Johnson Appeal Highlights “Ever-Shifting, Imprecise and Contradictory” Government Argument

The defence team conducting former HSBC FX trading head Mark Johnson’s appeal against his conviction in late 2017 have filed their appeal brief to the US Court of Appeal, in which they argue that the US Government’s brief offers, “…the latest flavour of the prosecution’s many ever-shifting, imprecise, and contradictory attempts to explain just what, exactly, the crime here was, and it exposes why there was none.” It highlights a series of new arguments put forward by the Government that were not heard by the jury, as well as a series of back tracks by the prosecution side.
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Survey Highlights Need for Users to Rewrite Libor-Based Contracts

A survey of more than 100 firms associated with the derivatives markets and conducted by JCRA, an independent financial risk management consultancy, along with law firm Travers Smith, has found that a large majority of firms with exposure to Libor are yet to start making preparations for its discontinuation. The benchmark is set to be withdrawn in 2021, but the firms say that most of those surveyed have not started negotiating replacement language in their contracts that reference the outgoing benchmark.
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Central Banks Remain Cautious on Digital Currencies: BIS

A survey of central banks by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) finds that while a majority are collaboratively looking at the implications of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), indeed many have reached the stage of considering practical issues, they are proceeding cautiously with few reporting plans to actually issue a digital currency in the short or medium term. The survey had 63 respondents, which the BIS says represents around 80% of the world’s population, and asked about central banks’ current work on CBDCs, what motivates that work, and how likely their issuance of a CBDC is.
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And Finally…

And so, with the usual mixture of celebration and regret, we arrive at the final Accolade of 2018 – my FX Person of the Year. Obviously last year was a little controversial as I awarded it to an anonymous person (although I think I know the identity of the person concerned) and, you will be pleased to hear, this year is little different. There was a reasonable field this year, although perhaps not quite up to the standards of previous years.
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ISDA Confirms Benchmark Fallback Results

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published a report summarising the final results of a consultation on technical issues related to new benchmark fallbacks for derivatives contracts that reference certain interbank offered rates (IBORs). The report, Anonymized Narrative Summary of Responses to the ISDA Consultation on Term Fixings and Spread Adjustment Methodologies, was prepared for ISDA by The Brattle Group and confirms the preliminary findings published by ISDA at the end of November. The consultation, which was launched in July, covered the proposed methodologies for certain adjustments that would apply to the fallback rate in the event an IBOR is permanently discontinued.
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Backstop to Acquire BarclayHedge

Backstop Solutions Group, a cloud-based CRM provider for institutional and alternative investors, is set to acquire BarclayHedge, which produces alternative investment data and indices. In a release issued today, BackStop says that adding BarclayHedge to its portfolio of acquired companies represents a significant step in its long-term vision of a productivity suite for institutional and alternative investors. “With proprietary access to the 2,200 alternative investment managers and 6,900 funds tracked by BarclayHedge, Backstop will be able to offer institutional clients a unique combination of technology, tools, services and data to help optimise their research management and due diligence workflows. Alternative asset managers who currently report to BarclayHedge will also benefit by having their exposure to asset owners potentially triple when the client communities of both Backstop and BarclayHedge are combined,” it says in the release.
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And Finally…

A few weeks ago I invited readers to vote for their own Irrational – the best socks worn by a speaker at a Profit & Loss conference this year, and the votes are in! Obviously the wearers of the socks are anonymous (although I am pretty sure I know who was wearing the winners!) but the readership had little doubt as to which pair should carry home the cash (there is no cash course!) with more than 50% voting for the cats.
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CLS Activity Flat on Year, Down on the Month

CLS says it handled settlement instructions to the notional value of $1.68 trillion in November, up very slightly from the $1.677 trillion in November 2017 and down from $1.71 trillion in October. This represents a 1.7% drop on a month-on-month basis and is largely in line with data reported earlier by various FX platforms. Activity in outright forwards was actually up at $97 billion in November, this is a healthy 24.4% increase from October and 9% up year-on-year. Elsewhere, FX swap activity was $1.128 trillion, down 2.8% month-on-month and down 1.8% year-on-year’ and spot volumes were $455 billion, down 3.4% from October, but up 3.6% year-on-year.
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Capitolis Joins FXPA

The Foreign Exchange Professionals Association (FXPA) has announced the addition of Capitolis as the newest associate level member of the FX trade group. “The changing market landscape and regulations are forcing all of us to think differently around the future structure of the market,” says Gil Mandelzis, CEO and founder of Capitolis. “Capitolis is responding to those changes by finding new ways of connecting capital with the best collaborative solutions to clients all over the world. We are pleased to support the FXPA in their efforts to benefit the industry and the wider public by promoting better standards and practices in accordance with their mission to foster a healthy global FX market.” John Shay, president of FXPA, adds, “We are thrilled to welcome Capitolis to our ranks at FXPA, as Gil and team represent another vibrant, innovative and potentially disruptive solution to the global FX space that our membership community is well positioned to embrace.”
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And Another Thing…

So already in early December I've had enough and think it's about time the readership did some work, so today is all about you - the readers - making a choice. These awards are called the Irrationals and today...well it's truly irrational! Throughout our conference series this year, our editor-in-chief Julie Ros has made herself busy taking pictures of speakers socks (yes, I know, but what can I say?). Anyway, we thought it would be fun to have you decide who wore the best socks this year - and of course into the bargain we hope to ratchet up the competition levels for next year's conference series.
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