Norway's wealth fund seeks better currency market deal for clients

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, on Friday called for more transparency in global foreign exchange markets to cut the cost of transactions and make them more efficient.

Changes to the structure of currency trading should seek a more level playing field for clients in order to cut excess profits for dealers and ensure a better balance of risk, it argued in a policy paper.

“We believe that transparency and verifiability are key to mitigating the impact of informational advantages, without negatively affecting the liquidity of this important market,” the fund said.

Three elements of currency trading warranted particular attention and should be reformed, the fund said, stopping short of calling for their removal.

The ‘Last Look’ function, allowing spot dealers to potentially renege on an earlier price quote, is biased and should be compensated for with tighter spreads and deeper liquidity, it said.

The second element, algorithmic execution strategies, are generally better at protecting the dealer than the client, and better risk controls and transparency should potentially lead to the introduction of third-party algorithms, it said.

The third proposal seeks to remove a “disconnect” between dealer quotes and prices in the interdealer market, which makes it hard for clients to know if they get the best possible transaction.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik; editing by John Stonestreet