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Can’t see the wood for the regulatory trees?

When you are immersed in an industry it’s sometimes difficult to see how it’s really changing. Global financial markets are a good example of this as the populist headlines can easily miss the subtlety of what is really going on. The polemic against misbehaviour by some market participants is obviously deserved (estimates of the total in fines and related costs are approaching... 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

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... 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... 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... Read More

Too big to fail or too big to succeed?

Interesting to see that Martin Wheatley, head of the FCA, is siding with the largest asset managers in their push back against the Financial Stability Board. The basic idea is that because of their size, global regulators want to deem them “systemically important” and so encumber them with greater liquidity requirements and other controls. This seems like fairly contrarian logic... Read More

Having your regulatory cake and eating it

This morning I read with interest a colleague’s blog post on the delay to the publication of the ESMA technical standards from July back to September. Whilst I appreciate that these things are complicated, it seems hard to understand how this won’t delay the implementation date without potentially increasing the very risks the regulations are trying to prevent. Building software... Read More

Backdoor Unbundling

I was relaxing on my way home on the 7.02 from Waterloo last night when I came across Nick Goodway’s excellent article in the London Evening Standard on the impact of unbundling and research procurement. As everyone knows, ESMA wants to make sure that transparency rules the day when it comes to how investment managers use client money, especially when it comes to paying for... Read More

Why the Daleks and Vogons were right about financial markets

An interesting debate broke out here at Fidessa Towers this morning concerning the infamous Sci-Fi phrase “resistance is useless”. Should it be attributed to Dr Who’s nemesis, those metallic, warbly-voiced Daleks, or to the slug-like, green-skinned Vogons that appear in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Anyhow, whilst folks furiously searched... Read More

Last minute shopping in Europe

Imagine you are doing the last of your Christmas shopping – all that’s left to get is a large chunk of your favourite stock. Because you generally buy in bulk, you know to avoid the brightly lit but expensive retail stores, and instead shop at one of the big wholesalers. But, there’s a problem. Somebody has passed a law capping the amount that any one of those stores can... Read More

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