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Opinion

Macaskill on markets: Prop risk will always be inherent to sales and trading

The unexpected lurch towards tighter regulation by the Obama administration has focused an unwelcome spotlight for banks on the dirty secret of their sales and trading operations: exactly how much is made from proprietary risk-taking by business lines with a nominal client focus.

 

Jon Macaskill is one of the leading capital markets and derivatives journalists, with over 20 years’ experience covering financial markets from London and New York. Most recently he worked at one of the biggest global investment banks

Jon Macaskill is one of the leading capital markets and derivatives journalists, with over 20 years’ experience covering financial markets from London and New York. Most recently he worked at one of the biggest global investment banks

And if regulators are forced to look more closely into risk-taking in mainstream sales and trading they might feel obliged to clamp down on the dubious ways banks use clients to make sure their own proprietary trades pay off. The focus in Washington on bank proprietary trading took many by surprise, including some members of the administration as well as bankers and their lobbyists.

What might have started as a knee-jerk reaction to the loss of the Kennedy Senate seat in Massachusetts quickly developed into a key policy platform for Obama.

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