A multi-billion-dollar collapse of crypto exchange FTX and the likely contagious effect on similar companies, has sparked fears that retail and institutional investors will continue to pay a heavy price unless the sector adopts some oversight.
Lee Saba, co-chair of the FIX Trading Community, representing more than 290 leading financial service companies, spanning six continents, and focused on multi-asset electronic trading commented:
“There will always be people who don’t want regulators on their case which, to my mind, is equivalent to a mafia gang saying, ‘I don’t want police sniffing around my neighborhood’.
“However, after numerous crypto failures, from FTX, Celsius, Voyager, and 3AC to Quadriga, when do we say enough is enough and begin making proper, pragmatic, and compliant use of these revolutionary technology innovations? How many more investors must be punished before action is taken?
“FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 11 before stepping down from his post. In documents filed days later, it was revealed FTX could owe billions to more than one million creditors.”
Saba – also CTO & Head of Market Structure at New York broker-dealer Rialto Markets – says this development strongly reiterated the need for a clampdown on investors’ exposure to risk.
He added: “The financial industry is regulated for a reason, to establish rules and regulations and enforce them to protect investors from human failings and bad practice, much like the traditional legislative body and police force who ‘serve and protect’ the public from criminals.
“The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is the top cop working to enforce the financial laws of the land. It can range from routine violations to more serious crimes, like selling or trading securities that have not been properly vetted for public consumption.
“Irrespective of the investment vehicle or asset class, investors of all types need to be protected to assure economic stability and reliability in our capital markets system. These protections currently exist via broker dealers, exchanges and – an obvious and immediate solution to the crypto problem – existing ATSs. It is imperative that we extend this to all asset classes for all investors.
“Historically, markets that have introduced regulations focused on investor protection have thrived. As more protection was needed, additional regulations were added, and those markets grew even more. All parties involved in these markets need to take that lesson to heart and establish and enforce investor protection.
“So, cryptocurrency’s current ‘Wild West’ needs the sheriffs to saddle up and ride in fast to prevent more investors becoming unwitting victims so, with greater regulatory adherence we should see more confidence, enabling this emerging market to flourish.
“But we must be careful not to let hysteria and recent events condemn all crypto companies, NFTs and other forms of fractionalized assets, because they also offer huge potential for impact and positive change for the future of financial markets.”