Forex Rates: Live Currency Rates at DailyFX

In case you missed it: HSBC trader found guilty of front running the spot fx market. Detailed court charts provide insight into how bank money moves markets and including actual position size/duration information.

One of the things that surprises many newbies to the forex world is that some forms of insider trading aren't illegal. Front running is the practice of taking a position with the knowledge that there is a large order coming through behind you to push the market in your favour, and it's been generally accepted that this is just the way of things in the spot market, even if it's been outlawed in futures and equities.
However, a recent landmark case means that this may no longer be the case.
Former HSBC Holdings Plc currency trader Mark Johnson was found guilty of fraud for front-running a $3.5 billion client order, a victory for U.S. prosecutors as they seek to root out misconduct in global financial markets.
He was convicted on Monday on nine of 10 fraud and conspiracy counts after a month-long trial in Brooklyn, New York.
(https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-23/ex-hsbc-currency-trader-is-convicted-of-fraud-for-front-running)
It is hard to know exactly what impact this will have on the markets, given that many traders will look at this case and note that: a) there was fall out because the HSBC desk execution acted against the interest of their client, rather than the front running per se b) there was active conspiracy with other traders c) the run was into the fix, rather than less watched times of the day.
I haven't read the case details though, so perhaps there is actual specificity against the practice. Systemic risk averse (not the same as market risk aversion) institutions may be less willing to engage in the practice, and certainly it seems to continue the push towards removing the human element altogether.
-- // --
What's even more interesting for spot traders who can't front run, is the detailed look behind the scenes that the case gives us, as it clearly outlines the actual events in the real world that translate into price movement.
Timeline of events
1) Cairn Energy PLC, an oil and gas company begin talks to sell a 51.8% share of their Cairn India subsidiary in late 2010 for $8.7 billion
2) Approval from the Indian government doesn't come through until September 2011
3) Cairn Energy place an order with HSBC to convert 3.5 billion dollars from the asset sale to pounds in December 2011
4) HSBC desk traders accumulate GBPUSD longs in anticipation of the big order
5) The desk trader responsible for putting through the 3.5 billion trade 'ramps' the order through just before the fix, all traders then close out positions.
References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairn_Energy https://www.law360.com/articles/972069/expert-tells-of-hsbc-trading-frenzy-around-3-5b-forex-deal https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-05/ex-hsbc-trader-says-boss-ordered-him-to-ramp-up-price-of-pound
-- // --
Now for those of you who are already aware that this sort of activity occurs, this isn't news, just open confirmation of what was assumed to take place.
More fascinating though are the position size and timing information, which give proper insight into market dynamics.
You should read this full article to get the best understanding: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-10/in-hsbc-currency-trade-charts-u-s-offers-its-theory-of-a-crime
-- // --
These are the charts in question:
Reuters Buying Market M5 volume chart showing HSBC share
https://i.imgur.com/bXBN2BC.jpg
For all that's said about spot forex having 'no true centralised volume' etc, this is an incredibly telling graphic of just how much a major player can dominate the interbank market and leave a very meaningful and tell-tale spike, even at the fix. Additionally that's 1.6BN notional moved in five minutes.
Prop book position sizes for HSBC London and HSBC NY
https://i.imgur.com/MhRPGWJ.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/krBztbX.jpg
There is a lot of information in these charts if you're willing to dig down into them. You can see the size of individual HSBC bank traders' positions, how much they change them, how long they hold them for, and how quickly they exit them.
It's worth nothing that the increments on the horizontal axis are 6 minutes, meaning the standard position hold length was often only in hours, with size reaching up to $70M for the NY traders.
The London traders had quite different styles, one of them running a frequently adjusting multiple small trades inside their larger position, one of them running a static short for much of the day before flipping to the long as they were alerted to the front-running opportunity.
In addition to liquidating their positions into the $3.5bn client order, many also shorted off the peak, although didn't close out in the given time period.
Actual spot price vs HSBC trader position size
https://i.imgur.com/Qc1Kart.jpg
This is particularly fascinating, because it's rare to see the spot price superimposed over the genuine very high volume buying activity.
Having looked through these charts, it's important to take a step back and think about how it all fits together: corporate activity outside of the market, leading to a major forex order, leading to the constant aggressive buying driving price up over an hour, and then the sharp position exits causing price to peak.
How you would have perceived this depends on your lens to the market. Perhaps it looked to you like a particular candle formation, maybe a test of resistance, maybe a breach of resistance. Perhaps you saw it as a big volume stomp on the DoM. Maybe it was just 'noise' (even though it represented a genuine commercial event). Maybe it formed part of harmonic, or crossed an average, triggered an automated algor entry.
But price doesn't move about for abstract reasons from minute to minute, hour to hour - it's driven by real world events that will never register on your radar, like the Cairn's Indian subsidiary sale, which then manifests when bank traders make decisions with client money and bank prop money on the side.
Whether or not this should factor into your trading depends on a combination of your personality, mental model of the market and your trading style. But new traders should always be very wary of approaches to the market that can not account for the information that can be seen about how the market operates when criminal investigations pull back the curtains.
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[Table] IAmA: We are Adam, Mike, Ryan, Angelo and Ken of Vault of Satoshi (Canadian Bitcoin Exchange) AUA! And Raise Money for Cancer Research!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-04-08
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
How does your company plan on staying competitive with other local exchanges coming out? Any plans on making an app? The company was started by Mike and Ryan, crypto-enthusiasts who saw problems in the marketplace when dealing in cryptos. They wanted an exchange that had a strong support team, legal visibility, operated somewhere where you could trust your money and had strong security - so in short they built it! We expect really big things for VoS and do indeed intend to be competitive with other exchanges, and yes, that does include building an app - we're currently exploring options in that field but we feel it crucial to take our time in doing that and put security first.
Why is it important for bitcoin companies to donate to charities? Or people to donate with cryptocurrency? Just wanna say thanks for being in the btc community and helping it grow and spread it around. Is there a lot of pressure on you now that you got your MSB? Any pressure from banks or government on how to behave? As for Charity we just feel its the right thing to do, I've always been a strong supporter of charities in my daily life and I brought that forward to VoS and the team agreed it made sense to gather up some funds for the Canadian Cancer Society given that April is their big fundraising month. On a grander scale I think it's important for cryptocurrencies to play a positive role in the world, let people know what we are all about, there is a lot of negative stigma about cryptos, some people say it's just kids "printing money", but it's a lot harder to say that when you're positively changing the world!
There's not any more pressure on us now than there was before - in fact I would say the MSB has taken some of the pressure off. We instead hold ourselves to the same laws and scrutiny as any financial institution would have to, and we feel this is best for our users and this sector as a whole. Getting the MSB let us know we had done everything right so far, and being in a new and evolving industry it's not always too clear if you're taking the right steps. The MSB is a checkmark that says "Hey you guys are as legitimate as you say you are" and we'll continue to hold ourselves to what ever rigorous standards we can (even when we don't need too). As far as external entities like Banks and Government - I think they are happy to see we have our MSB, I think it makes them more comfortable with the field in general and more willing to work with us. We recently met with our Member of Provincial Parliament and are setting up meetings with our Member of Parliament, and our Minister of Finance so they can see our operation here! The MPP certainly loved what we've got going!
That was a fast reply. Thanks for the response, you guys always been good with customer service :p . And thats great Mike and Ryan stepped up to be the ones to do it, it's a really much needed addition to the Toronto bitcoin scene. Oh man if Timmies was a payment I don't think Canada would need cryptocurrencies at all! Timbits everywhere! We love Tim Hortons - we usually start our Monday's with group coffee and donuts! So we are never opposed Timmies if you are dropping by for a visit :P (Compliance disclaimer: Timmies is not a valid payment method, just a staple at all Canadian meetings)
We also feel the importance of charities, especially with the nature of the bitcoin community always being a giving one. I hope you guys see good results n help the bitcoin image. We want to come visit you guys sometime, do you accept Tim Hortons as payment? :p.
The charity that you are donating to, do they accept btc or will you be converting it to fiat? We'll be convert it to Fiat.
Any plans on an Android app? We are looking into this, no formal timeline, but we're certainly exploring it!
It would be great if the volume would increase, can you comment on what is the strategy for getting more costumers? We are actually making a big push this spring in regards to our volume, including launching a highly competitive affiliates program that expect will grow our volume a great deal.
Any chance on improving the charts? (Or being included in bitcoinwisdom) We're always happy to take feedback on our charts, let us know what you want to see! As for Bitcoinwisdom, we've reached out to them multiple times, and added all the API support they need - just waiting on them to hopefully add us!
It currently takes ~3 days to get funds added to the balance, I presume that is mostly for security and because banks suck, are there plans to reduce this waiting time? We're looking at adding instant online debit transactions, no formal timeline on that yet but we are sure it will be great for our customers!
Glad SonOfAragon asked those questions so I don't end up repeating them and thanks for your reply Adam. However can you give us an idea of when you plan to launch the affiliates program/make the big push? If I sign up for an account, I'd probably want to beat the rush. We're actively working towards our affiliate program and our intention is to have it sometime this spring!
As someone who is completely ignorant of all things internet currency. can you please tell me how a beginner would go about getting into investing? (Lets say I have $10k of disposable income currently, would you suggest investing it all in bitcoin?) Hey Buildingdreams4,
That's a pretty hard question to answer, and so I can't give you an official Vault of Satoshi answer but I can give you a personal opinion. So please note this is my two cents and nothing VoS official.
Personally I have some experience in day trading and that's the best way to make money in such markets - however that's the kind of situation where you have to take risks, actively watch the market and only ever trade with what you have to lose (not only to avoid loss but also to make sure you are willing to take the level of risk needed to make strong returns.) I'd highly recommend learning about Forex trading before you dive into this.
That being said the Bitcoin community still feels strongly that their currency value will rise, subject to merchant adoption, legal/political landscapes and a number of other factors but I can't really comment on that as it is a real challenge to predict; there is also a great deal of merit to a number of altcoins with unique value - but just make sure you research and make informed decisions. Don't take anyone's advice at face value (mine included) research and invest where you feel comfortable.
What does vault think about VOS bitcoin atms? What can we do as customers to help you guys make this site better? As far as what customers can do - simply share the love! Tell your friends about VoS and always feel free to reach out to is with what you want to see on our site.
What about a physical location for vault deposits and verifications? We are currently examining new infrastructure opportunities that would allow us to accept physical deposits in more locations and we hope to have more information about that soon!
How does your reporting with with CRA? As for the CRA reporting I'm not sure what your exact question is, but as a registered business we report to the CRA in a typical fashion.
Is there any way to shorten deposit times? I'm super impressed that I can pay you like a bill directly from my bank account, but I'm bummed about how long it takes. If I send money to my vos account on a Thursday, I may not see those funds until Monday or Tuesday. If the exchange is open for trading on weekends, how about processing deposits as well? Hey Jay.
Also, what is done with the confidential info people upload to become verified? is it deleted? if it's kept on file, is access to it restricted to certain employees? We're currently working on a system that will allow immediate deposits via online debit! No formal time line yet but that will indeed make things much quicker!
Keep up the good work! Thank you. As for confidential information, if you have ever made a financial transaction on our website then we are required by law to keep a copy of that information. We take this responsibility very seriously, this information is encrypted and stored securely and is most certainly restricted access!
That's cool! Awesomesauce! I'm looking forward to it! Do you know if it will be limited like QuickBT (.2 BTC) or if there is some kind of daily limit? Also: when trading doge to btc I swear it took me half an hour to figure exactly how many doge I could buy with my btc including the fee. And I did it all wrong. I still have like .00066 btc left in my account which I guess is forfeit to the ether... Is there any way to put a helpful calculator on that page that figures it out for you??? As for your other question, as Xangelo said, we are working on improving the layout of our coin to coin system to make it less complicated. Being one of the first major exchanges to offer any coin to any coin means there is going to have to be some tweaking while we find out what the marketplace likes! But we're always open to feedback!
Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck sized horses? Please elaborate. Feel free to answer individually. If there is anything that years of video game playing has taught me it's always pick the bigger monster over a ton of little ones! A hundred duck sized horses could quite quickly surround and nip and kick from all angles. Where as I feel that whilst a horse-sized duck would be absolutely terrifying my odds are better as I can always keep it in front of me (and perhaps distract it with breadcrumbs)
Also do you guys have any plans to change the buy/sell mechanic? I find its way too easy to accidentally make a buy order when you meant to make a sell order. As for the buy/sell mechanic it is something we are actively implementing and expect to launch in a couple weeks! Will make it easier to keep that straight!
My question: To be honest I've been using CaVirtex.How* would you say yours is better? We stand by our service as we are sure they do theirs, but at the end of the day it's about what better suits your needs. At the end of the day competition makes the market better for everybody!
Specifically, I would like to know what the nature of their cooperation and level of engagement is. Do they provide VoS with the absolute minimum of services as they would with any other business? Are they accommodative to specific VoS needs and requests related to crypto-currency specific challenges? Are they mutually active in developing services and infrastructure to support VoS/crypto-currencies? Are they taking a leading role in facilitating the necessary changes to support this new industry and growing public demand? Are you provided with a liaison to facilitate a closer working relationship? That being said when we did work with them they were fantastic, very supportive, and loved our business; the local branch went to some great lengths to help with our unique challenges and we certainly hope we can work with them again in the future.
Thanks for the reply! I feared as much having read about Cointrader in Vancouver being cut off by BMO in February. If I can follow up, how are your banking needs currently being met? We're currently actually streamlining our financials and will have more announcements on this soon. New partnerships are opening up doors to new payment methods and currencies and we're excited about that.
Are you planning to offer other services with altcoins? or you want to keep it solely as an exchange? We are exploring services beyond just exchange services - but we have no formal timelines on them yet! We'll be sure to let folks know!
Are you operating a full or fractional reserve and how much liquidity do you have available if tomorrow all clients wanted to withdraw all their funds? We are a full reserve exchange. We do have our holdings divided between our hot and cold wallets and top our hot wallet as it gets low. But we do have all the BTC we claim to and are actively working on a Proof of Solvency tool to verify this to users.
Which altcoins do you see as strongest going forward? Anything that has a unique value proposition and a strong community has the ability to go places but it's pretty hard to gauge these in advanced. We expect great things from the coins we've added/intend to add over the next month, which have all been announced.
Good to know Yubikey's available, thanks xangelo. Maybe one of your execs can chime in on the qualifications needed to join your verification team but that has me wondering...if a customer opens an account with VoS, can they still be hired, then close their account of course, or is that an automatic disqualification? By the way I didn't see a careers section on your site, are there plans for that once volume and I guess revenue increase? Just because you have an account with us, does not mean that you would be barred from applying for a job.
Currently we don't have any openings but when we do we'll be posting them to our website and all current positions would be located at our Brantford office.
Our verification system was designed by our exec team and our compliance officer and aided by our legal team; and our support staff handle the verifications. (Wasn't sure what you meant by "verification team") as for requirements for any opening, we'll be sure to post them with up coming jobs! Thanks for your inquiry though!
Thanks for clearing that up, I appreciate your thoroughness. Yes sorry, I was just speaking about FinCen to someone else before replying to this. I did mean Fintrac and I've edited the post!
I don't want to draw this exchange out too much but what puzzles me is your statement about FinCen compliance. If you're currently not accepting US customers, why would FinCEN compliance even be relevant? Let's say a customer lives in Canada. Wouldn't you simply have to comply with FINTRAC regulations, seeing as that's an a Canadian agency? And one other thing. Does Vos report transaction details to the CRA to meet fiscal obligations? As for CRA reporting I can not comment on that, however we follow all legal requirements of a financial institution dealing with proper reporting.
How does the US IRS deal effect things on your end? did this announcement open the door back up for USD wire transfers? The IRS statement actually doesn't change to much for us, FinCEN and other entities still consider it as currency - we're still actively looking into US options and moving forward on some with our legal team.
Do you see cryptocurrency status changing in Canada as a result of the US ruling? Do you have any indication of the direction that the bureaucrats will take? We have met with our Member of Provincial Parliament, are meeting with our Member of Parliament and are having a meeting with the Minister of Finance arranged to continue to advocate on behalf of cryptocurrency in Canada.
From everything we've been hearing, we're optimistic about Canada's role in the future of Cryptocurrency, people have been very forward thinking and accepting here!
Disapointed you're getting ride of the free cash-out by cheque. And do you plan to have some sort of automated EFT withdraw ? you allready have my bank account into. Write now it would seem simpler to move my BTC to cavirtex when I'm ready to make a withdraw to my bank account, as I can do it from the website. What am I missing here ? thanks. We are rolling out a number of new payment methods shortly that will make withdrawals easier for our clients.
Hey guys, thanks for doing this AMA. You were my first exchange, and gave me a warm welcome to the world of Cryptocurrency (free trading through Reddit promo, invited me for Doge cake) I've actually had the pleasure of talking to some reps from the MintChip program - we kept a careful eye on it but I know that the Mint is selling it off to private enterprise. While it is in a different space from us we are always looking at the evolving landscape of digital money and what can be done to promote that in Canada.
I was going to ask about your stance on MintChip, the Canadian government's digital currency program, but I just read they were looking to sell it off! Has there been any interest at Vault of Satoshi about this technology? While I don't think there is any direct partnership opportunities at this time it is always something on our radar and I think that MintChip was an interesting hardware development and it was great to see a federal institution being so forward thinking!
Can you tell us when and if you'll be able to operate as an exchange with USD? We currently do accept USD, we just can't accept it from US citizens or institutions.
That being said we are glad to announce we have identified our US re-entry strategy and are moving forward to launching in a few states first. We have no formal timeline on this yet, but it's a big step in the right direction.
Quick question, if in the future I choose to close my account with VOS, will all my info and history also be deleted from your servers? As per government regulations if you have ever made a financial transaction we are required to keep your information on file for seven years.
If you have not made a financial transaction you may email us with a request to delete your information. Please note that the request will be kept on file.
Hey guys, Are there plans to incorporate google authenticator? Thanks and keep up the good work! User we already support Google Authenticator, YubiKey, SMS, and Email for 2FA and will be adding Authy and Gemalto soon!
Is your $99 per month Unlimited Plan in USD or CAD? Please state it on your website. It is currently billed in USD as that's more widely accepted with our international audience.
When will Darkcoin, Worldcoin, Mintcoin, Cryptogenic Bullion, and Maxcoin be added? Those coins will be added in the next few weeks! We're pretty excited about that!
Hi there! I have a level 2 VOS account. I'm not really comfortable filling out the form for level 3. Currently I have to use QuickBT or an ATM to get BTC - which sometimes I turn into DOGE. (THANK YOU FOR ADDING BTC<->DOGE! you guys are lifesavers!!) We're actually working on adding an instant online Interac payment system, still no formal timeline but it's in the works. As for email transfers from BMO, BMO has come out and said they aren't working with businesses that operate in cryptocurrencies and so we can't accept funds from them on anything that would require us to have a BMO account or registration there. But, we can accept Pre-authorized debit and wire transfers from accounts there! Also feel free to email me about any concerns you may have about the level 3 account and I'll see if can't reassure you! ([email protected])
Just wondering why there is no support for an Email Transfer from BMO. Or online Interac payment, as that's the only reason I use QuickBT.
Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or a hundred duck sized horse. I prefer horse sized ducks! What a kamikaze!
Don't be so sure. YES! Take that Angelo! Horsefish!
'disabled login' Another word, the exchange is down. I've been trying to login and access my funds for the past 5 hours. We're back up now!
No need to be alarmed though people; this is just a result of VoS being pro-active with patching up the latest SSL security bug (heartbleed). Ah yes, that is indeed a side-effect of the patch. While our systems weren't directly effected a load balance server hosted by Amazon would have been so to be better safe than sorry we've got them patching it and we are rolling over to new SSL certs! Always better safe than sorry!
I can see your exchange being the top exchange in Canada. Great work! I will come up to brantford one day after my exams and bring you guys some timmies, depending on the weather it could be coffee or ice caps, or just let me know ha :) As for the UI we're currently giving it an overhaul on our internal servers and hope to have more info on that soon!
I know it's not much but I just sent 6000 Dogecoins :) Every bit helps :)
Whats the yearly revenue and profit of your company? Sorry, as a private company we are going to abstain from answering that one - but even if we wanted too, we couldn't; we've only been around for six months so far!
Last updated: 2014-04-12 19:27 UTC
This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
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