As a Trader Representative who is quite clearly on the side of a market renewal I often get involved in arguments about what traders really want. Without a comprehensive trader poll it is difficult to be definitive but I am about to write two statements that may sound quite stupid.
- Most traders don't want this renewal.
- Most traders do want change.
How can that be? Quite simply, it is not a renewal that traders are against. It is the unknowns attached to a renewal that make it so difficult. Many traders say - "We don't want this renewal but we do know we have to have it." What did Prime Minister Paul Keating say "The recession we had to have"? I believe that most traders recognise the need to change aspects of our market so that it better serves customers, but it is the elements of uncertainty that make it difficult to embrace.
Now that aspects of the renewal have been more clearly revealed in the Implementation Framework we have to face up to some realities, and whilst there will hopefully be a pot of gold at the end, and some attractive short term elements (temporary showcase markets) along the way, there are some components that create uncertainty. Things like messy construction zones and "Will I have a spot at the end of all this?" are issues that traders are concerned about - and so they should be.
That is why there is this rush by management to provide some surety. We now have a guarantee that every trader will have a position at QVM at least until 2022. We also now learn that the intent is for the current level of 720 odd traders (no, the traders are not odd, the number is) will be expanded to 900 traders. Discussion around construction zones includes a number of measures such as heavy construction occurring during non-market hours.
Malcolm McCullough's letter to traders over the weekend added some more surety to the process including measuring market performance during the transition, and adjusting efforts to make sure customers keep coming and traders are supported. The proposal for a Retail Trader Category Manager is a good one. Every trader should be able to pick up the phone and contact a QVM manager to discuss issues and concerns as they arise.
We still need to talk about things like some form of compensation in the case of severely disadvantaged traders but we are on the right track. Keeping ourselves informed, attending meetings and speaking to our future Retail Trader Category Managers will become more important as the process rolls on.
By Greg Smith