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Thomas in Blockland

Thomas the crossing network wasn’t happy. For years he had enjoyed helping his friends buy and sell things amongst themselves. Sometimes he would even step in directly and agree to buy or sell something himself, especially if there was an awful lot of it. But now he had a tricky choice to make. The ruler of the land, The Regulator, had been convinced by the Exchanges that... Read More

I’m afraid of Americans

It’s always cool when two different things come together to make you think. That’s exactly what happened on my commute this morning as I listened to David Bowie’s much-underrated album, Earthling. Just as I read another piece about the US election, my ears were treated to the classic track “I’m afraid of Americans”. I will leave you to listen to the song yourself,... Read More

Brexit hangover

I was out fairly late last night at an industry function and almost forgot that I had an internal Brexit briefing here at Fidessa Towers this morning. As the memories of the fine Barolos I’d been served rescinded, I engaged with my dear friend and colleague Dr Voigt on what the whole Brexit thing might mean for our industry. Christian made some good points as usual, including... Read More

Clear and present danger?

There has been a lot of talk about how the LSE/DB1 merger might create a “too big to fail” clearing house. This seems to be missing the point somewhat as both LCH and Eurex Clearing are already too big to fail. Imagine the fallout if either of these were to go through some sort of disorderly meltdown – would the UK or German governments really just sit back and watch? The... Read More

Has the futures industry just been Uberised?

A seemingly innocuous news item from my good friend John Detrixhe at Bloomberg got us all chatting here at Fidessa Towers this morning. The story was about how Eurex Clearing was going to allow large buy-sides direct membership of its derivatives clearing house. The rationale for this is entirely logical as today’s regulations treat client capital as a risk asset and therefore... Read More

Slicing up the merger mania cake

One of the great things about industrial logic is that it’s easy to slice it up in so many different ways. This appears to be exactly what is happening with the DB1 LSE merger and the rumoured counterbids from ICE and possibly others. Reuniting Liffe (now owned by ICE) with its original clearing house (LCH, now majority owned by LSE) would be powerful, especially when you throw... Read More

Germany and the UK show the way

The pixels were barely dry on my last blog post on the regulatory impact of a potential Brexit on the City of London, when news broke that LSE Group was in talks with Deutsche Börse over a “merger of equals”. The LSE has done a great job under Xavier’s stewardship of positioning itself for the practical realities of the industry today, which are all predicated on the premise... Read More

Brexit blues

Interesting to read over the weekend that London’s mayor Boris Johnson has decided to throw his charismatic and not inconsiderable weight behind the “NO” campaign. Most agree that this shifts the possibility of a Brexit from remote to now distinctly possible. I wonder, therefore, what this means for all the rules we are in the midst of implementing as part of MiFID,... Read More

BATS auctions off the block problem

There has a been a lot of talk about how to trade blocks that are smaller than the LIS waiver but that are still too big to go to regular lit markets. The debate has been ratcheted up by the 4 and 8% dark pool caps that are part of the MiFID II spectre looming above us all. One approach, of course, is to chop your block into smaller pieces with an algo but this is becoming increasingly... Read More

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... Read More

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