Articles tagged by Irrationals
As December strikes, for the second year your correspondent has decided that rather than shut down until January he will award another set of "Accolades" or "Irrationals". This year, to make things more interesting, themes from my Twitter account are included, which if nothing else opens the door to much more sarcasm.
We will get into the main body of the awards from Monday but I want to start the year by awarding an Irrational to the "Subversives of the Year" (or the "how did we miss that? award).
It’s time for the third award of this year’s Irrationals but first I need to highlight there are too many contenders for Headline of the Year to mention here so I will merely highlight one or two. I have deliberately chosen to ignore headlines around the two major events of the year, the UK referendum (I still don't like the ‘B’ word) and the US presidential election.
There were some absolute crackers this year, some in financial markets, some not.
Statistics are a very important part of financial markets – sometimes they serve a very important purpose, sometimes they don’t. As we continue with the Irrationals, it seemed sensible to run through a few data sets that help, or rather don’t help, because after all, this column seldom likes the sensible, helpful route.
So this is truly an Irrational rather than an Accolade and into the bargain it offers me the opportunity to take a dig at one of my favourite targets!
The Regulator of the Year will, I am sure, become one of, if not absolutely, my favourite Irrational over the years, if for no other reason than it gives me a chance to have a pop at those in authority!
It will also, I suspect, be one of the tougher gongs to hand out given the tradition (see this column December 5) of no repeat winners, because the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is, as regular readers know, my (irony warning) favourite regulator.
In such a historic year – for it has been that – it feels appropriate to have an Accolade dedicated to the shock of the year. I should point out this is a market shock – not the kind felt by much of the world as the US presidential election results unfolded.
In a year that had flash crashes, very large movements in specific currency pairs and plenty of "blink and you'll miss it" moments, competition for the "What the...? Moment of the Year" is fierce.
I don't believe the words and phrases, "in lunch", "barrelled", and "done your boots" are used often enough in today's foreign exchange industry, however the advent of December allows me to use all three in today's column, which announces - to the ringing of triumphant bells, widespread disbelief (on your part) and a shaking of the head from my colleagues - the return of my annual accolades - The Irrationals. The first will be unveiled in the midweek issue, but you can join in...
And so to the first Irrational of 2017 and we kick off with a new category – I had to, some of the old ones were very boring in 2017 – my Entertainer of the Year.
In years gone by this would, no doubt, have been awarded to a voice broker who ensured I drank my bodyweight in beer at least once a month, but thankfully the world has moved on from those days (my body weight has certainly increased as well).
With December in financial markets only livened by the shenanigans of bitcoin, including the launch of futures trading (complete with trading halts), it is time to unveil the next Irrational. It’s a favourite of mine, Analysis of the Year, and boy is this one competitive!
The easy option would be to pick out a few predictions that went horribly wrong and highlight them, but that would be unfair as we all get it wrong from time to time, just look at my Trade of the Year record in the Profit & Loss Crystal Ball!
I have long had a healthy distaste for certain phrases used in the foreign exchange industry, roll out a “client centric”, a “best of breed”, an “innovative” or even a “we are a disruptor” and my eyes start rolling and my attention wanders. These have, therefore, all been ruled out of the inaugural Irrational for Phrase of the Year, not least because they have been around for decades.
But while the winner of the Irrational has also been around for a while, as far as I can work it out it barely registered on the industry’s consciousness before 2016.
With a doff of the hat and the compliments of the season to those of you still chained to your desk this deep in December (and thus desperate enough for something to fill the day that you will read this), we come to the penultimate Irrational – and again, it’s quite competitive.
The Statement of the Year could be renamed the “Hmmm Award” because it is intended to highlight those things that people said that made your jaw drop and book an appointment at the Otolaryngologis.
It is time for the final Irrational of 2017, my Person of the Year. Previous winners of this Accolade have been pretty easy to select, but 2017 was a little harder – because let’s be honest, when everyone is obsessed with MiFID II it’s going to be hard to stand out isn't it? Had someone managed to extract FX from this ridiculous regulation (in FX terms I should stress, because in the spirit of the season I don't give two stuffs about equities or fixed income) then they would have been a standout winner.
It’s December, which means the start of my personal awards season – of course what it really means is I can do the modern day equivalent of “fnshd 4 yr frds” (look it up teenagers) and cruise through December without having to give too much thought to original opinion!
Yes folks, it’s the 2018 version of The Irrationals – my favourite themes and stories for the year, presented with tongue very much in cheek, although occasionally lapsing into seriousness. I thought we could kick off with the “Disaster Averted Irrational”.
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.
With a reminder to readers that there is still time to vote for a real Irrational – P&L’s Socks of the Year (click here), let’s move onto to the next accolade, the “It’s been a tough year for…” award.
The winner might come as a surprise because I, along with many, feel the FX Global Code has made decent progress this past year and has also done a lot of good for the market by providing a clear framework within which people can work.
Today’s Irrational is very much based upon the ethos in which the accolades were imagined – in other words it’s based upon nothing more than its ability to irritate me. If we are being honest, this year has not been a vintage one for headlines – I don't know if it’s me but I sense the world is getting worn down by the constant bickering amongst politicians, most of whom turn to (at best) half truths when challenged. Throw in an increasing wariness of publicly stating anything humorous for fear of upsetting someone (which is very easy to do, another facet of today’s world seems to be extreme sensitivity) and the quality of headlines we saw just a year or two ago have gone missing.
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.
The annual Irrational for the Call of the Year is always competitive and this year was no different. Obviously the temptation is to hand it to someone who got the markets horribly wrong in 2018 - and the chap who thought Bitcoin's fair value was at $14,000 (or, if you arranged a few ducks in a row $150,000!) is a contender, as are all the dollar bears at the start of the year. The winner truly comes from left field, however, because it's me!
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.