Bank of Nova Scotia currency Converter

Malcolm Morley

Malcolm MorelyHow did you get started in foreign exchange? Malcolm: I started off in the City of London, working for Bankers Trust International in their cash department. Then I got a job as a foreign exchange trader at the Bank of Nova Scotia, still in the City. My job there was to liaise with the Toronto head office trading operation and to eventually move to Toronto. That was in 1972.

I was, therefore, introduced to trading foreign exchange very early on as a young man and I fell in love with it. I thought it was brilliant. My career since then has taken on a number of guises, but has centered typically around foreign exchange, bank treasury operations and computing. My professional career has always involved finance in one way or the other. It's taken me all over the world.

After Scotia, I traded foreign exchange in the US. Later I worked for Citibank in their North African and Middle East regional office in Athens and traveled extensively around the region—Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt, places like that. I also worked for Citibank's operations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

After Saudi Arabia, I briefly worked in Bermuda, and then I worked in Switzerland for a number of years. Eventually I ended up working for the Credit Suisse head office. They sent me to Australia in 1989 to their operation here, Credit Suisse Bullion Pacific. I was the project manager in charge of writing a complete banking system for their boutique Gold Bullion operation. CSBP was quite a specialist merchant bank, pretty unusual to be honest—trading physical bullion as well as all kinds of weird gold derivatives. Finally, my last 'real job' before becoming a full-time private trader was as CIO for Prudential-Bache Securities in Australia. I went solo as a private trader in 1999. Foreign exchange is now my primary vocation.

That's an extensive resume! Malcolm: It gives you a little bit of background. I've always loved trading. But long term, I always wanted to do it for myself. I was always a little disappointed in banking because it's so removed from the retail side. Foreign exchange, until relatively few years ago, was the domain of the banks because they were the only ones who had access to 'wholesale spreads'—basically the interbank trading market was a private club. As an individual, you couldn't trade forex because you would be paying a much larger spread, and have physical settlement issues. Of course that has all changed.

I eventually got into trading for myself, through equities of course, because that was the first liberated market for a retail person. A few years ago you guys came along and it became possible, almost for the first time, for individuals to trade foreign exchange at interbank prices. That's when I made the switch completely from equities to foreign exchange. It was like coming home for me.

Did you go to university? Malcolm: I don't have a university degree, but I do have my banking qualifications. At the time I should have been going on to higher education but my parents moved. I made the decision to just go out into the actual world to try and make it. While I didn't have the university qualifications, I realized I had an extra three years up my sleeve—so I got my banking qualifications really young. That really helped me get ahead in the City and probably was a contributing factor to how I got on the trading desk so young.

Are there specific currency pairs that you trade? Malcolm: I analyze everything. I analyze every pair you have on your books. I don't have any favorites in terms of what I want to analyze. However, I don't trade much in the way of exotics because I find the spread is impossible to overcome.

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  • Malcolm Morley (born June 7, 1931) is an English artist now living in the United States. He is best known as a photorealist.
    Morley was born in north London. He had a troubled childhood—after his home was blown up by a bomb during World War II, his family was...
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