Bitcoin and Blockchain: A WILD Opportunity
Sarah Rudolph – JLN
Bitcoin is not at the dizzying high it was back in December, but interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain is still strong. The world of crypto and distributed ledger technology keeps expanding, with CME and Cboe now trading bitcoin futures, companies getting into initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency meetups forming, and the list of cryptocurrencies getting longer every week.
Women In Listed Derivatives (WILD) and Morgan Lewis jointly hosted a panel on the future of blockchain and cryptocurrencies Tuesday evening to a packed house.
The main takeaway on cryptocurrency from the panel was that, although crypto is a new and very speculative investment, it’s a significant opportunity in the financial markets, where there are currently not many of those.
To read the rest of the article, go HERE
Hits & Takes
Cboe released an update of its options funds white paper. The 105 options-based funds studied have AUM of $38.1 billion. Some $8.5 billion of that total comes from Gateway. Did you know Gateway is eight years older – inception date Dec 1977 – than the same-named computer company?~SD
If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Turns out it’s just chance
The distribution of wealth follows a well-known pattern sometimes called an 80:20 rule: 80 percent of the wealth is owned by 20 percent of the people. Indeed, a report last year concluded that just eight men had a total wealth equivalent to that of the world’s poorest 3.8 billion people.
**I’m buying my lottery ticket today.~JK
Google Searches for Bitcoin Drop to Lowest Since October
Eddie Van Der Walt – Bloomberg
People just aren’t that interested in Bitcoin since the digital currency’s manic price surge came to an abrupt end late last year.
**Let’s all search for ICOs! ~JK
Singapore Exchange and New Zealand’s Exchange sign MOU
Singapore Exchange (SGX) and New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand co-operation in Asia-Pacific markets.
****What a mooove – dairy derivatives on SGX?~SD
Tuesday’s Top Three
Yesterday’s top story was the Wall Street Journal’s profile on the soon to be retired Chairman Emeritus Leo Melamed, in The Man Who Molded Chicago’s Merc. Second went to Reuters’ piece U.S. considering ‘material changes’ to ‘Volcker Rule’: Fed’s Quarles. Third was Monday’s top story, Bloomberg’s article Ken Griffin’s Citadel Dismisses 21 People
121,549,956 pages viewed; 23,029 pages; 211,971 edits
Gary Cohn to Resign as Trump’s Top Economic Adviser
Kate Kelly, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker – NY Times
Gary D. Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, plans to resign, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the Trump administration, White House officials said on Tuesday.
****From the AP – Wave of exits from West Wing sparks talk of brain drain; Bloomberg – Wall Street Alarmed as Cohn Departure Fires Up Trade War Angst; CNBC – Ex-Obama advisor Goolsbee wouldn’t fill Cohn’s shoes ‘if it was the last job on Earth’; FT – Cohn resignation could prove a new departure for markets; MarketWatch – Dow set to drop after Cohn’s departure; Bloomberg – Trump Confronted Cohn on Trade Hours Before Resignation, Sources Say
Flexpoint Ford Backs Management Buyout of Dash Financial Technologies
Dash Financial Technologies today announced that its co-founders, Peter Maragos and David Karat, have partnered with private equity investment firm Flexpoint Ford to acquire the Dash business from private equity firm GTCR in a management-led buyout.
Virtual currencies are commodities, U.S. judge rules
Brendan Pierson – Reuters
Virtual currencies like bitcoin can be regulated as commodities by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
NYSE to Pay $14 Million Penalty for Multiple Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it charged the New York Stock Exchange and two affiliated exchanges with regulatory failures in connection with multiple episodes, including several disruptive market events. The charges arose from five separate investigations and include the first-ever charged violation of Regulation SCI. The Commission adopted Reg SCI to strengthen the technology infrastructure and integrity of the U.S. securities markets, and today charged two NYSE exchanges with violating Reg SCI’s business continuity and disaster recovery requirement. In settlement, the exchanges agreed to pay a $14 million penalty.
LJM sued by its broker Wells Fargo over missed payments
A Chicago fund manager that is closing after big losses in last month’s U.S. stock market plunge was sued on Tuesday for $16.4 million by its clearing broker Wells Fargo Securities for having allegedly missed required margin payments.
Euroclear to move holding company from London to Brussels; Securities depositories group makes move ahead of Brexit to reduce reliance on London
Philip Stafford – FT
Euroclear, one of the world’s largest securities depositories, is to move its holding company from Britain, redrawing its corporate structure in preparation for the UK’s departure from the European Union.
RBS reaches $500 million settlement with New York over mortgage securities
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L) has reached a $500 million settlement with New York state to resolve charges it misled investors by selling risky mortgage securities that contributed to the 2008 global financial crisis.
S&P Global to buy AI firm Kensho for $550 million
S&P Global Inc (SPGI.N) will buy artificial intelligence and analytics firm Kensho Technologies Inc for about $550 million in cash and shares, the ratings agency said on Tuesday.
Shrinking European capital markets widen gap with US; Growing bond markets fail to compensate fully for fall in bank finance
Kate Allen – FT
European capital markets have failed to keep pace with the continent’s economic growth since the financial crisis, mostly because of underperformance by London, according to research.
How Hedge Funds Are Winning Back Investors
Katia Porzecanski – Bloomberg
Hedge fund managers often get a reputation for being greedy and unwilling to acquiesce to the changing demands of the money-management business. But in the face of investor backlash over middling returns, they’ve made a range of concessions to stay afloat.
Ripple Develops Blockchain Payments App With 61 Japanese Banks
Gareth Allan and Takako Taniguchi – Bloomberg
Mobile app will roll out at three of the lenders this year; Latest effort to use blockchain technology in finance
Ripple, the U.S. digital payments company, is working with 61 Japanese banks on an application that will enable customers to settle cash transfers instantly around the clock, the latest effort to apply blockchain technology in finance.
Bitcoin’s Tokyo Whale Sold $400 Million and He’s Not Done Yet
Go Onomitsu – Bloomberg
He’s not your typical Bitcoin whale, but Nobuaki Kobayashi has become a force to be reckoned with in the cryptocurrency world. The Tokyo attorney and bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct Mt. Gox exchange disclosed on Wednesday that he sold about $400 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash since late September. Kobayashi is sitting on another $1.9 billion of the tokens and will consider offloading those too as he raises cash to distribute to Mt. Gox’s creditors.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Japan to punish several cryptocurrency exchanges, halt operations at others: Nikkei
Japan’s financial regulator will this week slap several cryptocurrency exchanges with administrative punishment notices and is considering forcing some to suspend their business, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday.
Chicago Stock Exchange Re-engaging in a Process to Explore Strategic Alternatives To Enhance Shareholder Value
CHX via Medium
Following the mutual termination of the merger agreement between CHX Holdings, Inc., and North America Casin Holdings, Inc., the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc. (CHX), announced today that its Board of Directors is re-engaging in a process to explore strategic alternatives to further enhance shareholder value, including a potential sale of the company.
Polish confirms bid for Tel Aviv stock exchange
Poland’s state-run stock exchange GPW, along with state fund PFR, has submitted a non-binding offer to buy a 71.7-percent stake in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange TASE, GPW said on Tuesday.
Rewiring today’s exchanges and post trade to forge tomorrow’s market success – Part 1
Hirander Misra, GMEX Group – TABB Forum
The pressure is on for market operators to meet the widening expectations of customers as technology presents new efficiencies and opportunities.
Market participants are seeking exchanges that can provide the latest in electronic trading and post-trade infrastructure. Not only that, they’re looking for operators that are future-proofing those services with platforms that can adapt to, and incorporate, new innovations such as Blockchain as well as connect with a broad range of external technologies.
Inverted Exchanges: Higher Leakage or Higher Quality?
Pragma via TABB Forum
Orders on inverted exchanges effectively hop the inter-market queue and have a higher probability of fill, lower adverse selection, and ultimately less shortfall relative to the arrival of the child order. (Of course, these benefits come at a cost.) Despite the evidence of these benefits, however, some traders have lingering doubt as to whether posting orders on an inverted exchange may degrade performance by leaking more information than orders on regular exchanges.
Aramco IPO venue in the balance as Saudi prince embarks on trip
Rania El Gamal, Alex Lawler, Yara Bayoumy – Reuters
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s upcoming trip to Britain and the United States could shape the decision on where to list oil giant Aramco, at a time when sources say the chances of London and New York hosting the IPO appear to be receding.
TMX Group Consolidated Trading Statistics – February 2018
TMX Group Limited today announced February 2018 trading statistics for its marketplaces – Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange (Alpha) and MontrÈal Exchange (MX).
****SD: Both derivatives volume (9,703,208 contracts) and open interest (6,902,931 contracts) are up YoY and MoM – volume by much larger margins.
B3 Launches The 2018/2019 ISE Process
B3 launched today the 2018/2019 Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE) Process. During the launch event, which is geared to companies and interested participants, there was the presentation of the 2018 activities calendar, the agenda, and the review methodology for the 2018 ISE Questionnaire
Focus on Total Return Futures; How innovation opens up investment opportunities
Eurex asks Edouard Pelier, head of delta one and collateral trading, equity and commodity products at UniCredit Bank, and Ziad Kerbage, executive director of the equity derivatives group at JP Morgan, why market participants should trade Total Return Futures (TRFs), how they can be incorporated into trading strategies and how the TRF market will develop in the future.
Equity Index Derivatives: Withdrawal of admission of futures and options on the Sensex Index
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Z¸rich AG decided the following with effect from 3 April 2018:
The Fintech Files – Who wants to regulate blockchain?
Welcome to The Fintech Files, keeping you up-to-date with the latest developments in financial tech and innovation. Regular host Yolanda Bobeldijk is on maternity leave, so this week’s edition is brought to you by Liz Pfeuti, FN’s deputy online editor.
Bitcoin exchange Coinbase launches the Dow Jones of cryptocurrencies
Kate Rooney – CNBC
Coinbase is launching a weighted index fund for cryptocurrencies.
Much like how the Dow Jones Industrial Average gives a sense of the American economy, this fund tries to reflect major trends in the cryptocurrency market.
“It’s an easy way to get exposure to the crypto assets that we offer on our exchange,” says Coinbas President and COO Asiff Hirji.
McKay Brothers Receives Minority Investment From Jane Street Group
McKay Brothers, a market leader in low latency networks, today announces a minority investment from Jane Street Group, LLC that will support the continued growth of McKay’s successful private bandwidth and market data businesses.
Google Researchers Are Learning How Machines Learn
Cade Metz – NY Times
Machines are starting to learn tasks on their own. They are identifying faces, recognizing spoken words, reading medical scans and even carrying on their own conversations.
SmartTrade Technologies appoints Soren Haagensen sales director, the Americas
SmartTrade Technologies, a multi-asset electronic trading pioneer, announced today the appointment of Soren Haagensen as Sales Director for the Americas where he will be contributing to smartTrade’s growth as well as ensuring smartTrade continues to deliver excellent services to both new and existing clients.
Blockchain will track how meat gets from Australian farms to Chinese tables
Echo Huang – Quartz
Last year, Chinese consumers got a chance to verify the goodness of the steaks coming to them from a local producer. Now they’ll be able to track their meat all way back to farms in Australia, one of the country’s major beef suppliers, thanks to the help of technology that makes it hard to tamper with information.
McConnell: Republicans concerned tariffs could spark trade war
Jordain Carney – TheHill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) broke his silence on President Trump’s proposed tariffs, saying he and other Republicans have “genuine concern” the administration could start a trade war.
Cohn’s Exit Leaves Hard-Liners Ascendant in Trump White House
Justin Sink, Jennifer Jacobs, Margaret Talev – Bloomberg
Economic adviser departing after a showdown over tariffs; Wilbur Ross, Peter Navarro expected to gain influence on trade
Gary Cohn’s departure from the White House is a victory for the protectionists and immigration hawks who have sought to push President Donald Trump to fully embrace their views.
House could vote on trillion-dollar funding package next week
Scott Wong and Mike Lillis – TheHill
The House could pass a $1 trillion omnibus next week to give the Senate extra time to approve the massive spending package before funding for the government runs out on March 23, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told colleagues in a private meeting Tuesday.
IMF’s Lagarde says nobody wins a trade war
Geert De Clercq – Reuters
No one emerges victorious from a trade war, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday, warning that the economic impact of U.S. import tariffs would be serious if other countries respond with their own barriers.
New York Stock Exchange fined by SEC over outages, repeat violations
Steve Goldstein – MarketWatch
The New York Stock Exchange and two of its more specialized exchanges on Tuesday were fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, for allegedly making up rules as they went along in the face of market volatility.
Warren vows fight as U.S. Senate begins debate on Dodd-Frank rewrite
Pete Schroeder – Reuters
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren promised to fight a U.S. Senate bill easing bank rules introduced following the 2007-2009 global financial crisis as the chamber moved on Tuesday to begin debating the draft bipartisan legislation.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ producers to pay $60 million to U.S. in lawsuit settlement
The company behind the 2013 film, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, agreed to pay the United States government $60 million to settle a civil lawsuit that sought to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund.
MIFID II: The story since January
Hayley McDowell & John Brazier – The Trade
The early days of the new MiFID II regime haven’t thrown up the kind of turmoil some pessimists predicted, so far at least, failing to stunt activity at major asset management firms throughout Europe.
LIBOR Replacement II
Kurt Dew – Seeking Alpha
The LIBOR replacement proposed by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARCC) appointed by the federal government, discussed here, is already threatened. UK Financial Conduct Authority head, Andrew Bailey, earlier put his considerable weight behind the ARRC proposal, in his July 27, 2017, speech, “The future of LIBOR.” Most recently (March 2, 2018), Bailey backtracked from his earlier support for an overnight rate, saying:
Who has the burden of persuasion when invoking fraud-on-the-market?
Rodney Tonkovic – Jim Hamilton’s World of Securities Regulation
A petition for certiorari asks the Supreme Court to consider key recurring questions posed by the invocation of the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance under Basic Inc. v. Levinson. The first question posed by the petition asks which party has the burden of persuasion when a defendant tries to rebut the presumption. The second question asks what evidence must be put forth by a plaintiff seeking to rebut the presumption (Barclays PLC v. Waggoner, February 28, 2018).
Wells Fargo Pushed by Nuns to Report on Its Ethical Lapses
Emily Chasan – Bloomberg
Sisters of St. Francis spearhead campaign on bank’s culture; Rhode Island treasurer calls lender’s action ‘a first step’ Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to publicly report on the root causes that led to a rash of ethical lapses in recent years, a group of investors said.
****SD: Methinks the ladies doth not protest too much.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency: For Those Engaging In High Speed Trading
As of April 1, 2018, a new system will be introduced in relation to High Speed Trading (“HST”) of shares and other types of financial instruments, and those engaging in HST will now be required to register.
U.S. says ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli deserves at least 15 years in prison
Brendan Pierson, Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday said former drug company executive Martin Shkreli should spend at least 15 years in prison after being convicted of fraud, saying his lack of remorse and respect for the law justified a long time behind bars.
FINRA Midwest Region Member Forum
The FINRA Midwest Region Member Forum is a one-day event designed to provide financial professionals associated with FINRA member firms in the Midwest Region the opportunity to engage in key discussions with FINRA staff, and connect with industry leaders and peers. The seminar also includes thoughtful discussions around the future landscape of the financial services industry, and the opportunity to meet one-on-one with FINRA Regulatory Coordinators, and Surveillance and District Directors to discuss firm-specific questions.
FINRA Plans Changes to FIX Trade Reporting Related to Processing of Execution Time
MARCH 6, 2018
Beginning Monday, August 20, 2018, FINRA will require a change to all FIX trade reporting related to the processing of execution time during Daylight Savings Time (DST) changes. This update affects firms’ transaction reports for all FINRA Multi Product Platform products (MPP), including TRACE, the OTC Trade Reporting Facility (ORF), and The Alternative Display Facility (ADF).
Federal Court in New York Enters Preliminary Injunction Order against Patrick K. McDonnell and His Company CabbageTech, Corp. d/b/a Coin Drop Markets in Connection with Fraudulent Virtual Currency Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a Preliminary Injunction Order against Defendants Patrick K. McDonnell and CabbageTech, Corp. d/b/a Coin Drop Markets (CDM). The Court’s decision stems from the CFTC’s January 18, 2018 Complaint charging Defendants with fraud and misappropriation in connection with purchases and trading of the virtual currencies Bitcoin and Litecoin (see CFTC Press Release & Complaint 7675-18).
Investing and Trading
Chevron expects LNG supply shortage by 2025
Chevron Corp said on Tuesday it expected supply shortage in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market by around 2025, echoing comments made last month by top LNG trader Royal Dutch Shell.
U.S. options-based funds grow in number despite volatility lull: study
The number of U.S. options-based funds grew steadily over the last three years and the assets under management at these funds hit a record high in 2017, even as equity market volatility plummeted, according to a study released on Tuesday.
Even aluminum producers don’t want Trump’s aluminum tariff
Preeti Varathan – Quartz
Donald Trump’s plan for tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum should be a boon to domestic producers, whose output will now be relatively cheaper. The markets have agreed: Share prices of large American aluminum companies rose on last week’s news.
How Currency Investors Are Bracing for a Full-Blown Trade War
Katherine Greifeld, Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Threat of retaliatory tariffs has investors assessing risks; Some funds seek havens, others hedge bets on global expansion
In foreign-exchange markets, investors aren’t waiting to find out if all the tariff threats being thrown around lead to a full-blown trade war.
Fed’s Brainard Sees Rate Increases as Appropriate as Inflation Firms; Fed governor says economic headwinds have turned into tailwinds
David Harrison – WSJ
Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard said Tuesday she has become more confident inflation will hit the central bank’s target, allowing officials to continue raising interest rates gradually.
FX, electronic bond trading volumes surge in February
Tommy Wilkes – Reuters
Currency trading volumes on Thomson Reuters’ platforms hit a record high in February and fixed-income venues have reported a surge in activity as a resurgence in volatility and new regulations push investors to trade electronically.
PwC scrambles to return assets to Beaufort investors
Hannah Murphy an hour ago – Financial Times
Administrators for Beaufort Securities, the UK broker closed by regulators on Friday, are scrambling to find ways of returning £850m in cash and assets to thousands of private investors.
Banco Popular shareholders seek Santander info to fight Spain
Christopher Spink – Reuters
Former shareholders in Banco Popular, which was sold for EUR1 to Santander last June after being put into resolution, have opened up two fresh fronts in their battle to seek compensation for their losses.
BlackRock, Soros may invest in Deutsche’s asset management IPO: source
BlackRock (BLK.N), George Soros and big sovereign wealth funds are among investors expressing interest in buying stakes in the initial public offering of Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) asset management arm, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Citigroup moving toward ‘national digital bank’: CFO
Citigroup Inc (C.N) is laying the foundation, through a growing network of mobile banking tools, to support the launch of a national digital consumer bank sometime within the next three years, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.
What Bust? European Banks Are Loading Up on Real Estate Availability of debt financing is a sign of health in the European real-estate market
Peter Grant and Jeannette Neumann – WSJ
When Spain’s Bankia SA received a bailout in 2012, it was prohibited from making the kind of real-estate loans that triggered the bank’s implosion.
Exclusive: Goldman puts London staff on notice for German move by June – sources
Sinead Cruise, Arno Schuetze – Reuters
Goldman Sachs (GS.N) has put more than a dozen UK-based banking, sales and trading staff on notice to move to Frankfurt within weeks, two sources with knowledge of the matter said, as it braces for divorce between Britain and the European Union.
Bitcoin exchange Coinbase launches the Dow Jones of cryptocurrencies
Kate Rooney – CNBC
Popular online exchange Coinbase is releasing a weighted index fund for cryptocurrencies.
India bets on new financial centre to challenge Singapore
Simon Mundy – Financial Times
On a quiet expanse of scrubland in India’s western state of Gujarat, dotted with a few glass-fronted office towers and others under construction, GIFT City does not look like a buzzing hub of international finance.
But the architects of this special economic zone, a pet project of prime minister Narendra Modi, insist that it can be India’s answer to Hong Kong: a haven for foreign investors to transact Indian securities with minimal tax and bureaucracy, and for domestic companies to raise funding in foreign currencies.
Bursa tweaks FCPO for vegetable oils traders’ convenience
New Straits Times
Bursa Malaysia Bhd is monitoring and has enhanced the global reference crude palm oil futures (FCPO) for vegetable oil traders’ convenience, in view of Singapore launching its third derivatives market.
Bitcoin’s Tokyo Whale Sold $400 Million and He’s Not Done Yet
Go Onomitsu – Bloomberg
He’s not your typical Bitcoin whale, but Nobuaki Kobayashi has become a force to be reckoned with in the cryptocurrency world.
The story behind India’s biggest banking IPO began with rural women
Nupur Anand – Quartz India
Unlike other players in the microfinance industry, Bandhan Bank joined the league of big banks only in August 2015. In less than three years, it has emerged as a leader and is set for India’s biggest banking initial public offering (IPO), at a time when its older and bigger peers are in duress.
Moving cash within Africa is the untapped opportunity for money transfer firms
Yinka Adegoke – Quartz Africa
Since 2010, international migrant population numbers from Africa have grown significantly. So much so that eight in 10 of the fastest-growing migrant populations are from sub-Saharan African nations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest United Nations data on the number of emigrants, or people living outside their country of birth.
U.S. Considers Broad Curbs on Chinese Imports, Takeovers
Andrew Mayeda, Jennifer Jacobs – Bloomberg
USTR investigating China’s intellectual-property practices; Gary Cohn to resign as top Trump economic adviser amid tariffs
The Trump administration is considering clamping down on Chinese investments in the U.S. and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of intellectual property, according to people familiar with the matter.
Brexit Opponents Find New Strategy in Effort to Nix Departure
Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
Opponents of Brexit are looking into whether Britain could postpone its exit from the European Union to give lawmakers and voters more time to weigh up whether they really want to leave.
City of London to press for ‘achievable’ EU mutual access deal
Huw Jones – Reuters
Keeping British and European Union rules in lock-step after Brexit is an ambitious but achievable to maintain access to each other’s financial markets, the City of London’s Lord Mayor said on Wednesday.
May ‘double cherry-picking’ on Brexit, says leaked EU report; Exclusive: Brussels analysis dismisses proposed model on trade as unworkable
Anushka Asthana, Heather Stewart and Daniel Boffey – The Guardian
The EU has dismissed Theresa May’s Brexit speech as being more about Conservative party management than putting forward sensible solutions on trade, according to an internal document leaked to the Guardian.
EU rejects UK’s plans for post-Brexit trade relationship; Brussels instructs negotiators to take austere approach to trade talks
Alex Barker, Jim Brunsden and Mehreen Khan – FT
The EU has forcefully rebuffed Theresa May’s vision for trade after Brexit, laying out a narrow view of future relations with the UK and warning of the “negative economic consequences” of her choices.