Betfair is better regulated than some markets.

In no advanced industrialised nation would we ever consider surrendering our body to the care and surgery of an unlicensed, unregulated quack, but I don’t have much choice when trading some of my investment capital on the forex markets. Fortunately, I trade with a bank guarantee in place on my main account but on my “play” account I have no choice.

A centralised exchange would change the risk of over the counter markets such as forex. Secrecy, counter party risk and outright fraud would be reduced. On a centralised exchange AIG, Lehman and Bear Sterns would have never been able to cheat the way they did, by putting on trades for which they lacked proper capital requirements.

They used derivative products which most bankers don’t understand and this led to their collapse. But some securities are actually useful gambling tools designed to trade and hedge risk.

The problem is that derivatives were traded over the counter, away from the oversight of a centralised exchange. If that had not been the case then strict margin enforcement would have forced AIG, Bear and Lehman to liquidate their positions saving the US taxpayers a trillion pounds of unnecessary debt as they try to clean up the mess. And don’t forget Nick Leeson who caused Barings to be sold for £1. Will the banks never learn? Will the governments never get a balance of regulation and free market forces right?

Everyone has a right to gamble – that’s what most readers here do every day – but with that freedom comes responsibility. In order for speculative markets to work effectively, all the other players must know that you are good for the money. Betfair plays the exchange part in this model and for all the recent criticism, it does it well. When was the last time you had a bet canceled because the person that matched your bet didn’t have the funds. Never! Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in the banking world.

The end result is a complete breakdown of trust and cessation of all economic activity such as we saw occur in October.

So why do these over the counter markets still exist? Why do all of the major banks still control this multi-trillion pound game acting as primary dealers of these securities while continuing to put our whole civilisation at risk? Yes, really! Answers on a postcard to MOM Towers please. Or a comment will do.

So, why the rant? A friend has just got taken for a substantial sum by a “forex brokerage” that was a complete scam and he’s too old to make it back. As a regular reader here I wish you and your family all the best for the future. On a personal note, I hope the authorities find the people concerned. But I share your view and somehow I doubt it.

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  1. The Gambler. says

    Good Stuff MOM.

    Sorry to hear about your buddy.

  2. Man of Mystery says

    Thanks John. And thanks also for the post link at yours.

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