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Foreign Exchange

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If there is one thing we can promise you at the weeklyFiX, it’s that you’ll get all the biggest foreign exchange stories here first. And not just every Friday – keep an eye on the website and look out for our alerts because it seems that the FX job merry-go-round is at full spin right now.

Take Chris Mandell’s departure as head of currencies and local markets and head of sales for global rates at Bank of America. Official confirmation of this move did not come until some considerable time after the weeklyFiX had published the news.

The second thing we promise is accuracy. Which is why we took the decision not to report any of the other rumours we were hearing about who had left the bank with her.

What’s been reported elsewhere makes it sound as if BofA’s GRCC business has been blown apart, with fingers pointed at Ed Blair, the bank’s chief dealer of high-frequency trading and what has been described as his excessive risk taking. This surprised me, as I have not heard of huge losses being racked up in FX generally and I understand that Blair and his team was routinely turning over around $5 billion a day – hardly excessive for a high-frequency trader – and far less than the $30 billion that’s been reported.

While Blair’s programmes have not made money this year, I hear that the trading loss is only around $3.1 million. Not an amount to be sniffed at, but it is a mere 0.02% of the $1.45 billion trading loss reported by the bank in October. Furthermore, sources say Blair’s programmes had turned the corner and were consistently making money from the start of September. The suggestion is that the loss was the entry price necessary to get them up and running.

Blair is understandably said to be upset about what has been reported, particularly because of the potential impact it will have on the employment prospects of his former staff – four of whom followed him out the door.

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