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Sell side improvements: Don’t look back in anger

The days when corporates could blithely ignore their FX risk seem long gone.

Those at the pointy end of the market – bank traders and salespeople – are probably sick of being told that 2008 was a bad year to have a good year. They are also likely to be wondering if 2009 will be better.

But looking ahead, there are some reasons to be cheerful. I’ve started researching material for a feature I plan to write about how, generally, the service provided by the sell side to its clients has massively improved over the past decade. The days when corporates could blithely ignore their FX risk seem long gone.

This week I spoke to Alan Eisner, senior managing director at Millennium Global. His company broadly sits in between the sell and the buy side and is regarded as a good client of the banks he deals with. Millennium also has numerous clients itself, so Eisner is able to provide a useful and for me fresh perspective of what is going on in the market.

Eisner’s belief is that while many banks will report a record year in FX, the same is unlikely to be true for many asset managers, who could not react swiftly to some of the key developments of 2008, such as the breakdown of the carry trade and the exit from emerging markets.

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