After 21 years, FX news and events site Profit & Loss closes down

FX industry B2B news and events company Profit and Loss has closed its doors for the final time today, as the year in which events and conferences were banned by draconian laws takes its toll. We look at the history of one of the FX business’s most enduring and respected news sources

Today marks the end of an era.

It is the unfortunate end of the road for long established FX and electronic trading industry news and events company Profit & Loss, which closes its doors today for the final time after over two decades in business.

This year has taken its toll on many businesses across many sectors worldwide, and although to a certain extent the electronic trading industry has ridden a wave of volatility, keen existing customers who have traded more volume than usual, and done a fair amount of b-book profiteering, there are some parts of the business that have been unable to continue, and therefore have become casualties.

As with most other industries worldwide, the draconian lockdowns which have been policed by masked men in uniforms and suddenly foist upon the world via undemocratic, illiberal rushed-through ‘laws’ which have been installed against due process, there has been a significant cost to businesses which rely on physical meeting, and Profit and Loss is, sadly, one of them.

The company was renowned for its institutional FX and electronic trading industry news reporting, and its global events which hosted senior executives from several key companies globally, from the original derivatives trading heartlands of Chicago, all the way to the Asia Pacific region.

In particular, the event every year in Chicago was an FX and electronic trading mainstay, participated in by OTC and listed derivatives brokers, liquidity vendors, professional trading platform vendors, exchanges, fintech companies, market integration and matching engine firms large and small, from all corners of the globe. No doubt it will be missed in future.

Founded 21 years ago by Julie Ros, Profit and Loss, which is the trade name of P&L Services LTD, is one of the oldest B2B publications focusing on the FX industry, having set out in 1998 to provide informative, relevant insight into the latest developments within the FX industry sourced by its experienced, independent team of staff journalists.

The company branched into event production some time later, and founded Profit & Loss magazine in 1999. Six months after the launch of Profit & Loss, Julie started the industry’s premier series of FX conferences, now known as Profit & Loss Forex Network. In 2008, she expanded the conference series through the addition of FX Growth Markets conferences.

Prior to P&L, Ms Ros worked from 1993-99, at Waters Information Services (now Incisive Media) as the London Bureau Chief, as well as editor of the newsletter, FX Week; and editor of ACI Briefing, published by Profit & Loss since 1999. Julie started her career as a currency markets reporter for the former Dow Jones Telerate.

Working alongside her colleague Colin Lambert, the company has been faced with the challenges associated with event production and the curtailment of such by governments internationally.

Mr Lambert’s career is equally illustrious, himself having joined P&L Services in August 2001 after a 24-year career in the financial markets, predominantly in foreign exchange trading. He joined P&L from MCM Inc, an analytical company focused on the financial markets. Whilst there, Colin managed the flagship CurrencyWatch I product. In his dealing career, he worked in New York, Singapore, Toronto, Tokyo and London for both buy-side and sell-side institutions, in several roles, including chief dealer.

Today, Ms Ros issued a full statement announcing the closure of the company, which detailed the history, the good times and what the firm has achieved, plus thanking its supporters and readers. It read as follows:

Profit & Loss has weathered many storms over the past 21+ years, including the tech bubble burst in 2001-2002, the depressed market environment following 9-11, and the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, but the current and ongoing global pandemic has caused challenges to our international events business that are outlasting our ability to continue operations.

As our regular readers know, when we were unable to hold our in-person events this year, we shifted into a virtual environment. While these proved popular – each event had between 200-600+ registrants – as a small, independent firm, the much lower revenue base of virtual events just can’t sustain the business going into 2021 with no end in sight for the pandemic. With such uncertainty about the future ahead, the company is closing on October 31.

Many of you know our exceptional staff at Profit & Loss, but I want you all to know everyone’s names. Managing Editor, Colin Lambert, who joined P&L back in August 2001, has become a leading voice in the industry advocating for better processes and practices, with his insights and unbridled enthusiasm always present in his very popular weekly columns, and as emcee of our global events. Colin and I have spent countless hours coming up with new ways to discuss topics around liquidity and execution in informative and engaging ways – we have a lifetime of stories to recall. I will so miss our long lunches and late nights at the end of conferences – I believe there is still a Colin and Julie dancing video in circulation out there somewhere.

In London, Commercial Director, Michelle Hemstedt, has been with P&L for 15 years – a friend and colleague who has been an integral part of the business. Having worked with Michelle at a previous company, I believe it took just two bottles of wine to convince her to join. Cindy Jiang, Events Manager, has been with us for more than 13 years, running our global events series so smoothly that I never fretted when she was at the helm. Another dancer – I hope there is video out there of her as well! A special mention to the fabulous Ms Anna Liza, who joined me just three months in, as my first sales person. Anna introduced herself on the phone by saying: this is Anna Liza, you know who I am! Anna has long been a part of our family – my kids know her as Auntie Anna. Also in our London office, Bhinder Kaur, Events Assistant – although with us just three years, she has learned on the job and become an important part of our events team – also known to join us on the dancefloor! Chris Bates, who wears many hats as our office manager/HR/tech, bookkeeper, also has a long history with P&L – I’m sure he’ll correct me, but I think it’s 14 years. Also amongst our newer hires is our bookkeeper Olga Massalova, whom I had a great connection at first meeting, talking about much more than accounting!

In New York, Jack Walsh, our Head of Sales for the Americas, joined in mid-2017. Jack has quickly morphed from from his guise as a good old-fashioned salesman to a technically gifted virtual events host, helping our clients and speakers adjust to the new virtual event environment, working long hours (from the infamous ‘Jack’s Basement Bar’), weekends and nights to ensure a smooth running event. Sarah Jordan, Head of Events and Marketing, Americas, is our newest team member, but quickly entrenched herself as our go-to person for everything from event marketing, to database management, and all facets of event production. In the new environment of virtual events – Sarah has done an outstanding job – also working long hours, nights and weekends to ensure the events ran smoothly for all involved.

Finally, Andrew Meikle, our Graphic Designer extraordinaire – who was integral to the launch of Profit & Loss back in July 1999. A special thanks goes to Andrew for his very long days, nights and weekends from day one, from getting the magazine to print in late-night runs to printers in St Albans, to the last minute website and PowerPoint slide changes the night before an event just this week.

I am so proud of the strong team we have had at P&L – we couldn’t have produced all that we have with any other team – I would recommend each and every one of them as a stellar addition to any team. P&L’s motto has always been “work hard/play hard” and I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time working with and getting to know Anna Liza, Colin, Michelle, Chris, Cindy, Bhinder, Jack, Sarah, Olga and Andrew, not only as colleagues, but as friends and family. I am going to miss you all tremendously.

So farewell to our sponsors, thank you for your support through these trying times. Farewell to our readers, who are also our audience and our friends. Hope to see you on the other side of all this.

Best,

Julie Ros

Mr Lambert reminisced as follows, in his statement made earlier today:

Almost 20 years ago I honestly thought I was done with foreign exchange. My hunger for a trading job had diminished (and in a rare instance of foresight I saw the machine taking over my role) and I was casting around for something to do. Julie Ros saw something in me (mostly the inability to shut up it has to be said) and in taking a punt on me, gave me, literally, a new lease of life in this industry.

I found a world in which I was able to continue talking with friends and acquaintances with whom I had built up such a good relationship over the years, but also one in which so many new connections awaited. I have learnt an enormous amount about this great industry – the biggest eye opener for this ex-spot trader who thought he knew it all was discovering so much about the market structure than underpins that trading function, and for that I have to thank to hundreds, probably thousands of people who have, over the years taken time to show me what they were doing and to discuss ideas with me.

At the start of 2008, we decided – I can’t remember who, when or where – that I should write a column in which I was able to express my opinion on frankly whatever I wanted. Again I am indebted to Julie for her support, I know it gave her a few sleepless nights wondering what I would come up with and who I would upset next!

I have deliberately, and for obvious reasons, made this an “And Finally…” column, because that was where it all started and when I really started to fully engage on some of the more controversial aspects of the FX industry. Last Monday was the 600th “And Finally…” and there have been 438 “And Another Thing…” columns, so I am well over the thousand mark and that is thanks to you, the readers. Again, hundreds, probably thousands, of you have engaged with me over the years about the content – obviously I can’t name you (as always, ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour”) but you know who you are so I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I can honestly say the responses to these columns has been a driving force for me and ensured that my already enthusiastic participation in all things FX was notched up a little higher. I know there are many out there whom I have upset or angered with my views – as regular readers will expect, I do not apologise for that in any way. The intent of the column has always been to raise awareness and provoke discussion around the important issues facing the industry. More than anyone else, I know I haven’t always been right, but the opinions were – are – always given honestly. The columns’ core principle remains, “sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always certain!”

So today, for me, is about people. I can only endorse Julie’s comments about our great staff and would recommend them to any prospective employer – they are smart, innovative, hard-working and dedicated. I also want to thank those that I have worked with and who are no longer at P&L – they have all been a part of the journey that is now, sadly, coming to an end.

Overall though I have a feeling of privilege. It has been a genuine privilege to engage with so many of you in the FX industry both editorially and at our conferences – and it is fitting that I enjoyed our last session in this week’s Singapore virtual conference so much – they’ve all (mostly!) been fun.

As was the case in 2001, I have no idea what awaits me, but I sincerely hope it is in this industry (this is what the Tabloid Press would call a “come and get me plea”!), there is still much to be discussed and analysed and I very much want to be a part of that process on whatever basis works best.

So, if you know anyone who needs some writing, editing, analysis or even arguing done, send them my way (as my predictions on our podcast highlight, I’m probably too rusty on the trading front!), email details are at the bottom as always.

I hope this is au revoir rather than goodbye, but if it is the latter…thank you all – it has been an honour and a privilege to have engaged with, and for, you.

 

This represents the second long-established news source to have hung up its keys for eternity in recent times.

In 2017, FX-MM closed down after 25 years in business.

A quarter of a century is a lifetime in the ultra-modern electronic trading industry, especially when referring to the retail sector which, compared to the long established institutional trading desks of Chicago, New York and London that have their origins in pre-industrial commodities trading, is a very new phenomenon indeed.

Mr Garnham has announced the end of the road for FX-MM, which, according to his memorandum to readers today, will cease to operate by the end of 2017.

“It is with sadness that I have to announce the closure of FX-MM. Over the years, FX-MM has strived to provide an essential resource for the trading, treasury and financial technology sectors” stated Mr Garnham in his correspondence three years ago.

One of the main reasons cited for the firm’s closure was that the delivery of media in this space has radically changed.

Mr Garnham wrote “Despite our many efforts to develop new products and services, the saturation of the market with alternative sources of data has become too great an obstacle.”

“Founded 25 years ago as a monthly magazine focused on the FX industry, the magazine expanded its remit to encompass all aspects of trading, treasury, financial technology and, in recent years, the constant flurry of new regulation affecting the financial sector” he stated.

Looking back on an illustrious 25 years that Mr Garnham could genuinely be proud of, he concluded “Personally I have edited FX-MM for four years, and would like to take the opportunity to thank the dedicated team that have made that possible, from our talented team of writers and editors to the wider support staff here at Russell Publishing. I would also like to thank the array of contributors and supporters from across the financial sector that have made the journey so stimulating over the past few years, and, of course, the readers, whose feedback and generosity have been so vital.”

FinanceFeeds applauded the journalistic and research orientated effort made over the course of this period by FX-MM, and wished Mr Garnham every success in his next endeavor.

Similarly, Ms Ross and Mr Lambert, along with their enduring Profit & Loss news site and events, will likely be missed by many FX industry executives across the globe.

FinanceFeeds commends them on their tireless work, and having come this far in an ever-changing environment.

We wish you both a great future, and hope that you remain part of this industry.

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