The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued an Order filing and settling charges against The Royal Bank of Scotland for attempted manipulation of the ISDAfix benchmark.
The Order requires RBS to pay an $85 million civil monetary penaltyafter it finds that over a five-year period, beginning in January 2007 and continuing through March 2012, the bank, through the acts of multiple traders, attempted to manipulate the US Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix, a global benchmark reference in a range of interest rate products.
Speaking at Profit & Loss’ Forex Network London, Paul Chappell, CIO of buy side firm C-View, explained how liquidity trends are being negatively impacted by the Fix scandal.
In a featured new segment introduced at Profit & Loss’ Forex Network London called BURSTS, Paul Chappell, CIO of buy side firm C-View, sought to explain liquidity trends in the FX market in the context of the recent scandals that have plagued the industry.
In this TED Talks-styled presentation, Chappell sought to address why there are, in his opinion, only a few genuine market makers left in the FX market that everyone else prices off, and why currency managers have seen their returns significantly reduced.
As I am writing this on St Valentine’s Day I did think about exploring something my colleague discovered, the launch of Iustcoin, which can be spent in certain “specialist” service sectors, however I fear the content would not pass muster with readers’ filters and so we are stuck with the more mundane. I can however, make a very tenuous link to the aforementioned cryptocurrency by discussing manipulation – specifically, are we getting a little carried away in looking for market manipulation?
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 has publishes a transparency draft of a new Statement of Good Practice on Suspicious Transaction and Order Reporting. The Statement covers the identification of suspicious transactions and orders and their reporting to the relevant regulator. In the UK and other jurisdictions regulated market participants have an obligation report such transactions to their regulator – in the UK this is as a Suspicious Transaction and Order Report submitted to the FCA.
A suspicious transaction or order is one where there is a reasonable suspicion that it could constitute insider dealing, market manipulation or attempted insider dealing or market manipulation.
The US Department of Justice has announced it has brought an inductment against former JP Morgan EM FX trader Akshay Aiyer for his role in alleged FX market manipulation. Aiyer is specifically charged with conspiring to fix prices and rig bids and offers in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and African (CEEMEA) currencies.
According to the indictment, from at least as early as October 2010 through at least July 2013, Aiyer, along with other New York-based CEEMEA traders working for rival banks, participated in a conspiracy designed to suppress competition in order to increase each trader’s profits and decrease each trader’s losses.
In this week’s In the FICC of It podcast I mention how I like my hedge funds to be a bit “crazy” and my colleague and fellow podcaster, Galen Stops, suggests if I want to live on the edge then I should look at crypto funds. He’s right. If ever there was a crazy world, it’s crypto-land and this week highlighted this with some fantastic instances of “dolly out of the pram” tantrums! Generally speaking, when regulators talk, markets listen - not in crypto apparently, there they poke the bear!
There are so many lawsuits aimed at financial markets participants that it is hard to keep up these days, and while most are aimed at historic actions, there is definitely a culture building in which the first instinct of someone who feels they have been wronged is to head to the courts. This has to stop somewhere, for if it doesn't there will be repercussions for the market structure. If you have a problem with a market, tell the operator and then tell the regulators - only after then do you hit the lawyers.
In this week's podcast Colin Lambert and Galen Stops discuss the article penned for Profit & Loss by former FX trader Rohan Ramchandani about his trial and subsequent acquittal for market manipulation. While they generally agree on most points there is, inevitably, areas of disagreement, but that is nothing compared to when they move on (thanks to a quiet news week) to how they ranked each other's predictions for 2018. The results are available on the website, but why did Stops given Lambert a 6/10 for a bitcoin prediction that was actually correct? And why did Lambert return the compliment given Stops just a 4/10 for his own crypto prediction? All will be revealed in this week's In the FICC of It podcast, along with exactly which one of them scored the most points with their predictions.