Federal spoofing trial of Chicago software developer ends in hung jury

Apr 10, 2019

First Read

Hung Jury in Trial of US v Thakkar
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

The trial of Jitesh Thakkar for aiding and abetting two instances of spoofing – which were executed by the convicted mega spoofer Navinder Sarao, whom Thakkar never met – ended Tuesday afternoon at about 4:30 when Judge Robert Gettleman dismissed the hopelessly locked jury.

Gettleman praised the jury for its conscientiousness and thanked them warmly. He invited them back to his chambers, where he thanked them individually and told them that they were free to discuss the case as they wished. They were told they could return to the courtroom and speak with the attorneys, or not.

The three jurors who came back to the courtroom all seemed to have been in favor of acquittal.

Read the rest of this commentary here.


The Great Migration – Rick Lane, Trading Technologies

Trading Technologies announced the sunsetting of its X_Trader platform at the end of 2018, which means that a large part of 2019 will be spent migrating its remaining user base to the new TT platform. But that’s not the only thing Trading Technologies has in the works. In this video from JLN’s Industry Leader Series, Trading Technologies Chairman and CEO Rick Lane talks about revitalizing an entrenched product, TT’s order management system, and the decision to offer infrastructure-as-a-service.

Watch the video »


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Here is what Renato Mariotti shared on Facebook about the Jitesh Thakkar trial: “This past week, I was honored to represent Jitesh Thakkar, who owns a software company that made a product a customer used to manipulate the financial markets.

“Last week, the judge found no rational jury could find Jitesh guilty of conspiracy, acquitting Jitesh on that count.

“Today, 10 out of 12 jurors voted to acquit Jitesh of the remaining counts of aiding and abetting. Those 10 jurors saw in Jitesh what I saw–an innocent man. Jitesh Thakkar is innocent and I’m proud to represent him. I hope the DOJ does not pursue this misguided case further.

“It is not a crime to sell software to someone who turns out to be a criminal, just like it’s not a crime to sell a car that turns out to be the getaway car in a bank robbery.”~JJL

This industry owes Jitesh Thakkar and Renato Mariotti a big thank you for beating the Department of Justice over this case, whether you know it or not. You can say thank you by contributing to Jitesh Thakkar’s GoFundMe campaign to help defray the cost of his defense.~JJL

Did you know that in 1910, the President of the Chicago Board of Trade was A. Stamford White? He was also an early leader in the Boy Scouts of America and led a group that founded the Owasippe, originally called the A. Stamford White – Owasippe Scout Camp. In 1911 when Owasippe was founded, White was the head of the Chicago Scouts and by some accounts, it was the Chicago Board of Trade that founded Owasippe. Thus, the connection between our industry and Scouting goes way back.~JJL

White was also the president of the CBOT in 1918 when he passed away. Both White and William D. Boyce, the founder of Boy Scouts of America, were members of the Union League Club of Chicago as well.~JJL

A volume update on the BSE, formerly Bombay Stock Exchange, revealed that its India INX market, in the international tax-free zone called GIFT City in Gujarat, posted volumes of 9.9 million contracts in 2018, a 1,170 percent jump from its first year, which garnered 781,789 contracts. A nod to open markets.~JK

The NFA will hold its 4th annual member town hall webinar today at 1 PM CT. NFA CEO Thomas Sexton and NFA’s officers will provide a short update on NFA’s recent initiatives and respond to questions submitted by members. If you would like to submit a question prior to the webinar, please email it to feedback@nfa.futures.org. You can still register HERE.~JJL

Nine years ago last week, we posted a notice at the top of this newsletter that 3 Points Communications had opened. That notice triggered a call from Chris Hehmeyer and a few days later 3PTS had their first client. And as they say, the rest is history.~JJL

Thirty years ago on Monday, I asked Cheryl Howard to marry me. She said yes and we will celebrate our 30th anniversary on September 23, 2019.~JJL

Women in Listed Derivatives (WILD) on Tuesday announced two new corporate members: FIS and Wells Fargo.~SR

SGX’s FX futures suite continues to boom – Q1’s 5.35 million contracts traded is a record. Roughly two thirds of the FX gross notional traded at SGX comes from USD/CNH. If you missed our video with SGX’s Michael Syn, check it out here. ~SD


Should Software Engineers be Criminally Liable for Trader’s use of their code?
Tayloe Draughon – via LinkedIn
I sat in stunned silence as I listened to the closing arguments in the case of the US vs Jittesh Thakkar, as the prosecution distorted the professional world that I live in.

*****Tayloe Draughon weighs in on this case.~JJL


FreightWaves Selects Predata for AI-Driven Risk Signals
Predata, the predictive analytics company for geopolitical risk, today announced its integration with FreightWaves’ SONAR, the freight industry’s only market data and analytics platform. In doing so, Predata has built over 200 custom freight-specific signals that will be available to FreightWaves’ clients to assist them in anticipating previously unmeasurable transportation risks. This announcement comes on the heels of FreightWaves’ involvement in the launch of the world’s first-ever Trucking Freight Futures product.

*****Predata keeps on trucking.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
There are few names that can dethrone our interest in the curious government case against Jitesh Thakkar, and one would be Ken Griffin. Business Insider’s Inside the Chicago hedge fund turf war between billionaire Ken Griffin and Dmitry Balyasny took the top spot. Second and third were JLN originals. Thom Thompson’s coverage of the Thakkar trial in A “Computer Guy From Naperville”: Closing Arguments in US v Thakkar was second, followed by Chuck Mackie’s scathing review of the government and implications of this case in The U.S. v. Jitesh Thakkar: Closing Arguments


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Lead Stories

Federal spoofing trial of Chicago software developer ends in hung jury
Robert Channick – Chicago Tribune
The spoofing trial of software developer Jitesh Thakkar — an attempt by federal regulators to crack down on illegal high-frequency computer trading — ended with a hung jury Tuesday in Chicago federal court. Thakkar, 42, of Naperville, was charged last year with conspiracy and aiding and abetting the notorious British “flash crash” trader Navinder Sarao in a multiyear scheme that netted millions in illicit gains.

Deutsche Börse creates leading index and portfolio/risk analytics business
Axioma has agreed to be acquired by Deutsche Börse for US$850 million cash and debt free (around US$820 million equity value) and will be combined with Deutsche Börse’s index businesses (STOXX and DAX) valued at EUR2.6 billion.

***SR: The Financial Times has the story here.

Aquis Exchange revises no-deal Brexit share trading strategy
Huw Jones – Reuters
Aquis Exchange has revised its no-deal Brexit strategy in an effort to steal a march on rivals in the face of curbs on where investors can buy and sell stocks.

Nasdaq Publishes Blueprint to Advance Markets for Main Street Investors and Companies of all Sizes
Nasdaq today launched TotalMarkets: Blueprint for a Better Tomorrow, which proposes structural changes to the U.S. equity markets to modernize regulations that benefits all investors and issuers. The proposal calls for updating regulations to reflect the evolution of the markets and technology advances that have occurred in the years since major market structure reform was enacted, and for enabling greater issuer choice in how issuers and investors interact within capital markets.

The Problem With Putting a Price on the End of the World; Economists have workable policy ideas for addressing climate change. But what if they’re politically impossible?
David Leonhardt – NY Times
On a Saturday afternoon in early December, inside a soaring auditorium on the campus of Stockholm University, William Nordhaus gave the crowning lecture of his half-century career as an economist. The occasion was his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in economics, which Nordhaus, a trim, soft-spoken Yale professor, had been jointly awarded. The title of the lecture was “Climate Change: The Ultimate Challenge for Economics.”

Pete Kyle’s Enduring Influence On Market Structure
Bruce Blythe – CME Group OpenMarkets
Albert S. “Pete” Kyle’s “welcome to the markets” moment was a doozy.
On an October Monday in 1979, Kyle was working on a trading desk for Goodman-Manaster & Co., a futures commission merchant at the Chicago Board of Trade. The previous Saturday evening, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker convened a rare press conference to announce extreme measures: With U.S. consumer inflation soaring over 12 percent annually, the central bank was going to hike its benchmark rates substantially to prevent matters from getting worse.

Traders Spooked as African Swine Fever Keeps Spreading
Alfred Cang and Atul Prakash – Bloomberg
Disease hits almost all China, 23 cities, provinces in Vietnam; China meal demand seen down for first time in more than decade
The relentless proliferation of African swine fever on farms in East Asia is sending shivers through the region’s livestock industry, with more than a million hogs culled since the disease first appeared in August, and that’s just according to official tallies.

Stocks caught in crossfire of no-deal Brexit share trading plans; Analysis from big xyt shows that some stocks will be caught in the crossfire of a UK share trading obligation, as industry’s concern on EU no-deal Brexit share trading plans heightens.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
More than a dozen securities could be caught in a political crossfire if the UK applies a similar share trading obligation to the EU’s under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, according to analysis by data specialist big xyt.

Former SeaWorld exec pleads guilty to insider trading
Carleton English – NY Post
A former SeaWorld Entertainment exec has admitted to using his position as a top lawyer for the Orlando theme park owner to line his own pockets — to the tune of $65,000.

Hong Kong’s stock market capitalisation surpasses Japan; The territory now sits in third place behind the US and China
Hudson Lockett – FT
Hong Kong’s stock market capitalisation has surpassed Japan’s for the first time since 2015 to become the third-largest in the world, a sign of diverging fortunes for the two major Asian bourses this year.

Carbon pricing should drive African development, not hinder it; Three policy priorities to help the region lead the transition to a clean economy
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – FT
Government leaders often ask me how they can achieve development goals, such as expanding energy access, while tackling climate change. Some say, “Shouldn’t we use our coal resources to give people electricity first, then go low-carbon later?”

Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity
Jill Griffin – Forbes
When Kevin Davis served as CEO for a major Wall Street brokerage firm, he saw lots of applications for internships cross his desk. The majority were from friends of colleagues. Very few, if any, were from students from underrepresented communities, the kind of students who can really benefit from an internship. (Davis left MF Global three years before its demise.)

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Introduction of Equity Total Return Futures and Basket Trades of Equity Total Return Futures; corresponding amendments to the Clearing Conditions and other documents of Eurex Clearing AG – Consultation
Eurex Clearing plans to offer clearing for Total Return Futures on Shares (“Equity TRF”) of in EUR denominated equities and Basket Trades of Equity Total Return Futures (“Basket TRF”), introduced at Eurex Deutschland.

Deutsche Börse Creates Leading Provider in Index, Portfolio and Risk Analysis
Deutsche Börse
Deutsche Börse AG (German Stock Exchange) and Axioma, Inc. (Axioma) have announced that Axioma has approved the acquisition by Deutsche Börse of $ 850 million in cash and debt-free (approximately $ 820 million equity) Has. Axioma is merged with the index business of Deutsche Börse (STOXX and DAX), which was valued at 2.6 billion euros, to form a new company.

Deutsche Börse acquires analytics provider Axioma for $850 million; Deutsche Börse will combine its own index business with Axioma to form a new company.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Exchange operator Deutsche Börse has moved to bolster its index and risk analytics business through the acquisition of Axioma for $850 million.

Intercontinental Exchange Launches Eight New Regional MSCI Futures Contracts
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses, announced the launch of eight new regional MSCI futures contracts. The new contracts, which started trading yesterday, are listed on ICE Futures U.S. and five expiry months have been listed for each contract: June 2019, September 2019, December 2019, March 2020 and June 2020.

Nasdaq proposes regulatory changes to the SEC
The Nasdaq is recommending regulatory changes to the SEC, including a change to rules that could impact smaller public companies, investors’ access to market data and the cost of trading — all of which, the exchange says, could spur more innovation.

Examining Nasdaq’s Blueprint for the U.S. Equity Market
Richard Johnson – Greenwich Associates
When you spend your days living in the world of market structure – as we do here at Greenwich Associates – it can seem as if change happens slowly. While everyone agrees that the current market structure is not perfect, changing it can be difficult because of the vested interests and business models that have built up around it. But the rules, processes and structures that underpin our markets have to change, must evolve and need to revitalize themselves, in order to adapt to changes in technology and business practices.

Nasdaq Expands in Treasuries
Terry Flanagan – Trades Magazine
Five months after unveiling a new partnership for front-end technology in U.S. Treasuries, Nasdaq is planning upgraded functionality for trading in the $41 trillion market. Speaking earlier this month at the Futures Industry Association conference in Boca Raton, Florida, Bragg said Nasdaq will soon announce functionality to facilitate curve trading, a strategy that aims to extract profit from widening or narrowing yield differences between Treasuries on different parts of the yield curve.

SGX reports market statistics for March 2019
Derivatives volume hit record high during first quarter of 2019, reaching daily average volume of more than 1 million contracts per quarter for the first time; Securities daily average value rose compared to preceding quarter, led by higher turnover in IT and REIT sectors
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today released its market statistics for March 2019. Risk management was a major theme during the month, with commodity supply disruptions in Brazil and Australia spurring hedging demand for iron ore. Positive investor sentiment also drove market activity, with SGX’s equity-index futures volume achieving a record high of 18.6 million contracts in March, as portfolio investors managed their exposure to the Chinese and Japanese stock benchmarks. SGX’s derivatives volume marked a record first quarter, with a daily average of more than 1 million contracts changing hands per quarter for the first time.

Network International lists on London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange welcomes Network International, a leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East & Africa (MEA), to the premium listing segment of its Main Market. The company has raised £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion), valuing the company at £2.2 billion ($2.8 billion) and is the largest MEA IPO listed on any exchange globally since 2014. The listing is also the largest ever technology IPO from a MEA-based firm globally and the largest technology company to list on London Stock Exchange since 2015.

Tradeweb captivates Wall Street as investors buy into electronic bond trading
Declan Harty, Stefen Joshua Rasay – SP Global
A leading U.S. electronic trading company has bewitched Wall Street. With one of the largest initial public offerings so far in 2019, Tradeweb Markets Inc. captivated investors in its April 4 public debut. The New York-based company’s newly minted stock closed its first day of trading 32.6% above its initially projected price of $27. At $1.08 billion, Tradeweb’s offering was the 16th-largest U.S. IPO since the beginning of 2015, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

LME introduces first code of conduct in its 142-year history
Samuel Agini – Financial news
The London Metal Exchange is to introduce the first code of conduct in its 142-year history, just six months after one of the trading venue’s clients hosted a cocktail party at the Playboy club in Mayfair using LME branding.

DTCC adds board members
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced the election of three new members to DTCC’s Board of Directors during the firm’s Annual Shareholders Meeting.


Big data is a big deal: KPMG will use an entire floor of Aon Center to help clients with emerging technologies
Ally Marotti – Chicago Tribune
KPMG is opening a space on the 68th floor of the Aon Center to advise its clients on data science, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, a sign of the business world’s increasing dependence on big data.

How Fintech Is Revolutionizing Financial Services
Wharton University of Pennsylvania
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London to take San Francisco’s FinTech unicorn crown
Innovation Enterprise
San Francisco is home to the most FinTech unicorns – companies valued at $1bn or over – with nine of the 29 FinTech unicorns globally based in the Bay Area, while London has come a close second with seven housed in the UK’s capital city, data from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters and market analysis firm Vacancy Soft has revealed.

Cambridge University Appoints Former IBM FinTech Head as Alternative Finance Fellow
Press Release
KoreConX is pleased to announce that Keith Bear, one of their company advisors, is now a Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), part of the Judge Business School at Cambridge University. Mr. Bear has accumulated over 35 years of expertise during his career focused on financial markets, business strategy and blockchain, which will serve him well in his new role

RegTek.Solutions Launches Full Reporting Solution For SFTR
RegTek.Solutions, leading provider of global regulatory reporting solutions, today announced the extension of its award-winning platform to include a full reporting solution for the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR).

FlexTrade joins forces with OpenFin on buy-side application interoperability; Partnership to bring application interoperability and improved workflow management for buy-side traders.
John Brazier – The Trade
Execution and order management systems specialist FlexTrade has announced a new partnership with financial markets operating systems vendor, OpenFin.

The Weekly Rant with Larry Tabb: Wall Street’s Technology Arms Race, Killing Innovation, and the Pros of Rebates
Larry Tabb – TABB Group
In a new video blog series, TABB Group founder and research chairman Larry Tabb takes a deep dive into one of the biggest competitive issues on Wall Street: the technology arms race. We’ve finally seen a return of innovation to the markets and an increase in fintech investment, with a focus on improving the customer experience, he says, but smaller firms don’t have the tech resources to keep up with the largest participants.


Digital Asset and ISDA Introduce Tool to Help Drive Adoption of ISDA CDM
Digital Asset has today announced that it is working with ISDA to develop an open-source reference code library that will help derivatives market participants adopt the ISDA Common Domain Model (CDM). This new tool will assist developers in implementing the ISDA CDM in solutions for trading and managing derivatives via DAML, the smart contract language created by Digital Asset.

Advocate for Mt Gox Creditors Quits, Saying Bitcoin Payouts Could Take Years
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
The head of the largest organized creditor group representing the former users of failed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is stepping down amid what he described as a protracted legal quagmire that could take years to resolve completely.

Blockchain for Brexit: a wonderfully terrible idea
Jemima Kelly – Financial Times
We’ve been here before. Blockchain, the antidote to all the world’s greatest ills, is once again being trotted out as a solution to Brexit. The last time, you might remember, it was our dear Chancellor of the Exchequer, Spreadsheet Phil himself, who decided that the distributed and supposedly immutable version of the humble spreadsheet was “the most obvious technology” to tackle… oh just the incredibly complex and sensitive Irish border question.

China Plans to Ban Cryptocurrency Mining in Renewed Clampdown
Edwin Chan – Bloomberg
China signaled its intent to ban cryptocurrency mining, dealing a fresh blow to an industry buffeted by tumbling virtual currency prices, stiff competition and waning investor interest. The National Development Reform Commission, the country’s powerful economic planner, this week listed crypto-mining among a plethora of industries it intends to eliminate because they “seriously wasted resources” or polluted the environment.

Bitcoin dealer gets two-year prison sentence for unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange
Shannon Liao – The Verge
A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to two years in prison for selling unlicensed bitcoins. His crime was operating a bitcoin exchange without registering with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of Treasury. Jacob Burrell Campos, a US citizen and Mexico resident, has been held in custody without bail since August 2018. He pleaded guilty in October 2018, admitting that he employed no anti-money laundering measures and didn’t check up on details about his customers and where their money came from.

Is Coinbase’s Cryptocurrency Bank Forming Before Our Very Eyes? New Exchange Listings Say Yes
Krystle N – Bitcoin Exchange Guide
With All of Coinbase’s Listings, Is the Leading Bitcoin Exchange Becoming A Crypto Bank? The birth of Bitcoin happened in result to the actions of banks during the financial crisis over ten years ago. The banks were cashing in on the needs of consumers, offering high-risk mortgages to anyone that was struggling to make their monthly payments, along with other schemes to take advantages of consumers. As Lehman Brothers ultimately collapsed in September 2008, and Bitcoin’s whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto was released six weeks later.

Bitcoin Data Is Giving A Stark Warning To Crypto Investors
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
Bitcoin, up by almost 30% over the last week, has recaptured the attention of the world’s investors and traders (as well as the media) after being trapped in a bitter, more than year-long, bear market. The bitcoin price, still far from its all-time high of almost $20,000 per bitcoin, exploded out of the gates early last week after rising steadily throughout March, leaping over 20% last Tuesday alone and crossing the psychological $5,000 mark.

A Nimbler, More Private Version of Bitcoin
Laura Shin – Forbes
The origin story of Bitcoin is part of its appeal: an anonymous creator designs a currency and then vanishes — leaving behind mountains of digital gold, untouched. That seemingly selfless act has made a near-religion out of Bitcoin and helped set it apart from the many other cryptocurrencies that have been spawned since. A recently launched cryptocurrency has a similar allure.

Bitcoin Cash 2019 Returns Double Those Of Bitcoin
Charles Bovaird – Forbes
Bitcoin cash has surged this year, doubling in price and sharply outperforming its big brother bitcoin. The altcoin (a digital currency besides bitcoin) rallied more than 105% between the start of 2019 ($160.53) and its annual high reached April 3 ($329.85), CoinDesk price data showed. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has experienced less impressive gains, climbing roughly 45% between its price on January 1 ($3,690.19) and its 2019 high ($5,343.25), additional CoinDesk price figures reveal.

Coinbase Tops JPMorgan in LinkedIn List of Most Popular Employers
Yogita Khatri – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has ranked above investment banking giant JPMorgan in LinkedIn’s top 50 U.S. employers list for 2019.

Crypto Firm Bitpanda Secures Payments Service Provider License Under EU Rules
Marie Huillet – Cointelegraph
Viennese crypto and fintech firm Bitpanda has received a payment service provider license from Austria’s financial regulator. The development was reported by Cointelegraph auf Deutsch on April 4.

China, a Major Bitcoin Source, Considers Moving Against It
Cao Li – NY Times
China is planning new steps that could put a stop to making Bitcoin there, a move that could cut off one of the world’s largest sources of the popular but unstable cryptocurrency.

‘Emotional Enthusiasm’ of Crypto Bulls Triggers a Warning Sign
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
The signs portending renewed pain ahead in the crypto world are piling up, with a technical indicator showing the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index at its most overbought since hitting a record last year.

The Unbelievable Brilliance of Binance
Pete Rizzo – Coindesk
Whatever people make of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance and its leader, Changpeng Zhao, the company’s success isn’t just unprecedented, it’s precedent-setting.

Bitcoin Trader Ordered to Forfeit $800K Gained via Unlicensed Exchange
Yogita Khatri – Coindesk
A 22-year-old bitcoin seller from the U.S. has been ordered to hand over $823,357 gained illegally via an unlicensed money transmission business.


Trump Federal Reserve Nominee Admitted ‘I’m Not an Expert on Monetary Policy’
Jonathan Chait – New York Magazine
A little over two and a half years ago, Stephen Moore appeared at a conservative panel on the election and the economy, where one questioner asked about monetary policy. “Well, you know, I’m not an expert on monetary policy,” admitted Moore, before proceeding to deliver an answer bearing out this very confession. (The question concerned “cash flow velocity,” which Moore deflected by ignoring, retreating to a generality — “We want clear rules and a stable dollar” — and then changing the subject to regulation.)

Bank Executives to Tell Congress: Financial System Is Much Safer; Chiefs, facing skeptical House Democrats, cite postcrisis reforms and improved culture
Andrew Ackerman and Lalita Clozel – WSJ
The chief executives of the largest U.S. banks plan to tell Congress this week that the financial system is less risky and more tightly supervised than it was a decade ago thanks to a series of regulatory reforms implemented in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Republican John Thune says lawmakers concerned over Herman Cain nomination; Senator sees ‘pretty steep’ odds both Cain and Stephen Moore reach the Fed
Sam Fleming – FT
Herman Cain’s path to securing a nomination to the Federal Reserve grew rockier as a top Republican senator spoke of “concerns” being voiced about his qualifications.

‘You Are Ordering Me to Stay’: Mnuchin and Waters Clash at Hearing
Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin clashed with Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, bickering with her about ending a hearing on Tuesday after more than three hours of testimony and about whether he would return to the panel.


Upper Tribunal publishes decision on Linear Investments Limited in relation to penalty imposed FCA
The Upper Tribunal has published its decision on the reference made by Linear Investments Limited (Linear) in relation to the penalty imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Insurance firms failing to consider value of the products and services provided to consumers
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning General Insurance (GI) firms about manufacturing, sales and distribution approaches that can lead to customers purchasing inappropriate products, paying excessive prices or receiving poor service.

NFA orders Ryan Litfin, former associated person and branch manager of the Eden Prairie, Minn. Branch office of East West Global, LLC to not reapply for NFA membership for five years
NFA has ordered Ryan Litfin, former associated person and branch manager of the Eden Prairie, Minn. Branch office of East West Global, LLC to not reapply for NFA membership for five years.

NFA orders Highland Park, Ill. commodity pool operator East West Global, LLC and its principal Luke James Adrian to jointly pay a $75,000 fine
NFA has ordered Highland Park, Ill. commodity pool operator East West Global, LLC and its principal and associated person Luke James Adrian to jointly pay a $75,000 fine.

Remarks of CFTC Commissioner Rostin Behnam at the ISDA 34th Annual General Meeting, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Hong Kong;Sowing the Seeds of Success in 2020
Thank you for the kind introduction; it is a great pleasure to be here. I want to thank Eric Litvack, Scott O’Malia, and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA”) for inviting me to join you today. Before I begin, please allow me to remind you that the views I express today in these remarks and discussion to follow are my own and do not represent the views of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC” or “Commission”) or my fellow Commissioners.

SEC Charges Former SeaWorld Associate General Counsel With Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former senior lawyer at SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. with insider trading based on nonpublic information that the company’s revenue would be better than anticipated for the second quarter of 2018.

FINRA Announces Update of the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules
FINRA is making available an update to the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules that the staff of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets (SEC staff) has communicated to FINRA staff. The update relates to Securities Exchange Act (SEA) Rule 15c3-1(c)(2)(viii) (Open Contractual Commitments).

Proposed Rule Change to Extend the Current Pilot Program Related to FINRA Rule 11892 (Clearly Erroneous Transactions in Exchange-Listed Securities)
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to extend the current pilot program related to FINRA Rule 11892 (Clearly Erroneous Transactions in Exchange-Listed Securities) to the close of business on October 18, 2019.

ASIC releases final report on CBA’s compliance with financial advice licence conditions
ASIC today released KordaMentha Forensic’s final report on CBA’s advice compensation program under its additional licence conditions.

ASIC and APRA publish joint letter on superannuation fees
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) have published a joint letter to all registrable superannuation entity (RSE) licensees to reinforce the importance of ensuring fees charged to members are in line with the members’ best interests.

Budget Estimates – Opening Statement, ASIC Chair James Shipton, 10 April 2019
Budget Estimates, Opening Statement by ASIC Chair James Shipton,
Good evening Chair. On behalf of my colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee.

City financial watchdog fires warning shot at insurers; Financial Conduct Authority concerned over remuneration structures and distribution
Caroline Binham – FT
The UK’s financial watchdog has fired a shot across the bows of insurers and other sellers of insurance products, warning that customers are still paying over the odds because of “conflicts of interest” in firms’ remuneration structures.

Investing and Trading

There’s trouble in OPEC and oil prices are up 50%
Matt Egan, CNN Business
Venezuela is in chaos. Iran is grappling with US sanctions. And now there’s a surge of violence in Libya. Trouble in these three OPEC nations has helped send US oil prices climbing back above $64 a barrel.

A Chill Descends on the Coal Market; Thermal-coal prices have tumbled to multiyear lows
Rhiannon Hoyle – WSJ
Thermal-coal prices have tumbled to multiyear lows amid slumping global demand for the commodity, the world’s top source of electricity.

How marijuana is moving global markets
Yahoo Finance Video
The two largest pot funds in North America are making millions with a little help from short sellers. John Davi, Astoria Portfolio Advisors Founder and CIO, joins Akiko Fujita on ‘The Ticker’ to discuss strong performance ETFs.


R.J. O’Brien Promotes Kathleen Clapper To Chief Compliance Officer
Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO), the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, today announced the promotion of Kathleen E. Clapper to Senior Director and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). Clapper assumes the role following the retirement of CCO Nancy Westwick.

Wells Fargo, Stuck in ‘Wait and See Mode,’ Struggles to Boost Its Businesses; Scandals tainted the bank’s image; underneath, its units are also burdened
Rachel Louise Ensign – WSJ
Wells Fargo WFC -1.51% & Co.’s reputation has languished over the past 2½ years. Its key businesses aren’t doing much better.

Jefferies and Credit Suisse set to lose on Israeli cyber security deal; Investors balk at $510m loan backing acquisition of NSO, which has been criticised by Amnesty
Robert Smith – FT
Jefferies and Credit Suisse have got their fingers burnt underwriting the leveraged buyout of a controversial Israeli cyber security company, which Amnesty International recently criticised for allegedly providing spyware to target political dissidents.

Bill Gross’s Successor Rolls With a $600 Million Punch; Janus Henderson’s Nick Maroutsos smoothly navigated the former bond king’s big withdrawal.
Brian Chappatta – Bloomberg
There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when Nick Maroutsos, co-head of global bonds at Janus Henderson Group Plc, is thought of as more than just the manager who took over Bill Gross’s former mutual fund when he retired.


Russian investigators call for U.S. investor to be let out of jail
Russian investigators have asked a court in Moscow to free detained U.S. investor Michael Calvey from custody at a hearing later this week and to place him under house arrest instead, the court said on Wednesday.

China’s Giant Money-Market Fund Scraps Investment Caps; Tianhong Yu’e Bao is having trouble preventing investors from shifting money into higher-yielding rivals
Stella Yifan Xie – WSJ
China’s biggest money-market mutual fund is lifting restrictions on how much individuals can invest in it, after suffering through months of outflows to rivals.

Singapore Bans Former HSBC and UOB Bankers for Fraud and Dishonesty
Joyce Koh – Bloomberg
Singapore has meted out lengthy bans to convicted former HSBC Holdings Plc and United Overseas Bank Ltd. bankers for fraud and dishonest conduct.

Turkish State Banks Get Biggest Handout Since 2001 Crisis
Asli Kandemir , Ercan Ersoy , and Kerim Karakaya – Bloomberg
Finance minister says fresh capital to be injected into banks; The government also plans to take bad loans off lenders’ books
Turkey has just committed to the biggest plan to bolster its banks since a financial crisis 18 years ago almost wiped out the industry.

CLSA Loses More Top Leaders as COO, Trading Head Quit
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Latest departures follow resignation by CEO Jonathan Slone; Tensions have increased between old guard and Chinese owner
The culture clash between CLSA Ltd.’s old guard and its Chinese owner may have reached a tipping point. At least four of the Hong Kong brokerage’s senior managers are following Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Slone out the door amid mounting tensions with Citic Securities Co., which bought CLSA in 2013, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Last Stop for Some of Danske Bank’s Dirty Money: Spanish Real Estate
Jeannette Neumann – Bloomberg
Prosecutors allege about 10 million euros spent on property; Decision on further probe, trial shifts to national court
Some of the $230 million at the heart of Europe’s widening money-laundering scandal was ultimately spent on Spanish real estate, according to anti-corruption prosecutors in Madrid.


How London banks are trying to dodge Brexit; Regulators want more activity shifted to mainland Europe but lenders have other ideas
Stephen Morris and Jim Brunsden in Brussels – FT
Since the UK voted to leave the EU more than two years ago, banks have been in a cat-and-mouse game with supervisors, trying to minimise expenses and keep the vast majority of their operations in London.

EU Set to Force U.K. Into Long Brexit Delay in Danger for Theresa May
Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
EU diplomats said to see Dec. or March as the new Brexit day; France is the most “reluctant,” says Spanish foreign minister
Britain’s exit from the European Union looks set to be delayed by as long as a year in a blow for Theresa May that risks a destabilizing backlash at home.

Brexit Britain Is Tired of Weak Leaders; Voters says they want strong leaders, but that doesn’t mean they are giving up on democracy.
Leonid Bershidsky – Bloomberg
After almost three years of wrangling and gridlock following the 2016 European Union referendum, more than half of British voters say they long for a strong leader. It’s not an unreasonable demand in the current bleak situation.

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