On Retail Forex, Regulators Have Failed To Reach Far Enough

Mon Jan 12 12:25:26 EST 2015
By Dr. Sharon Brown-Hruska

In light of record fines recently handed down to global banks for alleged manipulation of foreign exchange rates and front running of customer trades, NERA Vice President Dr. Sharon Brown-Hruska shares her perspectives on the regulation of retail forex transactions in a guest post from Forbes. While many are looking for an opportunity to roll back regulatory overreach, Dr. Brown-Hruska, former Commissioner and Acting Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, argues that, on retail forex, regulators have failed to reach far enough. She recommends that regulators proactively set transparency and execution standards to bring the retail forex market up to the standards set in the equities, fixed income, and derivatives markets. Retail forex dealers should be required to display third-party price quotes to all customers equally and without modification, so that investors can compare prices accurately, without delay, and without discriminatory treatment. For example, regulators could encourage price competition by requiring dealers to provide at least three independent price quotes to determine the best available price to fill customers' orders -- just as banks are required to in swaps markets. Finally, Dr. Brown-Hruska notes that regulators can improve the fairness and transparency of the retail forex market by requiring that retail forex dealers publish order handling rules that are fair and transparent to consumers, instead of the trade execution black box that customers often face today. This way, customers can know precisely what to expect in order execution, and regulators can hold dealers accountable to their own published rules.