Categories
Trading News

New CFTC Rules for Retail Forex Trading

Can I say I told you so? 🙂

The CFTC has finally come through with its new rules on retail foreign exchange, which come into effect on October 18th, 2010 (Q&A about the new rules can be found here). Despite fears to the contrary, the CFTC will not be cutting permissible leverage in retail forex trading down to 10:1. The people have been heard! There was so much contrary opinion against that move from traders and brokers that the regulators were forced to rethink the plan.

That said, the CFTC will, however, be restricting leverage to no more than 50:1 (2% margin requirement) on the major currencies (5% on regional currencies). This is basically taking the NFA restriction put in place last year for 100:1 max leverage and tightening it up. I’m sure that’s going to have some folks up in arms, but the reality is that most of your better traders never go much beyond 10:1 actual leverage. Further, one of the biggest forex brokers out there, Oanda, has never permitted more than 50:1 leverage.

I know this won’t have any impact on my trading, nor encourage me to move my account outside the US. What about you?

Categories
Trading News

More New Margin Requirements

I posted before about the NFA’s new rules on maximum forex trading leverage permissible for traders with US brokerage accounts (see New NFA Retail Forex Leverage Restrictions). Those went into effect on Monday. Tuesday new leverage rules kicked in for the trading in leveraged ETFs. Darwin’s Finance has a good write-up on the subject.

I find it somewhat interesting that margins on short ETFs is higher than on long ones. Granted, equities do tend to move more rapidly to the downside, but a double long ETF is going to move just as quickly as a double short when the market is falling (considering day time frame moves here, which is what the leveraged ETFs are intended to track). It’s basic math, so I see no real justification for the higher margin between the two.

The other interesting part of this is that even with the new margin requirements you can still trade at effectively 4:1 leverage. That’s a fair amount of leverage when you consider how much volatility there can be in the markets underlying these ETFs. Many experienced forex traders don’t go much beyond 10:1 leverage when they trade, and that’s in a lower volatility market (see Looking at Volatility Across Markets)