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WHY DID REGULATORS ALLOW LAST LOOK TRADING ?

 

In 2016 we have to ask what working committee agreed to allowing "last look" trading tool to market makers and platform providers ? Sadly the more information received only shows how abused this tool has become and in real terms how destructive it has been to fair and orderly markets !      
      Our regulators have to shoulder some blame as does the Bank of England as they permitted this process , I would seriously question all the working committee who thought this was ever a good and fair idea .
          "last look" is stood accused of a simple way for banks & fx platforms ; HFT ; to shield themselves from any losses ,it allows them to turn down trades at the last moment and it appears that every fx platform now has one . Last Look liquidity allows market makers the right to delay / intercept an order before it is filled and is problematic in electronic trading as it is unclear whether an order is filled at the price or simply "frozen " . Barclays $150 million fine on last look was added to by the damning statement that it executed its programme on its P & L for each separate trade , it basically took zero losses ! Alarm bells should be ringing at most regulators .  There is no surprise the amount of new fx platforms etc on our market floor and it looks as most trade exactly the same way .
      Last June the Bank of England report on Fair and effective markets made 21 recommendations to attempt to restore fair and orderly markets , however why did the BOE ever allow "Last Look" in the first place ? This tool has been used as a weapon of mass destruction in both equities and fx for a number of years and is perhaps the market makers main source of profit . The problem was that regulators demanded competition and tighter markets but in attempting to achieve this they managed to allow "last look" to totally abuse its function . Ideally markets should show firm bids and offers rather than indicative ones as this phantom liquidity has only accelerated last look abusive tool and allowed new platforms to enter the market and profit from their uneducated clients who are unprotected from regulators . These easy profits from with holding fills and offering "slippage" and profiteering from original entries are classic examples . 
        Hopefully more fx platforms will in 2016 exclude Last Look from their tool box  and perhaps regulators may question when players offer them a new system especially Barclays ? Perhaps the $150 million fine had a 0 missing from it !

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