Apparently people are struggling to make money in foreign exchange markets this year - as I heard for the thousandth time earlier this week! Mean reversion is playing a role, without doubt, but there is something, more basic, at the heart of participants' struggles and one person's experience from Brexit night is illustrative. How can it be that people have missed out on making money on a well-signalled, prolonged move in FX markets? Here is one possible answer - and it goes back to the roots of trading methodology
This column is going to sound angry, but it isn’t really, it is more mystified!
I think this morning in Asia we saw how the lack of risk takers in banks is confusing and, possibly, deterring customers from having a punt on events. Into the bargain I think they highlighted the point I made last week about how a couple of opportunistic macro funds, who were not ring-fenced by their mandate, are actually having a decent run of things at the moment.
There is nothing like a flash event to get people excited and for news outlets to dust off and update the old “blame the algos” stories for publication. Equally, there are members of our industry of a (ahem) certain generation who are quick to jump on the bandwagon with the rejoinder “it wasn’t like that before the machines”.
As a member of that “certain” generation I can assure readers that it is utter nonsense and that last week's flash event was triggered by a human.