, one can know which currency is worth putting one’s money into. Remember, the US Dollar is not always the darling of the central banks. There are other currencies that offer better value for the local currency.

According to Citibank, this is the simplest way to leverage against the impending depreciation of the US Dollar. Be aware of how other currencies are performing!

But, before diving into FOREX trading, here is, in my own opinion, the number one tip one should first adhere to—

Have a system.

Whatever happens, a personal trading system will greatly help in making fast decisions. Although the market is relatively steady, a personal system will prevent the trader from making rash decisions. In this very fast market, there should be no space left for blaming. Like “I should have done this or that”.

To have a specific system, a suggestion merely—better invest in a FOREX training ground first. That’s step one for the first-time trader. Or at least read everything about FOREX trading. Education is the key and then the strategies and systems and ultimately, the big bucks, will follow.


24-hour trading

Compared to stocks, FOREX trading is twenty-fours. A FOREX trader can trade right away once they spot an opportunity to buy low and sell high. Remember, money has time value. And a lot of factors in the economics and politics of a government affect how low a currency will drop or how high a currency will gain. It is fairly easy to say buy low and sell high. But the trick is to know when to do it. With twenty-four trading, the FOREX trader has the ultimate advantage already. Since, after all, time is money.

High liquidity

A market or business is considered very liquid if the assets involved can enable the person to directly meet his payment obligations. In other words, if cash is at hand—immediately. What is a more liquid market than the FOREX market?

FOREX has high liquidity, because it can be traded swiftly, without considerable loss of value, and anytime within the trading hours or in FOREX trading’s case—24/7.

No commission

FOREX trading need not have brokers in between to facilitate. With other forms of money market ventures and stock trading, brokers come in handy; because they are able to handle varied forms of portfolios and company stocks for the investor. Even if FOREX trading is involved with multiple currencies, it is a very direct business where the trader himself can act on his own; thus no commissions are leaked out and all profits are kept!

Steady market availability

In all businesses, businessmen strive for a steady market, if not an increasing one. Why spend time in a trading scene when it is short-term?

Because FOREX trading is all about the buying and selling of currencies, it is a continuously moving market. Money make the world go round, as the cliché goes.

The market will always be there. The trader only has to be aware of the rising and falling of the currencies. When is the currency starting to be weak? When is it going strong? Is there a trend?

Taking action

This benefits and advantages all the more make FOREX trading a very attractive business venture. For first time FOREX traders, why not inquire now at your home bank on how to start making your money work for you? FOREX trading is the way to go.

FOREX Secrets

How did the taipans and billionaires get so filthy rich?!

Besides the more obvious hard work and diligence and always saving little by little in their piggy banks, the really rich guys know how to work up the foreign exchange.

Basically, foreign exchange trading or simply FOREX trading is just the buying and selling of the world’s currencies. Money today is not the same as money tomorrow. Money has time value. The worth of a currency can go up or down.

There is one secret that FOREX traders live by. And it is buy low, sell high. Don’t ever forget that rule.

However, the trick is to know when to buy and when to sell. In FOREX trading, everything is by speculation. Sure, there are graphs to aid decisions. Business pages also give out strategies for the day. But the next step is always a guess based from the previous actions.

FOREX traders like to call their speculations as smart guesses. Usually, patterns on the currency values can be derived from how the politics of a specific country is running.

For example, if there is a plan to oust the president, most probably the value of that country’s currency will go down—how low, we don’t know. Usually. Because there are still a lot of factors to consider why a currency is going strong or not.

Improvement on the tourism sector can mean more foreign investments. This will be good for a particular currency, but this may affect how the other countries are doing.

These are just trade scenarios. As the cliché goes, one man’s medicine may be another man’s poison. One country’s good tidings may be another country’s, well, downfall.

That is why in FOREX trading, another secret to live by is to be aware of the national news in the country concerned.

Current events have a say on the economics of a country. Money makes the world go round, so to speak.

But, if one is truly serious in earning their first million in FOREX trading, another secret is—it might be a good idea to invest in a FOREX trading training school. Learn from the pros and conquer the world afterwards.

Let me leave you one last secret I learned from my father. If everyone is going in this direction, go the other way. This applies to FOREX and other areas of life. You won’t ever get rich by following the crowd.

Besides buying low and selling high, follow that last secret and you might just join the ranks of the taipans and billionaires.


I MISS "U" ...........