The Good Old Days of FX Trading - 1986 Style

A reminder for some of us older folks, and some eye-opening for some of the younger ones.
The following links are to a documentary about FX Trading from 1986.

The top video clip is a the short 5 minute version.

For those who wish to see the full 30 minute documentary, click below:

Some of the highlights:

  • 10 point spreads. 
  • Phoning your overseas office before leaving home to tell them you plan to bash the currency lower when you get in.
  • Overt price manipulation as part of normal activities.  
  • Phoning on a handheld phone.
  • Smoking in the office.
  • No bonus (Commission) for trading.
  • Barclays known as a sleepy high street bank. 
  • Surprise that a trader is earning more than a high street bank manager. 
  • The use of the term City Gent.
  • A bank even allowing the cameras in to see its activities and allowing its name to be used.  
  • Chemical Bank (For those younger viewers, a giant of its day, and eventually merged to become a significant part of JP Morgan Chase)
  • Some of the names on the Reuters terminal. E.g. 'Coco Cop' and of course the BFT Moscow.
  • Using a pager.
  • Cassettes in cars - and the Wall Street Shuffle.
  • Overt price manipulation.  
  • NO INTERNET or EMAIL ANYWHERE, People spoke to each-other.

But what is also clear, is that cutting through the Social, Technical, Cultural and Fashion Changes, is how little has really changed and how much is still the same.