Articles tagged by Conduct
The Financial Markets Standards Board
(FMSB), established in the wake of last years Fair and Effective Markets review
(FEMR) process in the UK, has published its first draft standard aimed at
improving conduct in FICC markets.
The FMSB’s work ...
Alongside last week’s publication of an update
on the Fair and Effective Markets Review (FEMR), the UK’s Financial Conduct
Authority (FCA) has separately published a progress report on its own FX
The programme, which was launched
Where to start? Well I will get to those industry “experts” who have been arguing with me for the past two weeks (actually months) that liquidity is great in FX later, for now let’s kick off by getting to the crux of the issue. This is not necessarily about whether algos ran wild, or someone ran an option barrier, this is about a(nother) fundamental breakdown of the FX market structure.
The time has come to accept that what happened Friday morning in Asia is a mess of our own making; to take our heads out of the sand and at least acknowledge there is a problem with liquidity in FX markets.
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, has reiterated his call for a database of banker misconduct that will “stop rolling bad apples”.
Speaking to open a New York Fed conference on culture and behaviour in financial services, Dudley, who was expressing his own views, observed that the evidence is pervasive that deep-seated cultural and ethical problems have plagued the financial services industry in recent years. He further hinted that the industry needs more than principles to reform conduct and that any guidelines need teeth.
Outgoing deputy governor of the Bank of England, Manouque Shafik has called for a move from what she terms “an ethical drift” to an “ethical lift”.
Speaking at the New York Fed conference on conduct and behaviour, Shafik accepted that misconduct in financial markets is nothing new, but argued the wave of misconduct which has emerged in the aftermath of the financial crisis is different. She highlighted the benefits of the UK's blend of "hard law" and "soft law" when establishing a compliance framework.
The last week has seen plenty of activity concerning conduct-related issues. We have had the first trader plead guilty to collusion and manipulation, a group of banks have had their fines for the same misconduct ratified and a trader has – rarely – lost an unfair dismissal case. As the lawyers continue to pick over the carcass of the conduct issue, the industry needs to focus on renewal and central to this is the establishment of a proportional sense of realism – both on the part of individuals and their employers.
One of the major codes of conduct developed around the turn of the century is being retired following the successful launch of the FX Global Code of Conduct. In a statement, ACI – The Financial Markets Association says it is withdrawing its Model Code, which was first released in 1999 and subsequently updated on several occasions in order to provide national associations and other stakeholders with uniform language regarding the current status of the Model Code, the re-writing of which, was put on hold in 2016.
The Bank of England has today issued Statements of Commitment to the FX Global Code, the UK Money Markets Code and Global Precious Metals Code.
The Bank says that in issuing the statements, it is demonstrating that it is committed to adhering to the principles of these Codes when acting as a market participant in the relevant markets, and that its internal practices and processes are aligned with the principles of the Codes.
“The principles of these Codes are important in promoting the integrity and effective functioning of these respective markets,” it states.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has outlined its plans for whole financial markets in its 2018-19 Business Plan, which was published this week.
The FCA notes that wholesale financial markets are “complex” and have undergone large-scale and complex regulatory change, including the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). It adds that technology and innovation are affecting markets’ business models and their users have different levels of sophistication. It highlights insider trading, market manipulation and other forms of market abuse as activities of interest.
The FICC Markets Standards Board (FMSB) has published a Transparency Draft of a new Statement of Good Practice on Information and Confidentiality for fixed income and commodities markets.
The FMSB says the proposed guidance is not intended to apply to the FX markets, which is covered by the FX Global Code, or to the precious metals markets, which is covered by the Precious Metals Code, rather it seeks to build on those works for the fixed income and commodities markets.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has expressed disappointment at the failure of National Australia Bank to fully implement a reform programme linked to an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) levied by ASIC after deficiencies were found in the bank's wholesale spot FX business.
NAB, along with the other major Australian banks, were fined by ASIC in December 2016 for a series of failures in their FX businesses, including attempts at front running orders, manipulating fixes and inappropriately sharing confidential information.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has called on participants in the retail OTC derivatives sector to improve their practices after recent ASIC activities showed their conduct “fell short of expectations”.
The products offered by retail OTC derivatives issuers in Australia include binary options, margin foreign exchange and contracts for difference.
ASIC says that a recent review of 57 retail derivative issuers identified a number of risks associated with the products offered to retail investors by OTC derivatives issuers.
In this week’s In the FICC of It podcast, Colin Lambert apologises to the English nation and Galen Stops talks about the needs of a millennial.
They also discuss the week’s news from the FX world including SGX launching futurised OTC products and LCH going live with deliverable FX options clearing, as well as deliberate upon how hedge fund performance is measured; US regulators’ attitudes to cryptocurrencies; and the latest blow to the desktop terminal industry. They close out with a quote from their favourite profession – the legal industry – which rather aptly reinforces something Colin Lambert has been saying for some years – and let’s face it, if he says enough at some stage a lawyer somewhere will have to agree, it’s the law of averages!
In case you missed some of the original coverage this week, you can catch up here:
SGX Launches “Futurised” OTC FX Product
LCH Goes Live with Deliverable FX Options Clearing
US Regulators Shift Attitudes Regarding Cryptocurrencies
Hedge Funds Suffer in June: BarclayHedge
And Finally…(subscription required)
There has been more emphasis within the financial services industry on the responsibility of the individual in recent years as regulators have dealt with misconduct, but will this ever actually succeed when too many institutions – banks especially – have such a complex and over-lapping management structure?
How can an individual be responsible for something when they are a “co” head of business and into the bargain report to about seven people, all of whom are also “co” heads of something?
In this week’s podcast Galen Stops explains the devil in the detail behind the SEC rejecting bitcoin ETFs, the changing market structure in crypto generally, and how market participants are going about institutionalising the new asset class.
Colin Lambert meanwhile, is in a punchy mood and wants to take everything and everybody to task.
They observe how crypto-strategists are just the same as fiat strategists; discuss the barriers to entry for currency managers; the pricing of credit and liquidity in FX; and Lambert in particular has a problem with investors’ approach to allocating to hedge funds.
I guess we’ll get this out of the way early – I am pretty sure I have dealt on a fake price at more than one stage in my career. I don't think I did it that much in the ...
I think it is important that the foreign exchange industry gets one message out at this time and gets it out loud and clear. The type of behaviour exhibited by the members of the Cartel around the start of this decade is not, and will not, be tolerated today or in the future.
To be fair, the members of the Cartel probably understand that today the FX industry is, in conduct terms, a very different place to what it was five years ago.
Today’s column has a problem with complacency and worries about the chances of future generations forgetting the principles of the FX Global Code the way they did previous best practice documents. Luckily, being a “solutions based” forum, it has an idea that some may find controversial to help ensure that doesn't happen.
Why is it controversial? How does employing members of the Cartel and other chat rooms – people who have either faced potential jail time or admitted guilt to the authorities – grab you?
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published its finalised Recommendations for national supervisors: Reporting on the use of compensation tools to address potential misconduct risk. The work started in 2015 when the FSB published its Workplan on Measures to Reduce Misconduct Risk through the promotion of incentives for good behaviour.
This work promoted the adoptions of standards and codes of behaviour, such as the FX Global Code, and reforms to benchmark-setting practices; A toolkit of measures to address misconduct in wholesale markets developed by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), based on national approaches; additional guidance on the use of compensation tools to promote good conduct; and a toolkit to strengthen governance frameworks to mitigate misconduct risk.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has also published an overview of responses to its public consultation on its Recommendations for national supervisors: Reporting on the use of compensation tools to address potential misconduct risk (Recommendations), which it launched in May.
Overall the board says it received 11 responses from associations representing supervisors, banks, a research foundation, trade associations and a trade union.
Generally, it says, most respondents voiced support for efforts to promote good conduct, improve culture and reduce the incidence of misconduct at financial institutions.
Scepticism abounds in this week’s In the FICC of It podcast as Colin Lambert and Galen Stops take a look at the latest bank to unveil a digital markets strategy – including all your favourite buzzwords. While Stops believes this is the latest move in what will be a growing trend, our podcasters also wonder whether it’s not really just a rebranding exercise?
They then move into more traditional areas and discuss JP Morgan’s survey on FX market conditions, and while they agree with a lot of the findings, there are one or two areas that raise an eyebrow, not least around internalisation and AI.
AI-generated trading and liquidity are also the forefront as they move on to share their thoughts around the flash crash in Jardine Matheson stock last week in Singapore, including asking the question, what does it mean for market maker programmes and certain order types?
The discussion then moves on to look at the latest FX turnover surveys from the world’s FX committees, with particular attention on three interesting/puzzling (delete as appropriate) elements of the UK report surrounding RMB, NDFs and voice brokers.
The podcast ends on with Lambert praising “the optimism of youth” after Stops highlights what he thinks could be a very important line at the end of the latest document detailing an FX-related fine in the US – in other words, the cynic in him won the day!
What is it that infected so many of the banks’ FX businesses at the end of 2013 that led to so many bad decisions being made? Was it a lack of focus, courage, or even sheer panic that underpinned the decision to roll over on legal actions brought by customers, but at the same time stand firm and fight unfair dismissal cases brought about by their own staff?
The question emerges because the stakes have been raised when it comes to unfair dismissals thanks to the awarding of £1.2 million to former RBC FX trader John Banerjee to compensate him for loss of earnings.
Analytics and data science company Ideal Prediction, has unveiled Scope, an automated monitoring service, which analyses the behaviours of voice traders and trading algorithms in line with the principles of the FX Global Code.
The firm says Scope is already in production and automatically monitors order and trade activity, evidencing that humans and algorithms adhere to governance and risk controls. It specifically highlights potential issues like last look, spoofing, flashing, layering, order violations, limit breaches, and P&L flags, the company adds.