From the September 01, 2011 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Forex Trader's Bill Of Rights

Excerpt from September's Q&A with Michael Stumm

FM: 2) The right to trade real spot?

MS: Typically there is a two-day settlement for fx trading and you have to wonder why; 30-40 years ago it made sense--you had to move paper, you had to send confirmation of the trade from one bank to another and that took two days. Two days was very efficient 50 years ago but today when you can send off a message and it is there in less than a second, it really doesn't make sense. We just wonder why that is still there. You should be able to trade [real] spot.

FM: 3) The right to know?

MS: This is again where different clients are treated differently. In most brokers and banks different clients get different prices depending on how much they can get away with. You can notice that by going to your bank and complaining about your spreads being too wide and threatening to walk away, they will lower the spreads on you. The same thing goes for information. Many of the banks have market insights, they have their ear to the ground, they know what is happening in the market; that is valuable information and so they will disclose that perhaps to their very best customers. Sometimes they will ask for extra money for that but why not make that information [available] to the trading public? You want everybody to be on equal footing and have a fair chance and if you only provide information on a limited basis, it is wrong. Everyone should have a fair chance with the markets. I am convinced that the retail clients are very good at what they do and they will do very well if they have equal access. Part of that is information.

What positions are our clients in? What are their open trades? What are the spreads that we provided? What are the orders that exist in the system? You see resistance levels when you look at where the orders are placed. All those things are interesting: are the clients primarily long or primarily short? That is information that is simple to give out, it costs you nothing to give out and it helps the trading public make more informed [trading] decisions.

FM: 4) The right to trade whenever you want? Is this basically providing 24-hour trading?

MS: Not just 24 but 24-7. In this day everything is automated. The world does not stand still over the weekend. The most recent example comes to mind with (President–Obama coming to a compromise on a debt ceiling with Congress. That happened on Friday just before midnight. That is news that affects the market but everyone is closed, except for Oanda, you can't act on that news. And there is other events that occur. A lot of these G8 meetings and G 20 meetings occur over the weekend and the news comes out yet people can't trade on it. In the Mideast Saturday and Sunday are not a weekend. It just doesn't make sense in this day and age that these markets are closed during certain periods of time.

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