The Last Look…
Posted by Colin Lambert. Last updated: July 19, 2022
We said goodbye to a friend of mine – and many of you – with the laying to rest of Niall Coffey at the weekend.
In the week since I heard the terrible news that he had passed away at the all-too-young age of 46, I have reflected upon my relationship with Niall and the legacy he leaves behind in the industry. You would be hard-pressed to find someone with such impressive experience given his time in the banking, central banking, hedge fund and advisory industry. Few of us have succeeded in all sectors, but Niall did because he had intellect, passion and the ability to see both micro and macro details – and express them eloquently.
Niall worked at Allied Irish Banks as an FX trader, moved to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he was chief dealer FX, then spent four years at Graham Capital, before a stint at Millennium Management led to him establishing his own advisory firm Avoca Global Advisors.
I first got to know him properly in his time at the New York Fed and we spent many evenings on my visits there discussing (and occasionally arguing) the finer points of FX market structure, as well as the less than finer points of our respective football teams (the latter being an argument I always lost given our respective allegiances of Manchester United and West Ham United). Throughout the discussion was insightful, respectful and, most important, fun.
Niall was big on doing the right thing and he would be quick to call out what he considered poor conduct, and even though he left the New York Fed and was in the hedge fund world, he was a passionate supporter of the FX Global Code, understanding it was what was needed to establish a foundation of best practice in FX markets.
In recent years Niall brought his intensity and intellect to the debate over cryptocurrencies and it highlights his passionate approach to things in that he often cited the US Constitution in his arguments against the nascent asset class – that was how deep he would study issues. Again though, reading his comments on LinkedIn, the debate remained intense, but respectful. I happened to disagree with him on some of his points, but that never stopped us having a good chat that always ended on friendly terms with the promise that we would meet up on the next trip.
Tragically, that will not happen after his sudden death, and I send my condolences to his family, but I feel lucky to have so many good memories to look back upon. Events like this are hard to take and the over-riding emotion is extreme sadness that will take some time to dissipate, but Rest in Peace Niall – I am proud to have called you my friend.