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OTC Reform Pre-empts Expected Exchange Invasion Data from the Bank for International Settlements show financial reform has not led to a greater proportion of derivatives trading on exchanges. Colin Lambert finds out why. As the world’s regulators, led by a very aggressive Gary Gensler-led Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), sought to reform financial markets post-global financial crisis, the outcome seemed at the time to be the inevitable growth of trading on exchanges. “The world is moving to Chicago” was used as an analogy to express this sentiment – that city being closely associated with the exchange model of course.
Hybrid FX Options Trading: Best of Both Worlds? In August, Tullett Prebon announced a partnership with GMEX group to develop a hybrid voice and electronic trading platform for trading FX options. But what are the drivers behind such a deal and can it really give Tullett an edge in today’s electronically traded markets? Nicola Tavendale writes. Despite a 24% decline in average daily turnover since 2013, global trading volumes in FX options remain significant at $254 billion, according to the most recent Bank for International Settlements (BIS) survey.
Thinking Big Carlo Koelzer, CEO of 360T Group and global head of FX at Deutsche Börse Group, talks to Galen Stops about the importance of building critical mass amidst the changing landscape of the FX market. Galen Stops: It’s now about one year on from Deutsche Börse’s acquisition of 360T. Can you shed some light about why you agreed to the deal? Carlo Koelzer: Prior to this deal we were a big trading platform in the market, but a small organisation in comparison to our competitors. When you look at the larger platforms in the market they’re backed by firms like Icap, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and State Street, all of whom had larger balance sheets than us.
Is Blockchain Technology Really Safe? As more financial services firms look for ways to utilise blockchain technology within their infrastructures, Galen Stops examines whether the technology is really as safe as advocates claim, following two high-profile hacks earlier this year. “Cyber and system security is one of the most important issues facing markets today in terms of integrity and financial stability,” said Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on September 8, when approving system safeguard requirements for derivatives clearing organisations. Giancarlo is hardly alone in his concerns.
Now You See It... Understanding Sterling’s Flash Crash On October 7, Cable flash crashed in early Asian trading, leading to chaos in the market and an official investigation into events surrounding the move. Colin Lambert takes a look at what happened. A few minutes into October 7 UK time, at 12.07.03am to where there are grounds to believe that the transaction is be precise, Cable traded through 1.2600 having fallen 30 points in the previous minute. Just 23 seconds later it traded below 1.2200 and 45 seconds later it had traded at 1.1378 on one platform. Just two minutes later the market was trading back above 1.2100 and just 10 minutes after the initial move, Cable was trading above 1.2400. The market had “flash crashed”.
An Incomplete Picture: Spotting the Spoofer in FX The incarceration of a trader convicted of spoofing has heightened awareness of the practice, but how hard is it to spot and how prevalent is it in FX? Colin Lambert investigates. “You have to be pretty desperate to resort to spoofing markets – especially on exchanges where it’s nigh on impossible to shield your activities,” argues a senior electronic trader in London. “Even in OTC markets it’s not easy to get away with given the MIS capabilities of firms today.”
Compression Comes to FX As leverage requirements make FX exposures a bigger pain point for the banks, many are looking towards compression services to solve for this. Galen Stops looks at how these services work and what they could mean for the industry. One of the responses by global regulatory bodies to the 2008 financial crisis was to require banks to hold more capital against their financial exposures, creating a bigger buffer to protect them against adverse market conditions. Capital constraints have widely been cited as a reason for declining activity in some markets and liquidity events in other, therefore it is not surprising that compression services, whereby offsetting trades are netted off against one another to reduce the notional amount on banks’ balance sheets, have found favour amongst banks and major dealers.
Who Are The Potential Buyers of Nex? There was a fair amount of chatter about the future of Icap (soon to become ‘Nex’) at the recent Profit & Loss Forex Network Chicago conference, with much of it centering around likely purchasers of the company once it sells its global wholesale broking and information business (IGBB) to Tullett Prebon. “The other broader question hanging around the firm as it transitions into Nex is whether [CEO Michael] Spencer is priming the new entity for a sale,” Profit & Loss noted in an article published prior to the conference last month. It seems that many of the attendees of Forex Network Chicago had, in their own minds at least, decided that the answer to this question was that the firm is indeed up for sale. The speculation then turned to who would be interested and able to buy the firm.
Have Buy Side Firms Been Asleep at the Wheel? In recent years the sell side has justifiably been criticised for its behaviour in the FX market. But should regulators and market participants be taking a closer look at how the buy side operates in this market? Galen Stops reports. The FX industry has been rocked by a number of scandals in recent years and in many cases the implications of these scandals is only now coming home to roost. Two of the largest custodian banks in the world, BNY Mellon and State Street, have agreed $714 million and $530 million settlements, respectively, related to allegations they systematically set disadvantageous rates for their customers in contrast to their claims to be achieving best execution for them.
FX Trader Arrest: Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $8m Two UK-based FX traders have been charged with wire fraud by the US Department of Justice, one of which has been arrested in New York. Galen Stops reports on the case. On July 19, Mark Johnson, the head of global FX cash trading at HSBC, was arrested at New York’s JFK airport in connection with an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) into currency rigging. Two days later, the DoJ officially brought charges against Johnson and Stuart Scott, former head of FX cash trading for EMEA at HSBC, for wire fraud.