LMAX's CEO breaks down the real impact of the U.K. crypto derivatives ban
The ban will take effect in January of next year, affecting crypto brokers, investment platforms, financial advisers and, of course, derivatives exchanges. But, David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Group, said what the ban really does is effectively halve the leverage. The FCA had already limited leverage to retail customers to two to one, now it's one to one. "You've banned derivatives, but actually you've just halved leverage. It's one to one rather than two to one. That's all that's really happened," said Mercer. "What they're saying to everyone, you can own crypto assets you just can't own it on leverage. " Still, Mercer said there is a duty in capital markets to protect retail investors and firms have a duty of care. LMAX Group is a regulated broker in the U.K. trading mostly spot, but clients still pass suitability tests indicating their understanding of the product. Working with regulators, even when you disagree with them — and Mercer said he does disagree with the ban — is key. Mercer laid out why he thinks the FCA took such an aggressive approach on this issue as well as its implications on this episode of The Scoop. He also touched on: Why normal corporate firms are beginning to set aside part of their balance sheets to bitcoin, and why Mercer says it's inevitable that bigger traditional funds begin allocating portions of their portfolio to bitcoin How the market responded to regulator cases against Bitmex The implications of the FCA ban and how the regulator's influence might change by ignoring crypto stakeholders Why he thinks a significant bank will move into the marketplace in 2021 and what that will do for crypto.