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Foreign Exchange

BIS analyses execution methods

With the press around the world proclaiming that hanging is too good for all the ‘banksters’ responsible for destroying the global economy, the publication this week of a paper called Execution methods in foreign exchange markets by the Bank for International Settlements in Basle naturally grabbed my attention. It also reminded me of a story I once heard about how several bankers were shot in Mongolia for dodgy dealing back in the early 1990s. Hanging was clearly deemed too good for them.

But BIS wasn’t advocating the noose, bullet or guillotine. No, the report, part of the BIS Quarterly Review, March 2009, is an examination of the way business was being done when it compiled the data for its April 2007 triennial central bank survey of foreign exchange and derivatives market activity. “One of the most significant developments in the foreign exchange market over recent decades has been the introduction and growth of new electronic trading technologies. In addition to increasing the efficiency of foreign exchange markets, the diffusion of this technology has allowed new market segments to develop. As a result, the distinction between the inter-bank and other markets has blurred,” it says.

The paper is interesting as a piece of historical analysis; the data behind it is obviously robust, but some of its analysis looks a bit out of touch.

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