Guest Editorial: Leverate General Counsel Steven Kruger likens law and retail FX to Kylie Minogue

As a seasoned attorney, Steven Kruger states that he has had a longstanding passion for law since the start of his career 15 years ago. In this LeapRate Guest Editorial, Leverate‘s General Counsel makes a comparison between two seemingly polar opposites.

Once, while discussing the history of law with some colleagues, I mentioned in passing that law and Kylie Minogue have more in common than may be initially apparent. As a result of the good natured ribbing I received in an attempt to clear up what at first glance looked to be a hopeless inconsistency, I have now taken it upon myself to list some commonalities between law and Kylie Minogue.

Commercial law has been derived over a period of several centuries, but must continue to evolve in order to maintain credibility and relevance. This evolution has resulted in a framework which ultimately forms a stable yet fluid body of legislature. History has shown that a complete revolution of law will lead to anarchy and instability – just look at the French revolution. The old system of law and order collapsed, new laws came about and society descended quickly into anarchy and the heads of the old orders’ enforcers were parted of their bodies to the sound of mass hysteria at the concerts of the guillotine.

The laws with respect to the retail Forex industry have thus evolved. Originally the market was very similar to America’s Wild West, where regulations were few and far between and enforcement was even scarcer.

Countries realized that it was necessary to protect traders from unscrupulous brokerages. Accordingly licensing regulations, such as the MiFID regulations, and other aspects of the law in respect of FX were put into effect. The courts and regulators now have to ensure that these laws and regulation evolve to meet both the requirements of traders and FX providers. Further the law will have to keep abreast of the new changes in technology. As the technology changes so to should the law in order to ensure that like the latest technology, it is always up to date.

Similarly, Kylie Minogue’s core style was formed when she first emerged as a popular recording artist, nearly 30 years ago, and by remaining true to her image, she has captured the hearts of her fans. Yet even her first steps into singing were a powerful display of her talent for adaptability, as she successfully transitioned from her role as a relatively innocuous soap star into that of a singing sensation.

Kylie started her most illustrious career as an actress on an Australian soap opera. She was a small town girl who was nationally known. However, she was willing to take risks, for example when she wore those famous the gold hot pants for her locomotion music video. This along with other savvy business moves catapulted her from an Australian talent to a global superstar. She, is no longer just a pop princess, she is a fashion icon, a business woman that has released her own fragrances, a movie star and a consummate performer.

Indeed this also reflects the path which retail FX has trodden, like Kylie, retail FX trading started off small. It began as an innocuous pastime to many small investors who traded mostly via small companies with a dealing desk. Gone are those days, now the FX superstar is the electronic trading platform.

Kylie has moved in many directions with her music and style and business interests and so has FX trading. It has gone from a “small town girl” to a stature of being ubiquitous and internationally known. It too has evolved to accept the highest quality execution speed, A-book liquidity and all sorts of adaptations to international markets with companies offering a wide selection of products to appeal not only different client bases but also all manner of regulatory frameworks and execution requirements worldwide and thus its style, and business now is completely different to its roots. FX now marches to a different beat.

She stays relevant by also creating her own lyrics and adding new styles to her repertoire. Like the law she has she has evolved from the fresh faced girl next door to sexy vixen. Her career has evolved from pop, to rock to techno and she herself has changed with the mode and the times. Kylie has shown us that, similar to the path taken by law, it is necessary to evolve to be relevant and too move with the times. She, like law, has embraced change in order to move forward in a new environment.

Therefore, law must always be prepared to face challenges resulting from changes in society and technology, and the fate of civilizations has sometimes rested on whether the courts are courageous enough meet these challenges. The viability and the credibility of a court is how it deals with adversity and if it is willing to be brave enough to make hard decisions. For example, no matter your ideological leanings, it is hard to deny that the United States Supreme Court had the strength and the fortitude to make a decision in respect of the hotly contested Presidential election of 2000 that it knew would be the decisive factor that set up the next decade in world politics.

Kylie has also been faced with trials from which she refused to run away and she has been courageous enough meet these challenges. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the early age of 37 necessitating surgery and chemotherapy. Many celebrities would have withdrawn from the public eye to cope with a serious condition of this nature. Kylie, however, turned her personal misfortune into an opportunity to teach the public more about the disease. She made the hard decision to go back on stage and complete her Show Girl tour a short while after she had finished chemotherapy. Kylie, like the law, was prepared to face challenges and meet her expectations reflecting her credibility.

Indeed this reflects the path which retail FX has trodden, since retail investors were able to take their first taste of trading FX via an electronic platform over fifteen years ago, it started as an innocuous pastime to many small investors, mostly via small companies with a dealing desk. Nowadays, retail FX trading is ubiquitious and internationally known, having evolved to accept the highest quality execution speed, A-book liquidity and all sorts of adaptations to international markets with companies offering a wide selection of products to appeal not only different client bases but also all manner of regulatory frameworks and execution requirements worldwide.

So it comes to pass that there is nothing like a good piece of drafting!! A good legal agreement is creative and perfectly punctuated and streamlined to put the intention of the parties across and to put their points of view firmly into perspective just like Kylie’s songs put her view into perspective and put her point across. Her songs are drafted and crafted to evoke and emote. So too, a well written judgment is almost lyrical in it reading, just like the lyrics and music of a Kylie song.

For these reasons, I believe that there exists an exquisite symmetry between law and Kylie Minogue’s personal aesthetic.

Performing a comparison of this nature is a reminder of all the pleasure that I have derived from the practice of law. It reminds me that anything can be argued and put forward. Lawyers have to be creative in all aspects of practice. Our role is to find solutions to problems – to be the fixers. Creativity involves looking at facts and the law from all angles so that eventually it is possible to argue the case and put forward an argument of two things that seem completely unrelated, for example, between something as important as the law and the inconsequential career of a pop singer.

This is a guest editorial written by commercial lawyer Steven Kruger, General Counsel at Leverate.

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