This article was written by Eddie Tofpik who is the Head of Foreign Exchange at ADM Investor Services International Ltd. In the next QIR you will be able to read the full version of the detailed notes taken by Eddie at the London Summit. We present you here with a brief taster…
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Finance Magnates London Summit (FMLS). Finance Magnates is the renaming of the former Forex Magnates, the name change reflecting the greater diversity the Forex diaspora has produced.
It is a great event with many international participants in the FX market and with a chance to meet, listen and learn about current and future political, economic, technical and financial situations specifically affecting the FX market.
FMLS has stayed true to the Forex market, but has also added Fintech companies, card payment operations, public relations and even a guest spot for a Facebook presentation on trading and marketing related matters.
So…these are my personal recollections and I hope in the following segments to give you a taste of the event through my eyes – a feeling as if you were there yourself.
I can’t begin to emphasise how well I saw it received (with one minor exception). The organisers had moved the location about a mile north from the original site at The Grange Hotel to The Brewery Conference Centre. This is a move that I welcomed, as last year it was evident from the number of people attending and the poor air-conditioning that FMLC was too big for that venue.
Speaking to the organisers, I understood that about 1600 people were registered to attend – assuming say a 20% drop out, then some 1200 – 1300 attending would be pushing the limits, even for The Brewery. All this with the backdrop of hits companies had taken following the SNBomb in January…it was quite amazing.
I always note upon entering (apart from the numbers) where participants and firms originated from. Obviously there were a lot of UK and Europeans, but there were fewer Cypriots than in the past. There appeared to be more from the U.S. and China, plus a significant new showing from African companies. Israelis were again in good evidence, mainly tech and service companies, but there appeared to be fewer from Asian countries outside of China- notably Japan and the Indian sub-continent.
Finally, my Compliance Director would like you to know that these are my personal recollections and not those of any part of ADM!
THE FX RIGGING SCANDAL A YEAR AFTER: LESSON LEARNED?
The opening panel session was a timely & fundamental one. It was chaired by Adil Siddiqui of Finance Magnates along with Stephen Leahy (COO of FXPrimus), Peggy Reed (SVP at Ayondo), David Woolcock (ACI-UK) and Gil Nelhous (CEO of Fluent Trade Technologies).
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Adil asked the panel the simple question – what happened?
David answered that it was a Sunday lunchtime when he first got a call that groups of traders had manipulated the FX market. The crisis grew…investigations started. Since then the Bank of England (BOE) review has been set up and the market is moving to a single Model Code base which will likely be finalised in May 2017. Stephen said it was ‘…easy to grab headlines in the media…’ and Peggy added that the BOE had heard of this as early as 2007 – 2008 but had ‘…decided to sleep on it.’
Adil next asked how negative was this all to the FX market.
Peggy responded that over her thirty years in the markets she had seen a fall in how front office staff come through from the back office, learning there how to take care of customers. Back then, ‘…you had to police yourself…’. Gil pointed out that budgets at banks had been spent on trading systems – not on risk systems – and those that had been were related to execution. He saw less human involvement in the future and that all will benefit from the ongoing changes – ‘…regulatory reforms are ‘gold’ and will benefit all the market.’
Adil then followed up by asking if new technology had actually helped in the rigging, for example – chatrooms?
Peggy said incredulously that it made no sense to think you could get away with it! David brought up something close to my heart – the use of Last Look! He found it amazing how much not only banks but also customers liked it. Banks and other liquidity providers must be transparent as to the type of liquidity they provide. However, Stephen pointed out that a move to No Last Look is in his eyes a move to an exchange environment. Doesn’t this limit relationships? Gil added that a common technology could reduce risks. On Last Look – he saw banks looking to reduce such risks, they were now spending more money on risk than execution. Peggy added that for many years the clients had been more sophisticated than the banks.
Then there were the questions from the audience for the panel.
This is a taster of the full article, which will be published in the next Finance Magnates Quarterly Report. In the meantime, you can watch the panel discussion here.