A Pyrrhic victory for both Mrs May and the global regulators

Maria Nikolova

Paul Orford shares his thoughts on two recent events, one political and one which affects the vast majority of the readers with regards to the actions of global government agencies and the ever changing the face of industry legislation.

This is a guest editorial by Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales at AMB Prime.

Over the past couple of weeks, never has the phrase ‘Pyrrhic victory’ become more apt.

In case you are not aware what a Pyrrhic victory consists of, it is named after king Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC and the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC, during the Pyrrhic War.

Historians have classified it as a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way, though the heavy toll negates a true sense of achievement or profit.

King Pyrrhus

Moreover, ancient Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch fittingly described the military expeditions of King Pyrrhus with the following statement when he recounted the war. “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined’.

My thoughts on this subject drift towards two recent events, one political and one which affects the vast majority of the readers of this publication with regards to the actions of global government agencies and the ever changing the face of industry legislation.

In the world of politics this phrase will never have a better example suited to it when describing the set of events outlining Mrs May and the Conservative Party’s calamitous recent British general election campaign.

Much like King Pyrrhus of Epirus, when she surveyed her opposition and went into battle against her electoral rivals, May like many past leaders in both politics and business thought impending victory would be an effortless exercise with victory all but assured. In the catastrophic aftermath of her victory, as many are aware she may have won the battle but it looks like she has lost the internal war of maintaining her premiership. Based upon the past history of the Conservative Party, the pretenders to the throne will now be sizing up their robes in the hope of their impending coronation.

As with many leading politicians they are aware that those who wield the knife will never ultimately get too wear the crown, and are currently assessing the mood of when to make their move and when to end the calamitous May regime.

Perhaps in her impending spare time, as she assesses her performance in the election, she might reflect on what John Lennon said: ‘Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans’.

I was also reminded of this phrase when thinking through the legislation that has been added in the recent past. In my personal opinion the regulators will perhaps end up having a Pyrrhic victory upon the industry that we all know and love.

With everything from reducing trading leverage, the ever changing relationship with introducing partners and brokerages, to the ever changing reporting methods that have to be adhered to, will the net result of these actions kill the innovation that makes this industry thrive and develop new sustainable products?

Although nobody wants a return to the old days where the industry resembled the Wild West, it would perhaps be more prevalent for the global regulators to act in tandem with the industry in a more consultative approach rather than being dogmatic. This way, we can reach some form of appeasement and consensus which will be workable for all parties involved.

I fear that if we do not take this path, the future landscape of this industry will resemble the scarred battlefields of Apulia where King Pyrrhus’s met the Roman army and history was made.

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