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Take your eye off the ball
[Spoiler alert…the metaphorical ball is MiFID II.]
There’s a great awareness test on You Tube guaranteed to catch out all who watch
it. On screen are two basketball teams: one dressed in black, the other in white.
As a viewer, you are asked to count the amount of passes the team wearing white
makes, as they whip the ball around between their opponents while ducking, diving
and pulling off some impressive trick shots.
The video then pauses and asks ‘how many passes did the team in white make?’.
Now any semi-competitive person will have kept a close eye on the ball, thinking to
themselves ‘you know what, I think I followed it perfectly, it was 13’.
Answer comes up on the screen – 13. Well done you – probably. Just as you’re
simultaneously congratulating yourself and mocking simplicity of the ‘challenging
awareness test’, another message appears on screen.
‘But did you see the moonwalking bear?’.
When the video plays again and you’re not concentrating so attentively on the ball,
it is then that you see a man in bear costume moonwalking across the screen, right in
front of your eyes.
Nobody saw it the first time, so don’t worry. After all that was the point of the test,
to show that when you concentrate so vigorously on one thing, something else may
pass you by.
MiFID II has created a seismic shift in the trading landscape across Europe, drawing the attention of the buy-side towards its glare. But it’s important to remember
other things are still happening in the industry, and nobody ever got into trading so
they could sit and read about regulations five days a week.
There have been a lot of traders leaving their roles and embarking on pastures new,
often largely down to regulatory pressures changing the nature of their role.
We also know that for many head traders, the position means keeping up with
market infrastructure changes and regulations more than it does trading these days.
There’s a chance that stepping away from your core duties and pouring incredible
amounts of time into understanding and complying with MiFID II could put your
motivation and enjoyment of the role at risk.
So before we hit you with a heavy MiFID II loaded magazine in winter, consider
our autumn issue a bit lighter on the regulatory stuff. Our Brexit tracker (page 12)
looks at the locations firms are eyeing up as their post-Brexit contingency plan. We
also look at the process of merging trading desks following a merger (page 26) and
the rise of volatility trading in 2017 (page 58).
Obviously there’s some MiFID II content mixed in with it all for good measure,
but just bear in mind that the world is still going on outside this
complex world of incredibly frustrating regulation. You never
know, taking your eye off the ball occasionally might just save
your job…and your Christmas this year.