FX Fix Fix?


A quick comment on the ongoing investigations into FX fixing fixing, where the public's ire against city malfeasance, led by Bloomberg articles, has come crashing through the gates of the commission free, pretty unregulated, non-exchange, "my word is my bond and my price is my price not someone else's e-platform" FX market, born forward upon the blazing chariot of the newly armed regulator supported by premature media branding of it all as "scandal".

The centre of the debate revolves around the WMR fix, which is a strange animal. It isn't a real exchange rate you can trade on in a centralised exchange, it's one which is drawn up by a private body and released after its calculation from published dealable prices over the course of a preceding time frame. Many asset managers and funds have their portfolios benchmarked against this number and hence would like to see their execution done as close as possible to it so as not to have annoying accounting disturbances in their portfolios. As always, the greatest problem with benchmarks is that people tend to get more worked up over variance from benchmarks rather than the actual level of the benchmark itself. This then opens up behavioural risks in the system due to the divergence of accounting from reality. Oh my word, haven't we seen that before. As we regularly say - "Benchmarks are Bollocks"

Today has seen the first "outing" of a POTENTIAL perpetrator who PERHAPS COULD have MAYBE done something wrong when hedging his fix trades. And the media are all over it. TMM are struck by how glaringly unfair it is that whilst today in the UK a newspaper cannot say that a footballer has had carnal knowledge of his goat, or even say that they are prevented from saying something about said footballer, the financial regulators can publicly say Johnny Spoteffeks is under investigation (hence wrecking his career) and not have to give any reason why, nor even to have found him guilty of anything. That in our mind (if the bollocks of benchmarks are normal) is blue whale testicular.

It would be very sad should anyone fall victim to an FX fix fix fix, so perhaps can we ask that the FCA be subject to any upcoming Royal Charter on press regulation? Or do we have to wait for them to say something incriminatory about Ed Miliband's dad before that happens?


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October 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM ×

it would be much more amusing to write about David Cameron's Dad who was quite a legend when at Panmure and if he wasn't then he's certainly become one in the telling.

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Polemic
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October 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM ×

Mental Crumble.. oh please do pass on any suitable reading material on the subject!

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Leftback
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October 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM ×

Look out, TMM, Panto is back on in DC:

HARRY REID: "Look out, the Downgrade is behind you!"
BONER: "Oh no, it isn't"
(RATINGS AGENCY CHORUS): "Oh yes, it is!"

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Polemic
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October 15, 2013 at 5:07 PM ×

LB its beyond Panto . .isn't there some Captain Sensible SWAT team they can send in to point out the bleeding obvious to the folks that are so far up their own chuffs with self importance they've lost track of the Universal Set otherwise known as anything outside Washington DC.

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Leftback
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October 15, 2013 at 6:32 PM ×

Polemic,

I suspect only Mr Market himself is capable of sending such a SWAT team to Washington at this point. Hard to believe that they would go as far as, let alone beyond Thursday, but that seems to be what is now on the cards.

Sitting tight in NY clinging tight to some cheap protection while watching the normally dull as dishwater US T-bill market perform gyrations that we have hitherto associated only with banana republics and certain European nations with Southern exposure....

Meanwhile, Johnnies have been busy snapping up shares in NFLX, TSLA, and anything with a P/E multiple of over 100, including things that have tickers that sound a bit like (something that's going to be hot and hasn't actually IPOed yet) but are actually a pile of steaming dogcrap.

We do think there is a greater than zero probability that this market will go a bit pear-shaped before long, even if it is a temporary blip on the surface of the QE ocean.....

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Leftback
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October 15, 2013 at 7:53 PM ×

Go on, Mr Market, do a Baumgartner !!! You have a whole hour before you land......

Space Dive

Do a Felix.

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