I think I can say with confidence that 2020 has been the strangest year in my career to date. The FX markets have faced their share of global crises and geopolitical disruptions over the decades, yet nothing comes close to the impact of COVID.
While these other periods saw a significant surge in FX volatility, they did not have the accompanying stresses that were caused by the dislocations of lockdown and working from home. Having your colleagues close to hand and being able to meet your customers and industry partners in-person provided structure, even when the markets were volatile.
Despite the challenges COVID posed, which was something of a trial by fire for our industry, we all adapted quickly and have ended the year in a position of strength. We are not out of the woods yet, however, there are many reasons to be optimistic about 2021.
The diverse nature of FX markets, which brings together banks, asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies, corporates, and retail traders and consumers, has proved resilient thanks to its diversity of participants, strong and longstanding trading relationships, and well-established workflows and norms.
At the same time, the role of technology cannot be ignored. As with many other industries, COVID created the necessary conditions for innovation by accelerating trends. With no time left on the clock, many were forced to switch to new technologies that have revolutionized the way we work. Greater electronic trading, automated workflows, and cloud solutions to power a distributed workforce has made the industry more agile and stronger.
I am incredibly proud of the way our industry has not simply coped but adapted and overcome during these difficult conditions. Here’s wishing our industry friends and colleagues, who have worked incredibly hard this year, safe and happy holidays and a much better 2021!