30 April 2019
A relatively casual start time of 8am was nothing unusual for the attendees of Forex Network London 2019. Thankfully, ParFX was once again on hand to provide the early morning coffee boost, and our brand was in full view throughout the day thanks to the good people at Profit & Loss. We had both china mugs and disposable cups on offer this year, ensuring we remained eco-conscious amidst the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in London!
The opening address and following fireside chat was with Roham Churm, Head of the FX division at Bank of England. He discussed at length the FX Global Code and its adoption throughout the industry.
He also focused on transparency within the FX market and the cost of market data – expressing concern about high costs and whether this is creating ‘tiering of knowledge’.
He wants the market to ensure that ‘rules are applied consistently’ and whilst acknowledging that much has been done, he says ‘more transparency in the right areas can improve the FX markets further’. We couldn’t agree more!
The first panel of the day, moderated expertly by David Clark, had some well-informed G10 and EM strategists and economists from a group of leading institutions. I think the delegates were expecting an hour of Brexit discussions, but thankfully that was largely avoided.
Instead, the discussion centred around China, the growing influence of the renminbi as a global reserve currency, why there is such low volatility in the FX markets right now and looking forward to the 2020 US elections. The panel had differing opinions regarding the topics, which led to an interesting and informed debate rather than a nod-fest of agreement.
The second panel was all about the challenges of analysing data, and was led by John Ashworth from Caplin, Dr Hasan Amjad from mCantab Capital and Andrew Ralich of oneZero.
Colin led the panel down a path discussing the role that social media channels such as Twitter play in analytics. ’Can Twitter provide Alpha’ was a question he posed to the speakers at one point.
John Ashworth discussed the advent of printing presses being responsible for wider availability of knowledge, the Holy Bible being mass produced and the advent of Fake News!
This was bettered, in my opinion, by Dr Hasan discussing the Ramsey Theory. This, in summary, explains that if you look at a large enough sample of data, you will eventually find the answer you are looking for.
Thankfully that took us all to a well-earned lunch break. I’m glad to say that most delegates made it back after lunch. It isn’t always the case at these events – perhaps testament to the line-up of speaker (or the quality of coffee on offer…)!
The next panel of note was Panel 5: Market Impact – Execution Styles that work. For me, this was the pick of the day.
It was interesting to see Chinedum Nzelu from J.P. Morgan and Christian Gressel from UBS pretty much agreeing with everything that the other said. They spoke fairy openly about the trading techniques they used and left me wondering how they find the edge and compete with each other.
Each large institution must build its own picture of liquidity and risk and there seemed to consensus that institutions need to perform their own TCA rather than allowing platform providers, who don’t see the entire trading picture, do it for them.
They finished with an interesting debate on the definition of internalisation, concluding that ‘anything that leaves the bank’ cannot be considered as internalised but some institutions are including that in their reports.
This was followed by well-versed speakers such as Dave Reid discussing whether credit is being priced correctly. The final panel, Liquidity – Perception vs Reality, featured the ever-polished Robbie Sijbrandij from Flow Traders.
It was great to see another successful, well-attended Forex Network hosted in the global capital for currency trading. Well done once again to the team at P&L for putting on an excellent show.
I cannot end without a special shout-out to David Clarke for the tireless work he does on behalf of the industry through which we all make our living. We are forever grateful to you, sir!
Rob Parr is global head of business development at ParFX.
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