LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Denmark's Saxo Bank has launched a new social trading platform, becoming the first big financial institution to throw its weight behind social media-style investing.
Social trading allows users to see and copy the trades of top-ranked rivals, follow their favourite traders, swap ideas and gauge the market mood through an online network.
The concept has already gained traction, particularly among foreign-exchange traders, on sites such as eToro and Tradeo.
Saxo Bank's TradingFloor.com makes trading as easy as buying a book from Amazon, said Rune Bech, the bank's global head of digital media.
The pool of knowledge available to users could also help to improve performance, as well as combat the loneliness often felt by online investors, Bech added.
The platform is designed for serious private investors trading with their own money, but it can also be used by those wishing simply to follow financial markets.
The site, which is still in its testing phase, encourages usrs to share information, tips and strategies publicly and does not have a traditional chatroom function.
Chatrooms in which traders at different banks communicate electronically have been a focus for regulators investigating manipulation of the Libor and Euribor benchmark interest rates and possible rigging in the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market.
Saxo's multi-asset platform offers trading in foreign exchange, contracts for difference, options, futures, bonds and equities. There is no subscription fee, but the bank earns a fee for each trade processed through the site.
The Copenhagen-based bank's founders, Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen, said they want the site to make financial trading easily accessible to all and serve those who do not wish to engage with salespeople at banks.
"We want to set free the peer-to-peer power of traders around the globe," they said in a joint statement. (For more information, click here: www.beta.tradingfloor.com)
(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by David Goodman)