And Finally…(literally)

At one stage I did plan to make this more humorous by expressing my support for extended last look times, the re-cycling of liquidity, the increased blurring of lines between retail and institutional and, of course, a shorter Fix window – all as part of what would be the world’s most misleading job application. I can’t – today is too sad.

I suppose the timing is appropriate in some ways – the very day we have to shut our doors at P&L, Mark Johnson’s bid to have his case reheard and (hopefully) conviction overturned, goes before the US Supreme Court. This has been a regular theme of this column and all I can do is wish him well.

Equally, the rumour mill is running amok with whispers of State Street being close to a sale of Currenex – this has been, for several years now, another staple of the industry. It would be ironic I suppose if, after dismissing it so many times, it actually goes through when I can’t comment upon it!

Almost 20 years ago I honestly thought I was done with foreign exchange. My hunger for a trading job had diminished (and in a rare instance of foresight I saw the machine taking over my role) and I was casting around for something to do. Julie Ros saw something in me (mostly the inability to shut up it has to be said) and in taking a punt on me, gave me, literally, a new lease of life in this industry.

I found a world in which I was able to continue talking with friends and acquaintances with whom I had built up such a good relationship over the years, but also one in which so many new connections awaited. I have learnt an enormous amount about this great industry – the biggest eye opener for this ex-spot trader who thought he knew it all was discovering so much about the market structure than underpins that trading function, and for that I have to thank to hundreds, probably thousands of people who have, over the years taken time to show me what they were doing and to discuss ideas with me.

At the start of 2008, we decided – I can’t remember who, when or where – that I should write a column in which I was able to express my opinion on frankly whatever I wanted. Again I am indebted to Julie for her support, I know it gave her a few sleepless nights wondering what I would come up with and who I would upset next!

I have deliberately, and for obvious reasons, made this an “And Finally…” column, because that was where it all started and when I really started to fully engage on some of the more controversial aspects of the FX industry. Last Monday was the 600th “And Finally…” and there have been 438 “And Another Thing…” columns, so I am well over the thousand mark and that is thanks to you, the readers. Again, hundreds, probably thousands, of you have engaged with me over the years about the content – obviously I can’t name you (as always, ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour”) but you know who you are so I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I can honestly say the responses to these columns has been a driving force for me and ensured that my already enthusiastic participation in all things FX was notched up a little higher. I know there are many out there whom I have upset or angered with my views – as regular readers will expect, I do not apologise for that in any way. The intent of the column has always been to raise awareness and provoke discussion around the important issues facing the industry. More than anyone else, I know I haven’t always been right, but the opinions were – are – always given honestly. The columns’ core principle remains, “sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always certain!”

So today, for me, is about people. I can only endorse Julie’s comments about our great staff and would recommend them to any prospective employer – they are smart, innovative, hard-working and dedicated. I also want to thank those that I have worked with and who are no longer at P&L – they have all been a part of the journey that is now, sadly, coming to an end.

Overall though I have a feeling of privilege. It has been a genuine privilege to engage with so many of you in the FX industry both editorially and at our conferences – and it is fitting that I enjoyed our last session in this week’s Singapore virtual conference so much – they’ve all (mostly!) been fun.

As was the case in 2001, I have no idea what awaits me, but I sincerely hope it is in this industry (this is what the Tabloid Press would call a “come and get me plea”!), there is still much to be discussed and analysed and I very much want to be a part of that process on whatever basis works best.

So, if you know anyone who needs some writing, editing, analysis or even arguing done, send them my way (as my predictions on our podcast highlight, I’m probably too rusty on the trading front!), email details are at the bottom as always.

I hope this is au revoir rather than goodbye, but if it is the latter…thank you all – it has been an honour and a privilege to have engaged with, and for, you.

colinlambert@me.com

Colin Lambert

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