This isn't just two companies that went bankrupt, it's an industry problem. You may trade options, ETF's or whatever and may very well be covered in the case of loss but many thousands of us are in a world of hurt.
Your fellow traders involved with MF Global and PFG Best need your support. The Commodity Customer Coalition has posted contact information for all senate members of the agriculture committee who oversee the regulators / exchanges involved in our industry, trustees and judges involved.
Please take a moment and contact the senator nearest to your location, let them know how you feel about the losses that we have suffered.
There's a senate hearing this morning, all the key players will be there including the CFTF, CME, NFA and others. The CCC has direct feeds to the live hearings and replay information. Congressional records are usually left open for comments afterwards too.
The moral support alone would have tremendous value, alot of us are feeling as empty as our violated trading accounts. The bond and relationships of traders is unique in the world, I'm sure there will be many who contribute a voice in support.
Last Thursday the CFTC held a public hearing to determine what steps should be taken to repair the damage done by the bankruptcies of PFG and MF Global. I’d like to share with everyone some of the highlights of the hearing:
Better Accounting Standards: There was much discussion of auditing standards for both Regulators of FCM’s and the CPA’s who audit FCM’s. There was general agreement these standards need to be raised. FXCM believes FCM’s should be required to use a top accounting firm to avoid the kind of accounting issues that plagued PFG.
Additional Disclosure Requirements: An extensive discussion on FCM transparency was held and it is clear that FCM’s are going to have to make more disclosures of their books to regulators and to the public. The question is how much is to be disclosed? On the one hand there was testimony from FCM’s like Vision who publish their balance sheet on their website and on the other hand were those who were concerned that too much disclosure could lead to possible “bank runs” by investors. FXCM believes investors should be able to see a company’s audited financial statement once a quarter. Too many investors are forced to fly blind when they choose a Futures Commission Merchant or Forex Dealer. No trader should be subjected to this kind of risk post-PFG.
Insurance: Commissioner Bart Chilton released his proposal for a futures insurance fund on the same day of the hearing. Towards the end of the Roundtable the topic turned to insurance and John Roe of the Commodity Customer Coalition once again made a forceful case for a fully insured fund for the futures industry. As of now, Commissioner Chilton’s proposal does not include retail forex, but there is no reason that it shouldn’t. FXCM supports insurance for the futures/forex industry.
The CFTC will now deliberate into October before announcing their proposals. We encourage everyone to comment using the link below:
Mr. Gellert makes the following comment about the benefits of FCM’s being required to disclose their audited financials:
Would Mr. Wasendorf have been as ready to invent financials if his customers had demanded full, audited balance sheets and income statements all along? Would Mr. Wasendorf have been able to compose such reports with sufficient skill as to withstand rigorous third-party examination over twenty years? Rapid Ratings recalls that, by applying large numbers of interrelated calculations to the published reports of Enron, our firm was able to detect vivid inefficiencies entirely inconsistent with the investment grade ratings that Enron enjoyed from the larger rating agencies – inefficiencies that later turned out to have been the result of commingling accurate and fabricated reporting lines.
Mr. Gellert’s point about the difficulty of forging financial documents using the kind of standards that publicly traded companies use is well taken. Had PFG been forced to use such standards Wasendorf’s scam would have likely been caught long before July of 2012. Furthermore, ratings agencies like Rapid could break down the data in a manner that average investors could more easily understand. Although, we disagree that only ratings agencies be allowed to see such data. We believe any trader who opens an account with a FCM or Forex Dealer should be able to judge for themselves a firm’s financial health.
Two new developments in the last few days indicate that regulators are trying to get out in front of the safety of funds crisis that has gripped the futures/forex industry. However, these reforms may not extend to the retail forex market.
On Friday the National Futures Association approved a new rule requiring all Futures Commission Merchants to grant real-time, online access to FCM bank accounts. This rule is in response to Russ Wasendorf’s bank statement forgeries which had fooled regulators for 20 years. The language specifically references FCM’s and we are currently checking to see if Retail Foreign Exchange Dealers (RFEDs) will have to comply with the rule as well. FXCM’s position is that RFEDs need to be more transparent, which is why we also support a rule requiring all FCMs/RFEDs to fully disclosure their financials to the trading public.
The second development came last Thursday at a meeting in Chicago, as reported by the WSJ, in which the CME was reportedly “softening” its opposition to an insurance fund for futures traders. Again, however, no mention of extending such protections to retail forex traders was made.
While both of these development are positive, the negative aspect to them is that retail forex may very well be over looked. This is why we are strongly encouraging the trading public to contact the CFTC and leave comments about the need to further protect retail forex traders. Traders can leave comments using the link below:
Forex traders should be considered in these rulings. PFG and MF Global hurt both Forex and Futures traders during their collapse. I submit that any protections offered to futures traders also be extended to forex also. While insurance would be the best protection the emerging forex industry shares the same (and more) insecurities. For this industry to survive and prosper we must be able to trust that brokers that hold our funds are solvent especially since past CFTC rulings (50:1 leverage) require that we deposit even more of our money with brokers when we have no way auditing their financial health.
The CFTC's requirement a few years ago that traders put up more margin to trade retail forex leads to the logical conclusion that regulators put in additional protections (disclosure of company financials, better accounting standards, insurance) since retail forex traders now have more capital at risk. This is a pretty powerful argument and I would encourage traders who leave comments with the CFTC to make it.