FXCM (NYSE:FXCM), a New York-based forex broker, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. The company raised about $211 million from its initial public offering (IPO) of 15,060,000 shares, priced at $14 per share -- the company now has a total market value of about $1 billion.

As of 11:17 a.m. EDT, its shares are trading at $15.02, or up 7.29 percent.

FXCM, or Forex Capital Markets, is a forex broker and the owner of forex website DailyFX.com. As of third quarter 2010, it had over 174,000 tradeable accounts from over 180 countries and executes about 6,700,000 trades each month.

The global forex, or foreign exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world with turnover of almost $4-trillion per day. Big banks dominate this market and their clients include corporations, governments, and hedge funds.

So-called retail forex brokers allow investors and traders to make transactions and participate in this market. Their customers are typically individuals, but smaller institutions also use brokers like FXCM instead of big banks.

FXCM is arguably the largest [retail forex broker] in the world in terms of volume, according to Forex Magnates.

Some of its major competitors include OANDA, Saxo Bank, CMS Forex, and Gain Capital (owner of Forex.com), which is planning for its own IPO.

According to figures from the Wall Street Journal, Gain Capital's IPO would make it valued at roughly half the market capitalization of FXCM.

FXCM revenues totalled $322.7 million for 2009 and $264.2 million for the first three quarters of 2010.  Since 2001, revenues have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 55 percent and income has climbed at a rate of 43.8 percent.

FXCM has been named to Inc. 500's list of America's Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ:IBKR), a broker for forex and other financial products, had $735.8 million revenues in the first three quarters of 2010 and is currently valued at $760 million.

Etrade (NASDAD:ETFC), another broker, had revenues of $1.56 billion in the first three quarters of 2010 and is currently valued at $3.37 billion.