In a statement which could be causing numerous brokers and financial strategists to sweat, Chancellor Osborne has announced that he will be working closely with a variety of regulatory experts in order to ensure that the foreign exchange marketplace within the City Of London is free of corruption and other dubious dealings. One of the final unregulated marketplaces on the planet, the world of foreign exchange, also referred to as “forex”, remains largely out of sight and is primarily managed by traders who have been given a variety of buy and sell orders on behalf of larger global companies.
According to recent allegations, it is believed that 15 major banks have now been involved in forex currency manipulation. 9 of those listed have now suspended or fired forex traders that had previously been working for them. That being said, the extent to which the Osborne and his team of UK-based watchdogs can invoke change is somewhat limited, due in large part to the fact that the forex market remains a global enterprise, largely out of reach of any one nation. While Osborne’s changes may serve to “clean up” his particular “neck of the woods”, it is highly doubtful that his actions will have any lasting impact on the forex industry as a whole.
Of additional concern for Osborne is the potential fallout that could occur before key elections in 2015. Were hefty fines to be levied against UK companies in upcoming months, rival parties could accuse him of failing to act responsibly and ensure the validity and legitimacy of one of London’s most dominant industries. It should, ultimately, come as no surprise that these attempts at regulation are now occurring.
A political move, or perhaps an honest attempt at repairing a fractured industry, Osborne is nonetheless making bold moves into a well-established, highly organised industry that has relied upon its decentralized nature to exchange trillions of pounds of currency to companies around the world over the past decade. It will be interesting to see what, if any, “progress” Osborne can make.