John Lothian Newsletter: CBOE’s Inquiry Focuses On Traders; RBC to Defend Itself Against CFTC Suit Rather Than Settle; JPMorgan in Talks Over Missing MF Global Customer Money

Apr 9, 2012

The CBOE’s ongoing inquiry into trading wrongdoing is said to focus on several years’ worth of trader order entry. The Royal Bank of Canada, rather than quietly settle with the CFTC over charges of illegal trading, has decided to push back and defend itself. JPMorgan Chase is talking with the MF Global trustee about possibly giving back money that it’s holding. In today’s top box, a MarketsWiki interview with economist and writer Michael Green about the state of the gold market in 2012, and its status as an alternative currency.

Observations – Statistics – Commentary

Chicago Fed Takes on OTC Issues

Friday I attended a symposium hosted by the Chicago Federal Reserve on central clearing of over-the-counter derivatives. The event attracted leading lights of derivatives law and academia, industry consultants, regulators, dealers, clearinghouses, investors and central bankers.

Discussions ranged from bankruptcy of market participants and clearinghouses, international regulatory cooperation and clearinghouse linkages and segregation and account protections.

The format included oral and powerpoint presentations by an eclectic collection of panelists, followed by a challenging and spirited discussion/debate interaction with the audience.

The event was another example of how the futures and OTC worlds are colliding. The worlds are not merging; they are on a collision course that will alter the shape of both marketplaces.

~ John J. Lothian


Exchange Finds the Pulse of Commodities Trading
To feed Asia’s growing demand for commodities, India’s Financial Technologies group embarked on an ambitious project—to establish a new pan-Asian exchange, focusing on select commodities and currency derivatives.

**** How do you spell “Puffery?”


‘London Whale’ Rattles Debt Market
By Gregory Zuckerman and Katy Burne Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
In recent weeks, hedge funds and other investors have been puzzled by unusual movements in some credit markets, and have been buzzing about the identity of a deep-pocketed trader dubbed “the London whale.” That trader, according to people familiar with the matter, is a low-profile, French-born J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. employee named Bruno Michel Iksil.


Canada banks need more mortgage oversight-OSFI
By Cameron French – Reuters
Canada’s financial services regulator is demanding that banks tighten their board oversight of mortgage lending practices as loan books soar and Canadians struggle under record debt loads.


Heavyweight hope of equity derivatives
Tim Cave – Financial News
It is often said of some relationships, that one without the other is less worthwhile than none at all. That notion could well apply to the increasingly symbiotic link within banks’ equities divisions between cash and derivatives.


CFTC Requests Public Comment On Application Submitted By Nadex Clearing, LLC For Registration As A Derivatives Clearing Organization
Press Release
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) is requesting public comment on an application submitted by Nadex Clearing, LLC for registration as a derivatives clearing organization. Comments should be submitted on or before May 7, 2012.


Five Minutes With Michael Green
Michael Green is an economist and writer who has worked as a senior official in the British government specializing in global finance. Green teamed up with Matthew Bishop, New York bureau chief of The Economist, to write the book IN GOLD WE TRUST? The Future of Money in an Age of Uncertainty. Green talked to editor/producer Nicole V. Rohr about prospects for gold in 2012, and inflation worries leading to the creation of alternative forms of currency.

Q: What were your goals in writing this book?

A: Over the last few years, I’ve been writing books with my old friend Matthew Bishop, who is the New York bureau chief for The Economist. And I think it was about 18 months ago when we were chatting, and we were just intrigued by the fact that you have such divergent views about investing in gold, from some of the most respected investors in the market. You’ve got people like Warren Buffett, who is always really critical about gold and always has been, and I think always will be. Then you have Ray Dalio, the most successful hedge fund manager in history, George Soros for a while, and John Paulson – all investing money in gold. So, there was this question there: Why is this commodity dividing opinions so strongly with some of the smartest investors in the world? So, we thought it was an interesting story to tell and an issue to investigate.

Q: What do you mean when you say that 2012 will be a “make or break” year for gold?

A: The reason we said that is because if you look at John Paulson’s rationale for investing in gold, he was big on gold in 2009 when quantitative easing started. His feeling was that we were going to have that expansion of the monetary base which was going to feed into inflation. And Alan Greenspan, who advised him, talked about a 12- to 13-quarter lag between increases in the monetary supply and increases in inflation. So, really on that calculation, if QE is going to lead to inflation, it’s going to be coming through in 2012. And if and when that inflation does come through, it’s really going to drive the price of gold upward.

For the rest of the interview, visit MarketsWiki at


Traders Navigate a Murky New World
For a sense of how murky the financial markets can be these days, consider the case of Pipeline Trading Systems LLC.


Whoever pays research piper calls the tune
By Tony Jackson – Financial Times
In last week’s column, I wrote that the value of equity research could be judged from the fact that it was provided free. Unsurprisingly, one or two analysts protested. So let me clarify the argument.


Successful CEOs Don’t Have to Be Jerks
It’s not surprising that Walter Isaacson’s biography is being picked up by aspiring managers who want to replicate Apple Inc.’s success. The book is full of examples of how to run a successful business, innovate, negotiate and get the best out of people. Ultimately, a reader comes away from the book with a greater appreciation for the chief executive. Unfortunately, that CEO is not Mr. Jobs, whose successes are well known.

***** The John Lothian News team specifically wanted me to see this story.


MarketsWiki Page of the Day
Jeffrey M. Lacker


MarketsWiki Recent Updates


Brian Sack; Jeffrey M. Lacker; Michael Green; Matthew Bishop; Neal L. Wolkoff; Rick Lane

Companies, Organizations and Groups

ELX Futures, L.P.; Novation; MarkitSERV; MCX-SX Clearing Corporation Ltd.


Five Minutes With Michael Green


21,658,407 pages viewed, 6,775 articles, 138,764 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

Lead Stories

Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Inquiry Focuses On Traders
The Chicago Board Options Exchange has launched an inquiry into the activities of traders on its markets, examining several years of potential rule violations in the handling of stock-options orders.

**** I had a most unsatisfactory discussion with a CBOE employee last week who told me to not ask him about this and was then very condescending.

RBC to Defend Itself Against CFTC Suit Rather Than Settle
By Doug Alexander and Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Royal Bank of Canada has chosen to challenge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in court instead of settling over allegations it engaged in illegal futures trades because it said it didn’t break any rules.

JPMorgan in Talks Over Missing MF Global Customer Money
JPMorgan Chase is in talks with the authorities to turn over customer money that disappeared from MF Global when the firm went bankrupt last year. The development, announced this week by the trustee tasked with returning money to MF Global customers, suggests that a substantial sum of client funds is still sitting at JMorgan.

Clearinghouse Default Process Needs Clarity, Swaps Users Say
By Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Regulators need to finish writing the rules on how to unwind a swaps clearinghouse if it fails, derivatives industry users and observers said at a conference today.

Banks test ‘CDOs’ for trade finance
By Patrick Jenkins and Brooke Masters in London – Financial Times
Some of the world’s biggest banks are trying to extend the principles of securitisation to the plain-vanilla world of trade finance – a market worth an estimated $10tn a year – as concern mounts that regulatory changes could constrain a key lubricant of the global economy.

UPDATE: Spanish Default Protection Costs Nearing Nov Record
By Serena Ruffoni and Art Patnaude Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
The cost of insuring Spanish debt against a default jumped again Thursday, pushing toward last November’s record high amid concerns that low economic growth in the region could see the debt crisis spread to larger euro-zone economies.

JPMorgan Trader Iksil Fuels Prop-Trading Debate With Swaps Bets
By Shannon D. Harrington, Bradley Keoun and Christine Harper – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. trader Bruno Iksil’s outsized bets in credit derivatives are drawing attention to a little-known division that invests the company’s reserves and fueling a debate over whether banks are taking excessive risks with federally insured and subsidized money.

MF Global Brokerage May Have Moved Customer Funds, Creditors Say
By Tiffany Kary – Bloomberg
Creditors of MF Global Holdings Ltd. said in a status update filed yesterday that its failed brokerage unit may have transferred $717 million of customer funds to eight institutions in October, and that a trustee for the brokerage unit isn’t helping with a global analysis of books and records.

Environmental Trading News

GreenX Monthly Report For March – GreenX Volumes Grow 20% In Q1 – CME Group Acquires GreenX Holdings

Denmark to lead carbon price talks
Financial Times
Crashing prices in the European Union’s carbon market have prompted the bloc’s environment ministers to hold a meeting to discuss the future of the troubled scheme in Denmark this month, it emerged on Tuesday.

Britain postpones June carbon permit auction
Britain postponed on Thursday a planned auction of 4 million European Union carbon permits to September from June due to uncertainty around the timing of the start of a single, EU-wide carbon registry.

NSW to close carbon dioxide trade scheme
THE NSW Government is calling on the Federal Government to provide compensation when the state closes its failed Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS) after the carbon tax comes into force later this year.

For more environmental trading news, subscribe to the Environmental Markets version of the John Lothian Newsletter edited by Jim Kharouf.
Visit http://www.jlnenvironmental.comto subscribe.

Exchange & ECN News

Warsaw Stock Exchange Remains Europe’s Leader By Number Of IPOs In Q1 2012
According to the latest quarterly PwC IPO Watch Europe report, which covers the number and value of initial public offerings (IPOs) on European exchanges, the Warsaw Stock Exchange once again ranked #1 in Europe by the number of IPOs. There were 25 IPOs on the WSE in Q1 2012, including 4 IPOs on the Main Market and 21 IPOs on NewConnect.

Facebook to List on Nasdaq : Source
Facebook’s highly-coveted “FB” stock will list on the Nasdaq when the company makes its public debut in May, according to a person familiar with the matter.

MarketAxess Announces Monthly Volume Statistics for March 2012
MarketAxess Holdings Inc., the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for U.S. and European high-grade corporate bonds, emerging markets bonds and other types of fixed-income securities, today announced total monthly trading volume for March 2012 of $58.7 billion, consisting of $36.6 billion in U.S. high-grade volume, $5.1 billion in eurobond volume, and $17.0 billion in other volume.

BATS Global Markets Delisting Request To SEC – Withdraw Registration Statement On Form S-8

Thomson Reuters Global Equities Monthly Market Share Data Updated To Reflect March 2012 Activity

CME Group Clearing Advisory
Adjustment to Effective Date for Change to ClearPort Exposure Limit Calculation – Now Effective Saturday May 5, 2012

CME Clearing – Performance Bonds / Margins
Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture outrights; Coal, Metals, NGLs, and Refined Products Intra-Commodity Spread Charges – Effective Friday, March 30, 2012

Program Trading Averaged 32.4 Percent of NYSE Volume during Mar. 26-30

Vienna Stock Exchange Monthly Statistics – March 2012

Vienna Stock Exchange Monthly Statistics Derivatives Market – March 2012

No Trading On Wiener Boerse From April 6-9, 2012

Ljubljana Stock Exchange Monthly Statistical Report – March 2012

Banks, Brokers & Dark Pools

Analysis: Short on tools, central banks left with words
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Some of the world’s most prominent central bankers may have to hope the pen is as mighty as the sword. With the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and other authorities in industrialized countries already stretching the limits of monetary policy, pressure has risen for them not go any further, and even to begin pulling back.

Analysis: Q1 bank results face great expectations
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Bank executives face great expectations from investors when they report first-quarter results beginning Friday. Bank stocks have shot up 24 percent this year, as measured by the KBW Banks index, in their steepest ascent in any quarter since the end of September 2009.

Taking the Measure of Citigroup and Bank of America
New York Times
Bank of America and Citigroup have plenty in common, and when bank earnings are revealed in the coming weeks, investors will be watching to see how the two match up.

Deutsche Bank’s Middle East region chairman steps down
Dow Jones
Deutsche Bank on Sunday said Henry Azzam, the chairman of its Middle East and North Africa operations and one of the region’s most senior bankers, has stepped down.

Deutsche Bank denies plans to cut thousands of jobs
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Deutsche Bank denied a report that it plans to cut thousands of jobs. “There are no such plans,” a spokesman for Germany’s biggest lender said on Friday. German weekly magazine Der Spiegel earlier reported that about 15 percent of the bank’s 35,000 jobs could be cut in the areas of infrastructure and regional management.

Rising star high for SocGen duo
Matthew Attwood – Financial News
If you were working at an investment bank over the first three months of the year, you would have been best off plying your trade where most of the action was – in the debt capital markets. And for those in the DCM divisions of their banks, the most interesting work could be found working for financial institution clients.

Morgan Stanley Schedules Quarterly Investor Conference Call

E*TRADE Financial Corporation Announces First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call

Regulatory News

The SEC News Digest
The SEC News Digest provides daily information on recent Commission actions, including enforcement proceedings, rule filings, policy statements, and upcoming Commission meetings.

[Video] Phil Angelides on Financial Regulation
April 5 (Bloomberg) — Phil Angelides, former chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, talks about financial regulation and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon’s letter to shareholders railing against “contrived” and confusing financial rules.

A big mission for New York’s first financial services head
The Buffalo News
Benjamin Lawsky has quite a large task ahead of him. As the first superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, he is charged with regulating banking and insurance in the financial capital of the world.

How Wall Street is encouraging regulators to overreach
Washington Post
Another bank executive has penned an searing indictment of Wall Street. But Robert Wilmers, chief executive officer of M&T Bank Corporation, isn’t parachuting out of the industry. Instead, he believes he’s trying to save it.

SEC Charges South Florida Man in Investment Fraud Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged that a South Florida investment manager defrauded investors by making false claims about his investment track record and providing bogus account statements that reflected fictitious profits.

SEC Charges Texas Bank Holding Company’s CEO and CFO with Misleading Investors About Loan Quality and Financial Health During the Financial Crisis
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it charged Franklin Bank Corp.’s former chief executives for their involvement in a fraudulent scheme designed to conceal the deterioration of the bank’s loan portfolio and inflate its reported earnings during the financial crisis.

SEC Freezes Accounts of Six Chinese Citizens and One Offshore Entity Charged with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has obtained a court-ordered freeze of the assets of six Chinese citizens and one British Virgin Islands entity charged with insider trading in Zhongpin Inc., a China-based pork processor whose shares trade in the U.S.

FSA raises hackles over Hannam
By Brooke Masters, chief regulation correspondent – Financial Times
The news this week that the UK markets regulator will do battle with Ian Hannam, the world’s most prominent natural resources banker, over allegations that he leaked inside information has sparked a debate about the rules on market abuse and the legal duty to protect confidential market-moving data.

Ex-Trader McCrudden Gets 28 Months in Prison for Threats
Vincent P. McCrudden, a former New York commodities trader, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for threatening to kill federal financial regulators.

BCSC panel sanctions Richmond resident for illegally selling shares in U.S. company

BCSC panel sanctions woman for making false or misleading statements

BCSC Executive Director’s Bulletin: Securities regulator alleges that B.C. man committed securities fraud

U.S. President’s Advisory Council On Financial Capability Meeting

Investments – Indexes – Managed Futures – Managed Funds

Cash and Loans to Be Allowed to Back European Swaps, Russo Says
By Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Cash and secured loans will be allowed as collateral to back cleared swap contracts in Europe, while equities won’t be accepted, said Daniela Russo, a director general at the European Central Bank.

Market Chilled by Crisis Sees a Thaw
Wall Street is cranking up the CLO machine. Left for dead after the financial crisis, the market for collateralized-loan obligations—pools of loans to “junk”-rated companies—is staging a comeback, driven by investors’ hunger for high-risk, high-return securities.

US union pensions hole deepens to $369bn
By Dan McCrum and Ajay Makan in New York – Financial Times
The hole in the pension plans of US labour unions now stands at $369bn Credit Suisse has calculated with the aid of new reporting standards. This raises the prospect of higher pension contributions for employers and deteriorating industrial relations.

BlueGold Hedge Fund to Liquidate, Return Money to Investors
BlueGold Capital Capital Management LLP, the hedge fund co-founded by Pierre Andurand, told clients in a letter today that it is liquidating after four years.

Hedge Funds Cut Wagers as Fed Signals Less Stimulus: Commodities
Hedge funds reduced bullish bets on commodities for a second consecutive week as the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus, increasing concern that growth will slow and curb demand for raw materials.

Oaktree IPO, seven others to launch in busy week
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management kicks off an estimated $2.2 billion of U.S. initial public offerings next week, the busiest flurry of offerings this year.

ETF Global Insight – Findings For ETFs/ETPs Listed In Latin America For Q1 2012

Technology News

Text Message Spam, Difficult to Stop, Is a Growing Menace
New York Times
Cellphone customers received roughly 4.5 billion spam texts last year, twice as many as in 2009, and remedies to the growing menace are few.

Daiwa Enters Year Two Running smartTrade For DRECT – Daiwa Uses smartTrade’s Technology For DRECT’s Dark Pool And Smart Order Routing

Equinix Enables Unitas Global To Expand Footprint In Asia Pacific – With Platform Equinix, Unitas Global Can Connect Directly To A Rich Customer And Partner Ecosystem
Press Release

Reports Economic Calendar

USDA Today

CBOE Events Calendar

Economic Release Calendar
The Economic Release Calendar (PDF) is a schedule of government, academic and industry economic releases, provided as a service to CME customers.

Asia-Pacific News

Why China Wants to Break Up Its State Bank Monopoly
The consequences of financial sector reform could be historic.

Why the Comparison Between Chinese and Russian Investment Levels Is Useless
Russia’s level of investment is, and has been for the past decade, far closer to the levels of developed, wealthy countries than to China’s. I don’t find this to be particularly alarming or surprising for three reasons.

Taiwan Likely to Exempt Some Foreign Investors From Tax
Overseas investors without offices and direct business operations in Taiwan will be exempt “in principle” from a capital-gains tax on stock trades that the government is deliberating, Finance Minister Christina Liu said.

Dalian Commodity Exchange: Notice On The Adjustment Of Minimum Margin And Price Limit For Different Products

Summary Of March 2012 Activities At Tokyo Commodity Exchange – TOCOM March 2012 Average Daily Volume Up 5.7% From February 2012

IMF Releases Background Material For Its Assessment Of China Under The Financial Sector Assessment Program

Frontier Markets

Analysis: Islamic finance pressured to join accounting mainstream
Reuters via Yahoo! Finance
Rapid growth of Islamic finance is increasing pressure for the industry to enter the accounting mainstream, by seeking guidance from the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the global body which sets the tone for book-keeping in conventional finance.

UBS On The Case Against ‘Frontier Markets’
Business Insider
After emerging markets had a dismal year in 2011, many investors turned their attention to frontier markets. But in its latest note UBS suggests ‘retreating from the frontier’.

Jefferies Receives License to Operate from Dubai International Financial Centre

Tehran Stock Exchange Monthly Bulletin – March 2012

Palestine Exchange Investor Monthly Newsletter Issue #24, March 2012

Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange Weekly Market Commentary – April 8, 2012

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange Receives Korean Delegation

Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange Monthly Updates Newsletter – April 2012

Malawi Stock Exchange Weekly Report-5th April,2012

Miscellaneous News

Canada Drops the Penny, but Will the U.S.?
New York Times
Canada will stop making the penny, for reasons that would seem to apply equally well in the United States. For one thing, pennies cost more to make than they are worth.

John Lothian Newsletter

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CEO, Trading Technologies

Past JLN Newsletters

How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts

How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts

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