“Happy hour with Lasty” Part 3 – A race that stops a nation

Geoff Last

In Part Three of “Happy Hour with Lasty”, senior institutional FX executive Geoff Last brings his 39 years worth of experience to the forefront. A regular series by Geoff, where you can really enjoy his insights from within on a regular basis


Welcome to part three of a new series on FinanceFeeds, brought to you by Geoff Last.

November is nearing and the whole world seems to be holding its breath in anticipation. Come Tuesday and the result will be known. It’s likely to be neck and neck at the finish. Hearts pumping, curses flying, spit and sweat tumbling through the air.

Human and animal in single-minded pursuit of glory. No. Not Hilary and Donald. I’m talking about the Melbourne Cup.

The “Race that stops a Nation” is run every year on the first Tuesday in November. Donald would love the Melbourne Cup – the champagne and the sunshine certainly bring the fillies out.

The first Tuesday of every month marks a decidedly different day for the financial markets in Australia though. This is the day the RBA decides its Interest rate policy. Every November, it coincides with Melbourne Cup day

Why the RBA doesn’t make an exception to the day is beyond me. Its un-Australian to force an industry of long-lunches and mickey-takers to stay back at their desks and miss the festivities. Traders should be Kings on Melbourne Cup day – the day was purpose-built for them but no, the RBA throws a wet blanket on that little fire.

There was one year when some representatives from the financial markets industry in Australia were wishing they had stayed at their desks for Melbourne Cup.

It was 1983 a month out from the float of the Australian Dollar.

A broker decided to hold a Melbourne Cup lunch and have a bookmaker in-house to take bets and get the energy pumping. Later we found out he wasn’t a bookmaker at all. He was one of the broker’s mate’s cousins. A plumber from the suburbs who loved a punt.

The broker invited all the traders from the market and the day was absolute magic.

The biggest traders in the market were mingling with trainees – and everyone was having a ball.

The bookie had cleaned up prior to the Cup, as the traders were quickly getting intoxicated and betting on anything with a tail. Egos took over and pretty soon the bets multiplied. The trainees were watching annual salaries being gambled nonchalantly.

I was part of a New Zealand contingent who decided to bet on a horse called Kiwi for the namesake only.

It was an outsider. The odds were astronomical. Everyone decided to pile money on Kiwi as the chant went up. Even the Aussies were swept up in it. The bookmaker could hardly contain his glee. What a load of muppets. Rich city traders who don’t have a clue.

And they were off! With 500 metres to run, Kiwi was second last and the bookie thought he was home – until one of the most amazing finishes in Melbourne Cup history saw Kiwi take it home.

The pub was bouncing up and down on its foundations

And then we all unfortunately took our eyes off the bookie.

He was last seen hightailing it down the back alley of the pub – followed closely by a cloud of dust. No one got their winnings. But the broker made everyone good on their wagers and that was enough for us.

Happy Punting.

Geoff Last

Director, Institutional Liquidity

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +61 2 9083 1333

Skype: institutional.invast

Website: www.invast.com.au

Geoff Last is Director of Institutional Sales at Invast Global, a leading multi-asset brokerage and prime services provider based in Sydney. With over 36 years of experience in interbank FX markets, Geoff previously worked as a trader and broker at Westpac and Citibank, and was the first trader to make the market when the AUD/USD originally floated in 1983.

At Invast, Geoff brings his intimate knowledge to the PurePrime facility, specialising in optimised FX solutions for brokers, hedge funds, HFTs and professional traders. This Prime-of-Prime solution aggregates the very best of bank and non-bank liquidity to deliver fully customisable streams for FX, Metals and CFDs.

Backed by a listed Japanese parent, Invast has designed a suite of trusted collateral solutions that provide clients with unparalleled transparency and choice. This is supported by bespoke connectivity options, including servers in three Equinix locations and DMA connectivity to over 30 global stock exchanges.

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