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Bitcoin futures – the best idea ever?

I read yesterday that Cboe is bringing forward the launch date for its Bitcoin futures contract in a bid to usurp its rivals at the CME. This set me thinking about the likely impact of these contracts on the price of Bitcoin itself. As my good friend John Lothian has always maintained, futures markets are all about risk transfer and not irresponsible gambling (as some in the mainstream press would have you believe). But, in order to transfer risk,... Read More

Loophole lunacy

According to the Collins English dictionary a loophole is defined as “a small mistake which allows people to do something that would otherwise be illegal”. The same dictionary offers an alternative American definition as “a means of evading or escaping an obligation”. Both these imply that anyone benefiting from such a loophole is either explicitly breaking the law or at least the spirit of it. Funny, then, that this week’s press has been... Read More

The chlorine dipped chicken of capital markets

I read Phil Stafford’s great article in the FT yesterday about the continued spat between the UK, Europe and the US over the fate of the vast Euro denominated swaps market in a post-Brexit world. The core issue here is all about where this stuff should be cleared but, yet again, common sense plays second fiddle to short-term economic self-interest and politics. Common sense should mean that clearing takes place wherever there is greatest efficiency... Read More

Why you’ll never be ready for MiFID II

I attended Institutional Investor’s excellent Trader Forum in Barcelona last week. Basically it brings together the senior executives from the buy-side, the sell-side, venues and technology firms to debate and make sense of our industry. Naturally much of the conversation revolved around the new conditional dark pool venues, periodic auctions and Systematic Internalisers that are emerging. A number of questions came up repeatedly, such as “How... Read More

The shape of block liquidity

Now we are all back from summer hols it seems like everyone is getting ready for the final push that will propel our industry into its post-MiFID II future. Much still needs to be done, not least of which by ESMA in telling us what all the rules actually mean and what game we are supposed to play as a result of them. This is particularly true in the case of block liquidity which will be very different in 2018. Amidst the Orwellian chants of “lit... Read More

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