First Read

Cubs Win Puts FIA EXPO in Better Mood
By John J. Lothian & JLN Staff

A late night win by the Chicago Cubs in the National League playoffs put the attendees of the FIA EXPO in a better mood last night. The day started with a rather somber speech by FIA CEO Walt Lukken, followed by another mesmerizing regulatory update from CFTC Chairman Tim Massad

For the record, Lukken did try to end his comments on an upbeat tone and Massad is a regulator who is not Bart Chilton. Attitudes about the industry from the people I talked to, including several overseas participants, centered around whether the world as we knew it was going to exist after the U.S. presidential election on November 8. Expo’s keynote speaker John Meacham, through humor and historical insight about the common decency demonstrated by past presidents, assured us that the nation will survive.

The conference seems very well attended this year, with no volcano or hurricane keeping participation down. There is genuine interest in what the FIA has done with its Innovator’s Pavilion concept. Of course, we are all innovators so the whole conference is an innovator’s pavilion of sorts.

Now for some bits and pieces from the exchange leaders panel.

  • Among the many topics discussed at the exchange leaders panel was MIFID II, which ICE’s Jeff Sprecher called “a terrible piece of legislation that imposes tremendous costs on the industry.” CME Group’s Phupinder Gill said MiFID, and Brexit on top of that, makes for a lot of confusion.
  • The exchanges agreed that FCMs are very important and have no desire to disintermediate them. Other challenges include banks’ need to reduce capital consumption, especially pertaining to back office operations.
  • Sprecher said people may complain about higher exchange data costs, but the price per unit cost of data is dramatically falling.
  • The leaders agreed that the recent Brexit “flash crash” was not really a flash crash, because it was not caused by “algos run wild,” but by the fundamentals of the surprising Brexit vote.

See you at the EXPO and Great Steak Out!


MWE Europe 2016


Firms of the Future: Regulation, Technology and Finding Your Niche
Jim Kharouf – JLN
In this special report on the state of the futures industry, John Lothian News spoke with several key FCM and proprietary trading firm executives to discuss today’s challenges and opportunities in their respective markets. This off-the-record meeting covers everything from the current market landscape to the challenges of regulation to technology and the future of our industry. Click here to see what executives had to say in this dynamic and shareable report.


Wall Street Is Doing Just Fine With Fewer Workers
Hugh Son and Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
To the thousands of traders and salespeople who’ve lost their jobs since the financial crisis, Wall Street has a message: We’re doing OK without you. The five biggest U.S. investment banks reaped $20.7 billion in revenue from bond and stock trading in the third quarter, the most for the typically slow summer period since 2009.


How the next generation is shaping a new future with old money
Stephen Foley – FT
There is a capital P in The ImPact. The P is what happened when some of the youngest members of some of the richest families in America got together and decided that the philanthropy of their parents and grandparents fell far short of the good they could be doing in the world. What about the rest of their family fortunes, they thought. Charity is all very well, but shouldn’t the money they invest in stocks, bonds and private companies also be put to work to fix social and environmental problems?

***** Richard Sandor alway says, “Do well by doing good.”


Wednesday’s Top Three
Yesterday’s top three pieces was led by a long shot by the John Lothian & Co. paper, Firms of the Future: Regulation, Technology and Finding Your Niche. If you want to know what FCM and prop trading executives are thinking about, this is the paper to read. The second most read piece was about reconcilliation, CME Group and Duco Launch of Fee Data Control Service for Member Firms. The third most read piece was the obituary, David Goldberg, trader with Chicago Board of Trade, dies at age 85


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Lead Stories

CFTC chairman: Managers’ concerns over algorithm codes disclosure to be addressed
Pensions & Investments
Speaking at the Futures Industry Association Expo 2016 in Chicago on Wednesday, Mr. Massad said that while concerns about disclosure will be addressed by the CFTC, “we won’t remove that requirement.” He also said there would be supplemental rules added to Reg AT, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

CFTC wants position limits to reflect newer data
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) wants to ensure that position limits it is developing for crude, natural gas and gasoline contracts are not based on outdated data, agency chairman Timothy Massad said today.

Trade bodies push greater transparency for clearing members; FIA, GFMA, IIF, ISDA and TCH have responded to recent CPMI-IOSCO guidance urging for greater transparency for clearing members.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Several trade associations have called upon regulatory bodies to provide greater transparency for clearing members.

ICE’s Sprecher Criticizes Mifid II, European Financial Rules Set to Start in 2018; Executive calls new laws ‘a terrible piece of legislation,’ suggests Brexit could help U.K. become more business friendly
Jeff Sprecher, chairman and chief executive of Intercontinental Exchange Inc., slammed new financial rules that will be implemented in the European Union.

Former Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Demands Current Chairman Resign; In remarks to TheMarker, former TASE CEO Yossi Beinart accuses Amnon Neubach of ‘improper corporate governance.’
Ami Ginsburg – Haaretz
The former CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Yossi Beinart, has demanded the resignation of the bourse’s chairman, Amnon Neubach, citing “improper corporate governance.”

Traders Who Doubt LSE-Deutsche Boerse Deal Still Love LSE Shares
Trista Kelley, William Canny – Bloomberg
Weak pound has lifted LSE despite 40% odds of deal closing; Risks to LSE investors are low if deal collapses: strategist
Trader skepticism of Deutsche Boerse AG’s planned takeover of London Stock Exchange Group Plc hasn’t been enough to overcome a rally in the British company’s stock.

SEC gears up for major review of exchange traded funds; While bringing benefits, the explosive growth of ETFs is creating concern over their wider influence
by: Robin Wigglesworth, Nicole Bullock and Joe Rennison in New York – FT
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is gearing up for a roots-and-branch review of the rapidly growing exchange-traded fund industry and its growing influence on markets and the financial system.

Duco reports client wins
Duco has signed two leading, global FCMs to Duco Cube, its award-winning hosted reconciliation platform, and both clients will benefit from recent enhancements to the service.
One of the new clients, ADM Investor Services, Inc. (“ADMIS”) is among the world’s largest non-bank FCMs and has committed to a multi-year, global agreement with Duco. In addition, Duco has signed a large US-based, global bank for their FCM and other business units. This brings the total number of Duco’s FCM clients to twelve.

Opinion: Architect of the euro now says it is a house of cards
Darrell Delamaide – MarketWatch
Germany’s central bank was never a big fan of the euro EURUSD, -0.1002% , but it’s still unsettling when one of its former officials, who went on to become an architect of the joint currency and the top economist at the European Central Bank, says the euro seems headed for collapse.

Bond Trades and Merger Codenames
Matt Levine – Bloomberg View
Here’s the heartwarming story of a Goldman Sachs high-yield bond trader named Tom Malafronte, who bought bonds when customers were selling them, and sold them when customers were buying, and made $100 million between January and June. Congrats all around! In one sense, this is a story about the recovery of bond trading at the big banks this year, as Goldman, JPMorgan, Citigroup and Bank of America have all beat earnings expectations this quarter on stronger-than-expected bond trading revenues.

The great trade as monetary policy yields to fiscal stimulus; Bond investors dislike growing government indebtedness and rising inflation
by: John Authers – FT
Here is a heroic assumption. This time we really have reached the pivot point, the moment of regime change, the time for a Great Rotation, or any of the many phrases that have been used for an end to the post-crisis trends that have prevailed for eight years. It is at last time for monetary policy to give way to fiscal policy.

Embattled hedge fund Platinum Partners files for bankruptcy
Rob Copeland – MarketWatch
Platinum Partners’ flagship hedge fund, which faces a federal fraud investigation, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

Where the Next Crisis Will Come From; Keep an eye on depressed lenders, shadow banks, and China.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Next year ends in a 7. If you’re superstitious or a little loose with statistics, that makes us due for another financial crisis. The biggest one-day stock drop in Wall Street history happened in 1987. The Asian crisis was in 1997. And the worst global meltdown since the Great Depression got rolling in 2007 with the failure of mortgage lenders Northern Rock in the U.K. and New Century Financial in the U.S.


UK determined to retain eurozone clearing after Brexit – Davis
by: Mehreen Khan – FT
Keeping hold of the City’s vital eurozone clearing functions following its decision to leave the EU is one of the British government’s “major aims”, the country’s Brexit minister has said.

U.K. Mulling All Options to Help Banks After Brexit, Davis Says
Timothy Ross – Bloomberg
Brexit Secretary David Davis says stability for City ‘central’; Says keeping equivalence for London banks and clearing is key
The U.K. government is looking at “all possible options” to protect financial services from disruption after Britain leaves the European Union, Brexit Secretary David Davis said on Thursday.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Sterling weakness boosts London Stock Exchange revenues
by: Nicholas Megaw – FT
London Stock Exchange Group said its businesses “performed well despite testing market conditions” in the third quarter, growing revenues by 19 per cent.

CCPs defend direct clearing models for the buy side
Robert Mackenzie Smith –
Clearing houses are playing down fears that allowing buy-side firms to post margin directly at central counterparties (CCPs) will ultimately lead to the disintermediation of futures commission merchants (FCMs). “We have zero plans nor desire to disintermediate the FCMs. I am firm about this,” said Phupinder Gill, chief executive of CME Group. “Without [the FCMs’] contribution, exchanges and clearing houses would not work as efficiently.”

CME Group collaborates with TickSmith to provide customer-friendly access to historical data
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, and TickSmith, a leader in Big Data applications for Capital Markets, today announced an initiative to improve access to CME Group’s historical data by implementing TickVault to power CME DataMine.

BM&FBOVESPA Approves Object Trading For Direct Connection
BM&FBOVESPA announced today that it has approved Object Trading as a conformed ISV to handle market data, order entry, and pre-trade risk constraints, via its Direct Market Access (DMA) platform for clients and partners. Object Trading is a provider of multi-asset trading infrastructure featuring a single gateway for normalised market data and order execution to over 60 markets worldwide, providing its clients with the flexibility and adaptable infrastructure they need to continue trading in an ever-changing, global market.

CME to list Feb. 2018 live cattle futures, options contracts
Says effective November 6, 2016 for trade date November 7 and pending Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulatory review, it will list February 2018 contract month of four Live Cattle Futures and Options contracts

CME revises price limits for grains and oilseed futures
CME says effective Oct. 31, 2016 for trade date Tuesday, Nov. 1, The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (CBOT or Exchange) will reset price limits for grain and oilseed futures

Deutsche Boerse says Clearstream unit named in U.S. case involving Bank Markazi
Deutsche Boerse said its unit Clearstream will “vigorously” defend itself after being named in a court case in the United States involving Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi.

Eurex supports market participants and regulatory change with Total Return Futures
Deutsche Boerse
As of Friday, 2 December 2016, Eurex, Europe’s largest derivatives exchange, will offer Total Return Futures on the EURO STOXX 50 Index. The new futures complement the Eurex suite of equity index derivatives and support the market in complying with new financial market legislation. Under the Basel III capital standards banks already face increased capital requirements when entering Over-the-Counter (OTC) transactions. From next year on, there will be additional standards. “The product is launched ahead of the bilateral margin rules on non-cleared swaps which are likely to be introduced in Europe in early 2017”, said Mehtap Dinc, Global Head of Derivatives Product Development at Eurex.

GMEX Group separates exchange from technology business amid restructure; GMEX’s exchange business will spin-off from technology business as the Group undergoes restructure.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
GMEX has announced a restructure of the Group that will see the technology business separated from the exchange.


Markets cannot ignore impact of Donald Trump; An angry, disaffected America has awoken
by: Roger Blitz – FT
Consider the financial legacy of Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency. Whatever his impact on US politics and society, on markets he leaves two impressions.

Trump Threatens Law, Order, Democracy
Bloomberg Editorial Board
Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has fashioned himself as the “law and order” candidate. In Las Vegas on Wednesday night, in his third and final presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, he showed himself to be an agent of lawlessness and disorder.

Blankfein Rejects Trump Rhetoric, Says There’s No Banking Cabal
Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
Lloyd Blankfein called it fruitless to try responding to remarks made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. “To go out and argue in a rational way some of the things that are being said is a waste of time,” Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief executive officer, said Wednesday in an interview on CNBC, responding to a question about Trump’s rhetoric.

Trump’s stance on election result triggers Republican backlash; Presidential candidate draws criticism over poll rigging claims
by: Lauren Fedor – FT
Donald Trump’s refusal to pledge that he would accept the US election result if the presidential candidate loses has triggered a backlash from some prominent Republicans.

Investing and Trading

Why is the European repo market under pressure?; Demand for collateral rather than cash increasingly drives transactions
by: Thomas Hale – FT
The repurchase market, or “repo” for short, is a crucial part of the world’s financial plumbing. It works through buying and selling securities, though the actual effect looks more like a loan than a transaction.

ETF assets hit a fresh record in the third quarter
The exchange-traded behemoth keeps getting bigger. At the end of the third quarter, assets invested in ETPs—which includes exchange-traded funds and the smaller category of exchange-traded notes—hit a record of $3.408 trillion, according to ETFGI, an independent research firm.

‘Passive’ Investing Can Be a Lot More Active Than You Think
Asjylyn Loder and Inyoung Hwang – WSJ
There is no doubting the rapid rise of passive investment products. The twist is a lot of them get their heaviest use from some pretty active traders. Consider the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, which bets against volatility, or the VelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil ETN, which offers an oil bet juiced with triple leverage. They are classified as “passive,” because they track an index, but the trading volume can be immense.

Poor fund manager performance could fuel U.S. small-cap portfolio turnover
David Randall – Reuters
The worst overall performance by U.S. small-cap fund managers in seven years is expected to spur a furious round of portfolio turnover in the last two months of the year intended to capture gains from top performing stocks. Only 30 percent of actively managed small-cap funds are beating the 7 percent gain in the benchmark Russell 2000 year-to-date, the worst performance by fund managers since 2009, according to Morningstar data.

What Does Nevada’s $35 Billion Fund Manager Do All Day? Nothing
Timothy Martin – WSJ
Steve Edmundson has no co-workers, rarely takes meetings and often eats leftovers at his desk. With that dynamic workday, the investment chief for the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System is out-earning pension funds that have hundreds on staff. His daily trading strategy: Do as little as possible, usually nothing. The Nevada system’s stocks and bonds are all in low-cost funds that mimic indexes.
****SD: Careful — that’s very close to a fund about nothing. Which means that at least a billion goes to the Larry David and crew?

Swedish krona weakness a boon for carry trades
Nicholas Megaw and Roger Blitz – Financial Times
Sweden’s currency fell against the dollar for the seventh time in the past 10 trading days, providing further reason for its central bank not to ease interest rates at next week’s policy meeting despite surprising falls in inflation. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email address Enter email address Invalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. The krona fell 0.2 per cent to be worth SKr8.84 to the dollar, continuing the trend that saw it fall to its lowest level in six years against both the greenback and the euro last week.

Why bond yields are so low; John Authers discusses whether yields are likely to rise soon
by: John Authers – FT
Bond yields have never been lower. In much of the world they are negative. Can they conceivably move lower still? And what might happen if and when they finally reverse and rise again?

El-Erian Holds 30% in Cash as Central Banks Distort Markets
Wes Goodman – Bloomberg
Adopts barbell strategy favoring both ends of risk spectrum; Now is a better time to sell stocks than to buy, El-Erian says
Mohamed El-Erian said he’s favoring cash as well as the riskiest investments, such as venture capital, in his own portfolio.


Morgan Stanley to detail plan for fiduciary rule compliance soon: CEO
Olivia Oran – Reuters
Morgan Stanley plans to announce in the coming weeks how its wealth-management business will comply with a new U.S. rule intended to protect retirement savers, Chief Executive James Gorman said on Wednesday. Gorman declined to give details, but hinted that providing wealth clients with choice about account options and how they pay the firm is a priority.

U.S. Banks Face New Demands to Guard Themselves From Hackers
Jesse Hamilton – Bloomberg
Hackers who relentlessly pursue banks may run into tougher defenses as the Federal Reserve and other U.S. regulators force the biggest lenders to plug any vulnerabilities. Banking agencies released a proposal Wednesday for rules that would require lenders — and the outside firms that serve them — to better safeguard themselves and their customers. Banks with more than $50 billion in assets and other systemically significant firms would have to establish board-approved protections that make them more aware of what’s happening in their own systems.

Morgan Stanley’s ‘High-Class’ Problem
Aaron Back – WSJ
Morgan Stanley’s turnaround plans are on track. Shareholders, including activist investor ValueAct, should be pleased with the bank’s progress. Like other U.S. investment banks, it got a boost from strong trading activity in the third quarter. Fixed-income sales and trading revenue rose by 61% from a year earlier to $1.5 billion. This is especially encouraging because Morgan Stanley has made significant cuts to this business, including a 25% head-count reduction announced at the end of 2015.

What’s in a Name? Not Commodities at Morgan Stanley
John Carney – WSJ
Morgan Stanley has dropped commodities from its trading operations—at least in name. “Effective for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the Institutional Securities ‘Fixed Income & Commodities” business has be renamed the ‘Fixed Income business,” the firm said in a footnote to its quarterly earnings report. Not that the firm has stopped trading commodities. It just doesn’t have a reporting unit with the name commodities any more. Morgan Stanley says the name-change reflects fundamental shifts in its commodities business.


KCG BondPoint expands OMS providers through Bloomberg integration; Bloomberg’s TSOX and AIM tool users will gain access to KCG BondPoint’s credit and municipal bond liquidity pool.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
KCG has announced an expansion of buy-side order management system (OMS) providers on KCG BondPoint, through an integrated workflow with Bloomberg.

Duco data control tools to be made available to CME member firms; CME Group member firms will have access to Duco’s tools as of January 2017.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
CME Group is to make Duco Technologies’ data control and reconciliation services available to CME member firms in January 2017.

Colt Commences Construction Of New Tokyo Data Centre – Expansion Of Its Japanese Data Centres To Support Accelerating Demand
Colt, a leading international carrier-neutral data centre provider, held an opening ceremony for its second data centre in Inzai, located just east of Tokyo, to commemorate the start of construction. The new data centre is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2017.


U.S. CFTC agrees to settle lawsuit against accused ‘spoofer’
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has agreed to settle a lawsuit it brought against a trader and his firm for allegedly using a banned trading tactic known as “spoofing” to manipulate markets, a court document filed on Wednesday showed.

SEC approves FINRA rule on reporting U.S. bond trades
The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Wednesday it approved the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s proposal to require its members to report their trades of U.S. government securities.

FINRA Receives SEC Approval to Require Member Firms to Report Treasury Transactions to TRACE
The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved FINRA’s proposal to require its members to report certain transactions in Treasury Securities to FINRA’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE). FINRA has set July 10, 2017 as the implementation date.

SEC approves FINRA’s reporting rules for US treasuries
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved new rules requiring certain treasury securities transactions in the US be reported to the TRACE system. The reporting obligations – proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) – are to apply to all treasury securities, except savings bonds.

Federal Court Orders Scott Platto and His Company The Yorkshire Group, Inc. to Pay More Than $1.56 Million for Engaging in Illegal, Off-Exchange Precious Metals Transactions
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court default judgment Order Adopting the Report and Recommendation (Order) against Defendants The Yorkshire Group, Inc. (Yorkshire) and its principal Scott Platto. The Order stems from a CFTC Complaint, filed on September 25, 2013, that charged the Defendants with engaging in illegal, off-exchange transactions in precious metals with retail customers on a leveraged, margined or financed basis (see CFTC Complaint and Press Release 6713-13, September 26, 2013). At the time the CFTC filed the Complaint, Platto’s residence and Yorkshire’s offices were in Staten Island, New York.

US regulators finalise Treasury trade reporting; Policymakers seek to bolster transparency in government bonds after flash rally of October 2015
by: Alexandra Scaggs and Joe Rennison in New York – FT
US regulators have finalised a rule requiring trades in the $13tn Treasury market to be reported to Wall Street’s industry watchdog, marking a first step in policymakers’ attempts to bolster transparency in government bonds.

SEC to consider amendments to disclosures in director elections
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Wednesday it would consider proposing amendments to disclosures on voting options and standards in director elections in a meeting next week.


Sebi to use drum-beaters, loudspeakers for attachment notices; Sebi can attach properties in wake of large-scale defaults by entities collecting money fraudulently from gullible investors
Business Standard
Fraudsters and defaulters who have failed to return investors’ money may soon see at their doorsteps people with drums and loudspeakers announcing summons to them, as also attachment and sale of assets seized by regulator Sebi for recovery of funds.

JPMorgan in talks to exit China securities joint venture; US bank denies the move represents a retreat from the Chinese market
by: Jennifer Hughes and Gloria Cheung in Hong Kong – FT
JPMorgan is in talks to quit its China securities joint venture with First Capital Securities in what would be the first such pullback by a major western investment bank, although it denies the move would represent a retreat from the Chinese market.

Hollande presses May to bring forward Brexit talks; French leader fears March notification will clash with presidential campaign
by: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in Paris and Alex Barker in Brussels – FT
François Hollande is pressing Theresa May to hasten Britain’s EU exit notification, warning that otherwise France’s presidential elections could waste several months of valuable time in the Brexit negotiations.


Plummeting Newspaper Ad Revenue Sparks New Wave of Changes; With global newspaper print advertising on pace for worst decline since recession, publishers cut costs and restructure
Newspapers are suffering an accelerating drop in print advertising, a market that already was under stress, forcing some publishers to consider significant cost cuts and dramatic changes to their print and digital products.

Trove of Stolen Data Is Said to Include Top-Secret U.S. Hacking Tools
Scott Shane, Matt Apuzzo and Jo Becker – NY Times
Investigators pursuing what they believe to be the largest case of mishandling classified documents in United States history have found that the huge trove of stolen documents in the possession of a National Security Agency contractor included top-secret N.S.A. hacking tools that two months ago were offered for sale on the internet.

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