“Happy Hour with Lasty” Part One: The times they are a-changin … again!

Geoff Last

In Part One 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 will follow this first episode, where you can really enjoy the insights from within on a regular basis

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

Yep – It’s that time of the year when clocks are starting to change in different directions.

The time acronyms are out in force AEDST, NZDT, PST, GMT, LOL, ROFL (threw those in for the newbies.)

Then we have Australia’s internal time zones which are? …… who cares.

I remember working in the interbank market and waking up for the dreaded Monday morning red eye session. Oh the horror … of the 4:30am alarm.

By holding their ground about being the first financial market to open on Mondays, New Zealand was the bane of the Aussie FX trader’s existence.

Being a Kiwi, it was a proud moment (c’mon, we don’t have a lot to be proud of), but being an Aussie resident meant it was a shocker having my weekend cut short for the sake of NZ’s, slightly sad, need to be seen as a “big boy” in financial markets.

Let’s put things into perspective here. Australia had roughly 100 FX banks operating within its borders – and NZ was lucky to have half a dozen in the heydays.

But NZ had a point I guess – and a currency that only a few would dare to play with!

Meanwhile back in Australia out of those 100 banks only a handful actually bothered to get out of bed early and play pass the parcel until the rest of Asia came in.

I don’t blame the non-starters to be honest. It was a carnage at the best of times. Markets moved erratically on nothing. A body racked with fear and loathing, listening to a market disintegrate in front of you (against your position) was rather unpleasant at 5am on a Monday morning! Trading those early Monday morning markets was like trying to catch butterflies while tightrope walking.

Fast forward to the 21st century and I believe the retail market has got it right. Completely ignore the interbank market and open the GUIs at 5pm NY time all year round.

After all, technology has overtaken man power. Pricing now comes from a raft of bank and non-bank algos and they aren’t based in NZ. They wouldn’t know an All Black from a black sheep.

I think it’s time for the Interbank guys to reassess, so both markets can work uniformly.

Everyone hates Mondays anyway, so why aren’t we doing my fellow Kiwis a favour by giving them half a day off?

I’m sure ex FX trader, now NZ PM, John Key would agree. Most of the Kiwi FX traders I know could certainly do with a bit more beauty sleep (yes Timmy K – I’m talking about you).

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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