By now, most in the forex world are familiar with the details surrounding the Swiss National Bank’s bombshell announcement on January 15th.

The news was shocking. The reaction was unprecedented. The aftermath was tragic.

Upon the release of a four paragraph statement, trading accounts were obliterated, companies that were once “pillars of strength” in the marketplace were decimated, and hundreds of hard-working employees were left without a job.

As a management team each of us has at least 10 years of history within the fx community and in the past, have worked closely with several people who have now become casualties of this event.

These are real people, with real lives and real families who depend on them.

I have to be honest that I found it incredibly disturbing (though unfortunately not surprising) that the first broker “promo” arrived in my personal inbox only hours after the SNB announcement. It touted their own foresight and brilliance at being able to escape this event unscathed and was offering a “bonus” to attract new traders.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important for a broker to communicate with their client base during such times and it’s fine to talk about your internal risk management policies. However it struck us as a bit inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to the people who just lost so much to be turning this into a targeted “Marketing Opportunity”.

The dust hadn’t even settled and the vultures were already circling.

Mt.Cook also came through this event unscathed but to imply that this was attributed entirely to our own talents and foresight would be self-serving and misleading.

Although our risk management, tech setup, high minimum deposits and 100:1 maximum leverage are designed to filter out “punters” (for lack of a better term) and attract professionals, there was still an element of good fortune involved.

Since we run an agency model and STP all our trades, it wouldn’t take a huge number of clients being on the wrong side of CHF trades (even moderately leveraged) to do a lot of damage given the extreme price movement.

So even though we took good measures to protect ourselves it was still possible for us to have been impacted by this event and I daresay the same is true for some of those brokers now sitting on their high horse and scheming ways to profit from other’s misfortune.

If there’s any silver lining to this darkest cloud, it’s this; our context relating to any “commitments” by central banks going forward has been forever changed.

The magnitude of the price movement was a direct result of the market’s prevailing confidence that the SNB would aggressively defend the 1.20000 EURCHF level (a position they reinforced only days prior to Jan. 15th).

This created a “Perfect Storm” scenario.

As the price hovered within 5-10 pips of the 1.20000 floor, many traders believed that the risk to reward ratio was tilted heavily in their favor and went long EURCHF using atypically larger lot sizes.

It wasn’t just the size of the move that led to such carnage (though the gap was unprecedented) but it was the number of people that were loading up on EURCHF longs and the proportional size of their trades.

The SNB taught the market a very painful lesson that I’m certain will remain forged into the minds of most traders and brokers.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t ever experience surprises in the market or big gaps in prices. You can never remove the possibility of “black swan” events (natural disasters, unexpected economic data, geo-political unrest, acts of terror etc) but the memory of January 15th and the ensuing repercussions will at least change how we act on commitments made by central bankers, especially when it comes to pegging currencies.

There are definitely lessons to be learned and applied from what transpired and for those of us unaffected I believe we can walk away stronger.

But for those good people who lost accounts/careers/enterprises let’s try to extend a little grace and compassion.