What Is a Deal Slip?

A deal slip is a record of the details of foreign exchange (FX) transactions and is the primary way for forex brokers to maintain accurate records. Depending on the regulations in the jurisdiction of record, retention of each deal slip must be for a specific period. While used in foreign currency trading, the term also applies to trade activity in other financial markets including stocks, bonds, and options markets.

Deal slips are also known as a deal ticket.

Understanding a Deal Slip

Deal slips essentially function as receipts for trades, providing proof of a transaction execution at a specific price. Each ticket bears a unique serial number. The slip includes information such as the date, time of the transaction, amount of the trade, the transaction type including long or short, and the settlement date. Also, the deal slip identifies the parties involved in the trade.

Although deal slips have been used long before electronic trading became common, some are still printed on paper although many trading firms now record and store this information in a digital format.

How Deal Slips Are Used

Once a trade has been executed, the deal slip provides a record which helps in maintaining internal accounting reports, classifying trades for auditing and tax purposes, and categorizing transactions for analysis of trading patterns. After representatives from a firm’s trading desk complete the deal slip, it is usually forwarded to the organization’s back office so that the trade can be confirmed with counterparties and then settled by the settlement date.

Deal slips are an essential control for minimizing errors and auditing a firm’s records. They give all parties more confidence that markets are functioning properly.

The misuse of deal slips can even reveal fraudulent activity. For example, in 2009 The Wall Street Journal reported that disgraced investment advisor Bernie Madoff asked assistants to generate falsified trading tickets. Researching past prices for specific securities, these assistants used that data to create documents for trades that had never been executed but aligned with Madoff’s claims for his steady annual returns.

In another case, British securities broker Jonathan Bunn received a lifetime ban by the country’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) in 2010 for fraudulent trading. The losses cost his firm, Lewis Charles Securities, more than 2.6 million British pounds. Investigators discovered that Bunn had falsified deal slips which resulted in his firm holding an unmatched short position of more than 6.9 million shares of HSBC Holdings, leaving the firm vulnerable to high losses.