It has obviously been a quieter week in the markets with the world’s largest centre – the UK – offline, so I thought I would satisfy the curiosity of those who have been kind enough to enquire how I went in the “big debate” as one correspondent put it, at Forex Network New York.
First of all, I ought to say, I can’t believe you didn’t make it to Forex Network New York, but I guess distance and the price of an air ticket gives some of you (only some) an excuse. As it was the event attracted, I believe, the highest attendance yet for FXN New York, which is great, and there were actually people standing at the back of the room whilst James Sinclair from MarketFactory and I argued the relative merits of fragmentation and scale in the modern foreign exchange market.
I would suggest that the fact that people were standing at the back highlights that there is still a market for blood sports, which is food for thought for the anti-hunting community in the UK especially, and given how James hunted me down, I now have some sympathy with foxes.
On a slightly more serious note, and without wishing to give too much away – too many of our ideas (locations, format, speakers etc) seem to be re-packaged by other organisations in the conference space – I found the 30 minute debate hugely stimulating. James, as I expected, came armed with a bank of statistics to back his arguments up. I, equally to be expected, scrambled around for one statistic at the last moment, only to see him shoot it down.
The fact that the debate was held “presidential style” appeared to go down well with the audience that I spoke to later, although a few were confused as to where the Fox or CNN moderator was during the process! It was an interesting experience to debate, for it is not something either of us is used to and I would like to think we achieved our aim of having a spirited debate over these two issues whilst retaining a respect for the other’s position.
Of course, you are all wondering about the result. We did call for a vote at the end and it was close…in absolutely no way. I have to confess my argument that further fragmentation was unlikely to be successful was undermined by the announcement of two new platforms during the previous two weeks (thanks FX Spotstream and traFXpure!), as well as by the mistake of arguing that the barriers to entry were high, when I should have been arguing the barriers to success were high!
I felt I gave a better fight on the subject of scale. Although James was a more than worthy opponent who batted off most of my arguments, I feel I got some to stick.
All-in-all a very enjoyable experience and it was nice to hear from members of the audience that they enjoyed it as well (please let me know if you have an opinion). My profound thanks go, of course, to James for agreeing to join me on stage.
The result of the audience vote was heavily in favour of further fragmentation, so James won that one. The vote on scale was much closer, but also in my opponent’s favour. However in the true spirit of democracy (and Stalin) I am ignoring all that and declaring myself the winner. Thank you very much.
If you would like to shoot me down in flames – you have a tough act to follow – please let me know. We may re-visit the idea for our future conferences.