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The Dragon chasing its own tail

Few can have missed the carnage roiling Chinese stock markets recently. What’s interesting though is the emerging hubris from Western media that this is due to the intersection of communism and capitalism. The problem, they say, is that the purpose of markets is to allow free and open price discovery. However, they argue, a command economy like China can afford to tamper with this process and compel participants (like its state pension fund) to... Read More

Unbundling versus Best Ex

So, the September date looms for ESMA’s final clarification on unbundling. What seems evident is that payment for research with trading commissions is definitely going to be out. What seems less clear, though, is what can still be bundled into the definition of ‘execution’ and therefore still be paid for in commission dollars. Presumably, post-trade TCA services are included as they could just be thought of as a fancy form of invoice... Read More

Blockchain – the saviour of global finance?

At a recent event I was asked to pick three technologies that could really upset the capital markets applecart. Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin, was one of those that I selected. The best way to think about Blockchain is that it solves for the trust problem when two parties wish to transact with each other. It achieves this by distributing the transaction record across multiple servers that are open to all. This... Read More

Time to sort RFQs?

I was reading my colleague’s blog today on RFQs and it looks like this could be another aspect to the slow motion car wreck otherwise known as MiFID II. The problem this time is that the regulators have completely redefined the whole RFQ model. Imagine I ring you up and ask you to make me an offer for a watch I am thinking of selling. Because we have traded lots of watches between us, we trust each other and want to maintain our relationship.... Read More

The Tomorrow People

Josh was in high spirits, trading had been good that day. He had downloaded an algo app overnight that allowed him to arb Google dollars against Apple iCoins. It was no longer any use, of course, as by now everyone else had downloaded it too. But his edge had been that his simulator had processed it faster than anyone else. This was required by the regulator to check it contained no malware but, more importantly, so he could confirm that it would... Read More

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