Startup aims to help industry adhere to FX Global Code

The Bank for International Settlements FX Global Code of Conduct was introduced almost a year ago, with more than 100 market participants committed.

A new London-based consultancy startup is aiming to help foreign exchange (FX) market participants comply with the FX Global Code of Conduct, almost a year after it was introduced.

Axiom Global Advisors has been founded by FX industry veterans Nick Downes and Julian Gladwin who will provide independent business assessments and recommendations to clients on their adherence to the Code.

Downes is currently CEO of FX Advisory and has previously held senior positions at major investment banks including Citibank, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Prior to joining FX Advisory, he was head of electronic distribution at Commerzbank, overseeing the bank’s eFX business and coverage.

Gladwin is currently an associate at risk mitigation consultancy Elixirr. Previously he was director of relationship management at FX settlement firm CLS. Gladwin has also held positions at Standard Chartered, Northern Trust and Lehman Brothers.

The FX Global Code was introduced in May 2017 by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to establish a common set of guidelines for market participants. It does not impose a legal or regulatory obligation to market participants, but the BIS said it hopes the Code will be understood and adopted across the entire FX market.

“There is significant demand for a service that reviews adherence to the Global Code,” Gladwin commented.

“[Downes] and I were originally approached by a regional bank, which wanted an independent company to conduct a review of their FX procedures in relation to the Code. They contacted us because they specifically wanted a company with expertise in wholesale FX, including execution, FX operations and technology.”

In recent years, major scandals have seen huge fines handed out to investment banks like Bank of America, UBS, RBS, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Barclays who paid a combined $5.6 billion to settle allegations of rigging FX markets.

Earlier this week, the Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) announced that more than 100 market participants have provided statements of commitments to the FX Global Code, including investment banks like Barclays and Deutsche Bank.

“The FX Global Code is a positive development for the FX market, but it should not be seen as a box-ticking exercise. Adherence is only the first step, and as the market evolves, so will the Global Code. Market participants need to consider how and when they are going to review their adherence,” Downes concluded.