For some time in the UK the regulators and authorities have tried to introduce true competition to the traditional banks. Much debate has occurred as to the rights and wrongs of allowing a new grouping of Challengers, Neos and FinTech enter the banking market with a lighter regulatory touch to the incumbents.
Given the longstanding focus on the familiar, well-used trading benchmarks and indices currently in use but due to be retired or changed, it’s quite normal to feel that you don't know your SARON from your €STR!
I have been catching up on some light reading in the glorious English sunshine. One report in particular caught my eye; the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures released a paper in July
The regulation for Uncleared Margin Rules (UMR) was set in motion at the 2009 G20 meeting following the global financial crisis.
A triumvirate of the Working Group on Risk-Free Reference Rates (RFRWG), the FCA and the Bank of England published joint statements in March and April (see my previous blog LIBOR Wars) reiterating that firms must move away from referencing LIBOR and reduce the stock of legacy LIBOR contracts.
The effect of the pandemic has been a mixed bag for many involved in our markets. The increase in volatility has seen a boost to trading activities and RegTech has been busy innovating to help overcome the compliance issues of remote working. With banks splitting personnel between the office, disaster recovery sites and working from home, issues have arisen that will spur technological development and system renewals.
Regulations are having a profound effect on the trading landscape alongside a proliferation of Codes of Conduct. In the UK, there are three codes replacing the former NIPS code covering FX, Money Markets and Precious Metals.
We have been seeing a lot of discussion and interest concerning a blog I penned in March last year under the title of “Beware the Ides of March - A Drama of FX Swaps Reporting”.
This March, we had a Consultation from ESMA, nattily entitled, “MiFID II/MiFIR review report on the transparency regime for non-equity instruments and the trading obligation for derivatives”, which may equally be causing this issue to be re-visited.
In my last blog, looking at the rise of the challengers to the traditional banking industry, I stated “these ‘lightweight’ contestants in the banking market have harnessed new technologies and processes to deliver a better customer experience.” The blog elicited a comment from Kevin Gillespie when posted on LinkedIn – “You missed the entrance of mobile phone companies in payments ... mPesa in Kenya is 45% owned by Vodafone and operates payments in Romania on the same platform ... the new competitors may not even bother to get in the ring and still win the fight as they invent new ways of exchanging value”.
Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) the banking industry, especially in the UK, has experienced significant growth with the advent of the “Digital Challenger”. These ‘lightweight’ contestants in the banking market have harnessed new technologies and processes to deliver a better customer experience.
We have seen many crises in the past, but this one is in many ways unique and I cannot recall a similar set of circumstances in my 43 years in markets. Financial crises have been global before but have originated within the financial system. Natural disasters have been localised as has dislocation due to terrorism and wars. This pandemic is unique as it is the first time we have seen such dislocation in so many countries at the same time. All financial centres are going through unprecedented emergency implementation of disaster planning activation.
It is unprecedented in Financial Markets (at least in my memory!) to have so many people working from home globally. We have previously seen localised examples such as on Wall Street after the tragic event of 9/11, but nothing on this global scale. As firms dust off the business continuity plans, some are hitting problems such as systems not allowing remote trading. This requires a tweaking of rule books and system settings. For those deploying a unified, modular platform, the task is somewhat easier when suddenly so many core staff are working from home as any system changes can be made once, and once only.