The Italian Job’s cliff-hanger and what it tells us about FX trading

By on May 24th, 2016 in Editorial

As Charlie Croker – prostrate on the floor of a bus teetering over a precipice – stretches an arm out towards his fortune, piles of gold slide towards the back of the vehicle, threatening to tilt Charlie and his gang over the edge to their certain death. It’s the ultimate dilemma: jettison the gold? Or risk their lives to save it? The physics of the situation seem insurmountable (but were actually theoretically solved back in 2009, when the Royal Society of Chemistry held a competition inviting entrants to find a plausible way of saving the loot*).

The scene very literally evokes the uncertainty inherent in forex markets. Croker tentatively attempts to ascertain whether he is bullish or bearish re the bus’s seesawing predicament, in much the same way FX traders are at the mercy of complex, volatile mechanisms, trying to stay one step ahead of the curve and predict whether the value of currencies will rise or fall.

“FX traders are at the mercy of complex, volatile mechanisms, trying to stay one step ahead of the curve.”

Like Croker, many traders have no choice but to make their decisions in the absence of concrete information, with only educated guesswork to make sense of what is going on outside their metaphorical buses. Which way is the wind blowing? How stable is the ground beneath you? Might a passing hawk or dove land a dropping far enough from the bus’s fulcrum that it somersaults over the cliff’s edge like a tremendous metal lemming?

But hang on a minute, lads. We’ve got a great idea. Why expose yourself to unnecessary FX risks and hidden charges when you don’t need to? Would Charlie’s gang take off their shoes and throw them at the back of the bus? Of course not. Yet that’s what you’re doing when you exchange currency through banks and brokers: inviting avoidable losses and peril into your business.

At freemarket, our entire service is geared towards minimising the costs and uncertainty built into currency exchange. When everything around you is in flux, freemarket provides certainty and transparency with a fixed, unhidden 0.2% transaction fee that can save you up to 75% on your FX fees.

So keep the gold within arm’s reach and take advantage of the guaranteed savings and stability provided by freemarket.

*Answer:
1. Stabilise bus by smashing windows overlooking precipice.
2. Empty fuel tank at rear of vehicle by running engine.
3. Allow gang member out of bus to weigh down front end with rocks.


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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.


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