First Read

Head of marketing Mead leaves CME
Julie Aelbrecht – Futures & Options World
Mead’s departure marks the latest management change under new CEO Terry Duffy
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s head of marketing Christopher Mead has resigned from his role at the firm, marking the latest management change under new chief executive Terry Duffy.
Mead will leave the Merc after over 11 years in its US marketing department. A spokesperson from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has confirmed Mead will be leaving the firm at the end of the month.

***** I can’t say enough good things about Chris Mead and working with him at the CME Group. He was a big supporter of John Lothian News and our education efforts. He understood the big picture and managed the little things well too. His shoes will be tough to fill, but a worthy challenge for whoever gets the job. Best wishes to Chris on whatever comes next for him.


Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’ artist challenges ‘Fearless Girl’ sculpture
Gina Cherelus and Barbara Goldberg – Reuters
The sculptor of Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” statue is seeing red over New York City’s decision to keep in place the “Fearless Girl” sculpture that now stares it down, saying the adjacent art has changed the meaning of his work and violated his legal rights. The city’s ruling to let the bronze depiction of a defiant girl remain until February 2018 just feet from the bull’s flaring nostrils should be reviewed, said a lawyer for sculptor Arturo Di Modica.

***** If I were an artist, I would create controversy too so my work would get more attention.


Fake-news fraudsters find new ways to trick traders
By Jeremy C. Owens – MarketWatch
From false articles to bogus SEC filings, stock scammers constantly adjust their ways in the age of the internet
As the internet has provided platforms for a flood of information that algorithms constantly sift to seek market-moving news, it has also provided bad actors many opportunities to take advantage of the system in search of profit.

***** This is not news. This is a constant in the markets. The techniques have changed, but not the intent.


FCM Tracker
To help provide greater transparency into the financial condition of futures commission merchants operating in the U.S., FIA has created a series of interactive visualizations based on data published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on a monthly basis.

****** I liked the second best name the FIA had considered for this product, “FCM Stalker.”


Advantage Futures Client Funds Top $700 Million
PR Newswire
Advantage Futures announced client funds recently reached an all-time high surpassing $700 million. The clearing firm celebrates its fourteen year anniversary on June 2, 2017. Advantage and its nearly 100 employees have processed over 3.7 billion contracts since their founding on June 2, 2003, placing it among the high volume clearing firms in the futures industry.

***** Congratulations to Joe Guinan and his team for their latest record benchmark.


Istanbul Welcomes Bets of Mystery Trader Known as `The Dude’
by Tugce Ozsoy and Kerim Karakaya – Bloomberg
No manipulative behavior has been identified, Bourse CEO said; CEO Karadag says a high-frequency fund is behind big trades
Istanbul’s stock exchange is delighted to be attracting the attentions of a mysterious trader known locally as “The Dude.”

****** The Dude is a much better name than the one of the previous hot trader who fizzled out, the Dud.


WILD Event: Money is Always in Style – May 03, 2017
WILD Members Only
You asked, we listened! WILD members are looking for knowledge on investing, and we put together a three part series to give you just that. Money Is Always In Style is the first workshop that will help you better understand what money style is, and how it’s personal to you. Part two (I Am My Own CFO) will teach you how to recognize daily financial decisions you make and how to own them, along with helping you understand what you want from your investments and a list of questions to screen financial advisors. The final part in the series (All Women Want Options) will educate you on options and how they can protect your assets, and show you how to generate income through covered call writing.


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top two stories yesterday are pretty much the same story. The first was the Financial Times article, CME Group to shut London exchange, clearing house and the second the CME Group press release about the same thing, CME Group Intends to Close CME Europe and CME Clearing Europe by Year-End. Third was a different story from CME Group, How Blockchain Is Changing Gold Markets


MarketsWiki Stats
97,751,154 pages viewed; 22,456 pages; 205,306 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Indexes Beat Stock Pickers Even Over 15 Years; New data show that 82% of all U.S. funds trailed their respective benchmarks over 15 years
By Daisy Maxey and Chris Dieterich – WSJ
Most actively managed U.S. stock funds were beaten by their market benchmarks over the past decade and a half, a record of underperformance that helps explain why stock pickers are losing billions of dollars in assets each month to low-cost passive investments that track indexes.

***** Between the story about how bad the returns are on commodity indexes and then this story, I begin to wonder if Gary Gensler is the new editor of the Wall Street Journal. Somewhere he is smiling.

Deutsche Boerse reluctant to extend CEO contract after failed merger: sources
Deutsche Boerse’s (DB1Gn.DE) supervisory board is reluctant to approve quickly an extension of Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter’s contract following the German exchange operator’s failed merger with the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L), two people close to the matter said.

Chi-X Australia boss John Fildes steps down
Financial Review
Chi-X Australia chief John Fildes has resigned from the company with immediate effect, sources told Street Talk.

Trump Reversals Hint at Wall Street Wing’s Sway in White House
Alan Rappeport – NY Times
President Trump made three startling economic policy reversals on Wednesday, stepping away from pledges he made as a candidate and even policies he supported only days ago.

Trump Liking Yellen Ignites Prospects for Fed Policy Continuity
by Jeanna Smialek and Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
In Wall St. Journal interview, Trump says he respects Yellen; His comments mark a reversal from his campaign-trail criticism
Trump Sees Dovish Fed Chair as Good
President Donald Trump hinted for the first time that he’s open to keeping Janet Yellen at the helm of the Federal Reserve. For markets trying to predict the future of monetary policy, that’s a change of heart that suggests continuity during an era of disruption in Washington.

Trump Drops Campaign Promise by Saying He Won’t Label China a Currency Manipulator
Andrew Mayeda – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump said he won’t brand China a currency manipulator, retreating from core campaign promise, though he argued that a strong dollar is hampering the ability of American firms to compete.

Goldman Points to Developed Markets as Highest Geopolitical Risk
by Ben Bartenstein – Bloomberg
Twenty-one of 24 emerging-market currencies are up this year; Growth forecasts hint at rally in developing-nation stocks
Geopolitical risks may be on the rise in emerging markets, but investors from Goldman Sachs to BlackRock aren’t much bothered by them. Developed nations, on the other hand, are giving them the jitters.

FIA develops FCM tracker; The FCM tracker provides industry-wide view of customer funds in futures and swaps.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The Futures Industry Association (FIA) has launched a tracker for US futures commission merchants (FCM).

Banks spent close to $100 billion on compliance last year; Annual compliance expenditure surges while RegTech spending is expected to reach $80 billion by 2020.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Global spending among banks on compliance alone reached almost $100 billion in 2016, growing from 15% to 25% annually over the past four years according to new research.

Trump Says Dollar ‘Getting Too Strong,’ Won’t Label China a Currency Manipulator; President leaves open possibility of renominating Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen
By Gerard Baker, Carol E. Lee and Michael C. Bender – WSJ
President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S. dollar “is getting too strong” and he would prefer the Federal Reserve keep interest rates low.

U.S. dollar drops sharply after President Trump calls it ‘too strong’
President Trump doesn’t want a strong US dollar. He got his wish Wednesday afternoon. The dollar dropped over 0.7%, a major move, after Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the dollar is “getting too strong.” “I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that’s my fault because people have confidence in me,” Trump said. “But that’s hurting — that will hurt ultimately.”

Wall Street Rout: Indexes Beat Stockpickers 92% of the Time
Daisy Maxey – WSJ
Active mutual-fund managers say you can’t judge their performance against passive benchmarks over short time periods. Is a decade and a half long enough? Over the 15 years ending December 2016, 95.4% of U.S. mid-cap funds, 93.2% of U.S. small-cap funds and 92.2% of U.S. large-cap funds trailed their respective benchmarks, according to the latest S&P Indices Versus Active funds scorecard. The analysis, known as Spiva, is published semiannually by S&P Global using a methodology that includes funds that have been liquidated or merged out of existence.

Steve Lipin quits Brunswick to set up financial PR firm
James Fontanella-Khan and Arash Massoudi – Financial Times
Steve Lipin, who went from writing about deals for the Wall Street Journal to advising on them as Brunswick’s US senior partner, is leaving the public relations firm to set up his own financial communications advisory business. The former journalist, who joined Brunswick in 2001 to help it expand its mergers and acquisition advisory business in the US, confirmed his departure and plans to set up his own venture.

The De-Electrification of the U.S. Economy
By Justin Fox – Bloomberg
For more than a century after the advent of commercial electrical power in the late 1800s, electricity use in the U.S. rose and rose and rose. Sure, there were pauses during recessions, but the general trajectory was up. Until 2007, it appears:

Fed Drops ‘London Whale’ Probe; U.S. regulator suspends investigation of trader at center of $6.2 billion losses at J.P. Morgan
By Lucy McNulty – WSJ
The Federal Reserve has shelved its threat of legal action against Bruno Iksil, the former J.P. Morgan JPM -0.38% trader at the center of the 2012 “London Whale” saga, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

CME Group president provides insight on business ethics
Daily Herald
CME Group President Bryan T. Durkin provided a business case for attaching oneself to ethical principles during the 2017 Lewis University College of Business Ethics Week.

Chinese Backers Planning Singapore’s Third Derivatives Exchange
Bloomberg News
Talks on details for venue at early stage and may change; Apex would be third derivatives bourse in Asian city-state
Singapore may be set to get a third derivatives exchange, this time backed by China.

System Status RSS
The CFE’s 4:10 pm open has been delayed.

Don’t count CME out of Europe
By LYNNE MAREK – Crain’s Chicago Business
Subscription Required

CME Group to Shut European Exchange and Clearing House
The CME Group, which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, will close two European units in a setback for its efforts to expand its global footprint.

Tokyo Stock Exchange faces tortured dilemma over Toshiba; The company risks damaging the Japanese public’s already limited appetite for stocks
by: Leo Lewis – FT
For the past four years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been engaged in a tormented, on-off courtship with Mrs Watanabe — Japan’s imaginary household matriarch. The deepening financial crisis at Toshiba creates an unprecedented dilemma for the Tokyo Stock Exchange that threatens to shatter the romance.

World Federation Of Exchanges Publishes Cyber Resilience Standards
The World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”), which represents more than 200 market infrastructure providers including exchanges and CCPs, today published a set of cyber resilience standards designed to be used by WFE members, and other market infrastructure providers, to ensure alignment and common minimum standards across the global system.


Small businesses hate fintech lenders more than big banks
Kadhim Shubber – Financial Times
If there’s one thing the fintech world prides itself on, it’s that customers like them more than the banks. The banks’ stuff is expensive, clunky, and face-meltingly slow, but fintech startups, who are more pure of heart and sound of mind, have cheap, modern, lightning-fast wares. As a result, the only reason customers don’t switch to fintechs and join the revolution is they don’t know what they’re missing out on.

Boston fintech startup Elsen is powering Thomson Reuters QA Point investment tool
Kelly J. O’Brien – Boston Business Journal
A Boston-based financial tech startup that has raised less than $1 million in investments funding got a big boost Tuesday when Thomson Reuters unveiled a new data tool that’s based on its technology.

Pay Pal co-founder Max Levchin’s fintech firm Affirm inks big lease in San Francisco’s Financial District with Columbia Property Trust
Blanca Torres – San Francisco Business Journal
A startup from Pay Pal co-founder Max Levchin has grabbed 86,225 square feet in 650 California St. in San Francisco, marking another big expansion by a burgeoning tech company.

Fintech firms still see a future for fiduciary compliance tools
Suleman Din – Financial Planning
So determined to demonstrate its fiduciary rule bonafides, adviser software firm Active Allocator asked the attorneys at Wagner Law Group to review its product. The firm advertised that Wagner issued a legal opinion concluding their software helps advisers meet the regulation’s unique requirements.
Yet now that the fiduciary rule’s implementation has been delayed and could be potentially rescinded, was the effort all for naught?

Bank of England says no need for tougher fintech regulation
By Huw Jones and Jemima Kelly – Reuters
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Wednesday the financial technology sector did not need the same level of regulation as banks, in the latest sign of Britain seeking to cement its position as a global fintech hub after Brexit.

UK fintech warns of Brexit risks to London’s lustre
Yolanda Bobeldijk and Lucy McNulty – FN London
Financial technology firms in the UK have called on the government to do more to ensure that London remains an attractive hub for the industry after the country leaves the European Union.

Fintech founder: I would not set up in London today
Yolanda Bobeldijk and Lucy McNulty – FN London
The founder of one of London’s best-known fintech startups has said that he would not choose London as a location to set up his business today, as he has “no idea what Brexit will mean”.


Democratic U.S. senator questions Deutsche Bank over Trump
A Democratic U.S. senator pressed Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) on Wednesday to release information about issues including President Donald Trump’s debt and any bank meetings with Trump administration officials, saying he had “great concern” about possible conflicts of interest.

Trump’s Reversal on China Currency His Latest Abandoned Promise
by Justin Sink – Bloomberg
The president’s campaign pledges meet Washington reality; China decision breaks pledge in contract with voters
President Donald Trump’s declaration that he won’t label China a currency manipulator stands as the clearest example of the difficulty he’s having delivering on big campaign promises.


The Big Interview: Rob Boardman; The TRADE speaks with CEO for ITG in EMEA, Rob Boardman, about the recent launch of its algo wheels, the systematic internaliser regime and the challenges ahead of MiFID II.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Hayley McDowell: How can firms use algo wheels for MiFID II compliance?

Yearning for Glass-Steagall spells need for new bank model; Remedies to prevent repeat of 2008 financial crisis have not been seen to be applied
by: John Authers
Easter is upon us. For many, the great Christian festival is cause for solemnity and reflection. At a more prosaic level, it is also a cue to ponder our ongoing inability to decide on a fresh course for regulating our modern financial system.

MiFID and the Mystery of Regulatory Equivalence
George Bollenbacher via TABB Forum
Given the challenges for non-EU firms to comply with MiFID 2/MiFIR, we should expect all sorts of investment firms outside the EU to be petitioning their home regulators to arrange for regulatory equivalence. The question, of course, is how a non-EU regulator achieves equivalence.

Hunt for Barclays whistleblower tests strength of new UK regime
By Lawrence White and Huw Jones – Reuters
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley’s attempts to unmask a whistleblower will be a test case for a regime put in place last year that aims to hold bank bosses to account if they fail to defend reinforced standards.

Investing and Trading

The Skew
Michael Batnick – The Irrelevant Investor
An excellent piece from Bloomberg came out over the weekend, The Math Behind Futility, which looks beyond the usual explanations as to why the majority of professional stock pickers fail to keep up with an index. No, it’s not just the fees or the competition, but rather, the simple reason why so many managers fail to beat the benchmark is because so many stocks fail to beat the benchmark. Compounding manager’s problems, the biggest winners have an outsized impact on the index, and there is a steep price to pay for missing them.

Investors eye midstream sector as production ramps up
Liz Hampton – Reuters
Investors are placing bets that demand for U.S. energy pipelines, storage and processing facilities will outstrip supply in the next few years as the resurgence in shale oil and gas production increases. With U.S. oil prices mostly above $50 a barrel for several months and a jump in drilling activity this year, new projects are moving off the drawing boards, and backers are lining up customers. There also has been a spate of deals involving existing transportation and storage networks.

Geopolitical risks will cause markets to bend before they break; Liquidity from central banks and shale gas supplies have masked dangers
by: Tina Fordham – FT
The Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons, followed by President Donald Trump’s surprise attack on Syria, came on the same day as ballistic missile tests by North Korea, re-focusing financial markets on geopolitical risk

Majority of bond funds lag the market over the long run
Stephen Foley – Financial Times
A majority of bond funds fail to beat the market over the long run, according to a new study that will raise alarm in a segment of the asset management industry that has so far been relatively unscathed by the shift to passive management.

Warren Buffett reluctantly sells portion of Wells Fargo stake; Berkshire acts after stake increased above 10% triggered Fed scrutiny
by: Stephen Foley and Alistair Gray in New York – FT
When Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as the Oracle of Omaha, buys or sells shares, the market takes notice and other investors often follow.

The $260 Billion Portfolio Shaped by Bodybuilding, Scripture, and Slow-Thinking; An unconventional approach to investing drives Scott Minerd’s outperformance at Guggenheim Partners.
by John Gittelsohn – Bloomberg
Scott Minerd wadded up another piece of paper and looked out at the Pacific Ocean from his Santa Monica, Calif., office. He needed a better blueprint for his organization—a foundation for his investing process that could support consistent performance—and his ballpoint drawings still weren’t right. So Minerd kept sketching: boxes, arrows, words, whatever came to mind. When he found himself swimming in “spaghetti” doodles again, he’d ball up the paper and start anew.

Shale, Not Stock, Fuels the Wealthiest U.S. County; Set those 1040s aside and look where the real money is.
by Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
There are three good guesses for which U.S. county has the the highest adjusted gross incomes (AGI): New York County, otherwise known as Manhattan; Connecticut’s Fairfield County, where those rich Manhattanites land when they want a lawn; and Wyoming’s Teton County, home of Jackson Hole, where the richest of the rich go to play and sometimes stay.


Careful who you CC: Hedge fund Elliott accidentally emails AkzoNobel
Toby Sterling – Reuters
Message from the front line of a takeover battle: even the smartest investors can make sloppy mistakes with a sensitive email. In a communication seen by Reuters, Gordon Singer of hedge fund Elliot Advisors accidentally included a representative of AkzoNobel (AKZO.AS) in an otherwise internal distribution list on Tuesday.

JPMorgan profits rise 17% as investment bank unit shines
by: Ben McLannahan – FT
JPMorgan Chase got the US banks’ reporting season off to a solid start on Thursday, posting a 17 per cent rise in net income for the first quarter despite signs of a marked slowdown in the retail banking unit.

JPMorgan Surpasses Analysts’ Estimates as Trading Revenue Rises
by Hugh Son – Bloomberg
Bank’s net interest margin climbs 11 basis points to 2.33%; Fixed-income trading revenue increases 17% to $4.22 billion
JPMorgan Chase & Co. posted earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, fueled by better-than-expected trading revenue and lending margins.


Japan’s Nomura targets younger generation as demographic crunch looms
By Thomas Wilson and Emi Emoto – Reuters
Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T) aims to leverage its access to about 1.6 million members of employee stock ownership plans to tap a new generation of customers as its client base grays.

Exchanges for overhaul of ‘fit and proper’ rules; Market infra institutions send wishlist to Sebi, which is reviewing SECC regulations after 5 yrs
Shrimi Choudhary – Business Standard
Stock exchanges have sought an overhaul of the ‘fit and proper’ norms applicable to their shareholders. And, have requested the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for changes to the rules on appointment and remuneration of directors, shareholding structure and on corporate governance norms. Sebi, the markets regulator, is currently reviewing the regulations for exchanges and other market infrastructure institutions (MIIs), five years after an earlier such exercise.

Europe’s Wheat Reserves Shrinking to Lowest in More Than Decade
by Manisha Jha and Agnieszka De Sousa – Bloomberg
Wheat stockpiles seen plunging 37 percent this season: Tallage; Poor harvests and strong consumption is eroding inventories
Europe is likely to end the wheat season with the smallest stockpiles in 13 years.

Legacy of British Rule Is Still Holding India Back
By Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
One of the most common debates I hear about India is whether British colonialism has been good or bad for the country’s economic prospects. Defenders of British rule often cite the construction of the railroads, or the spread of the English language, but as time passes the evidence mounts that India would have been much better off on its own.


HSBC Says Companies Already Re-Routing Business Due to Brexit
by Stephen Morris – Bloomberg
Firms want foreign exchange, trading booked in Paris; U.K. firms holding more cash, commercial chief Noel Quinn says
HSBC Holdings Plc said some of its largest clients have already asked for their business to be routed through the bank’s offices in mainland Europe and aren’t waiting to see what Brexit deal the U.K. hammers out with the continent’s trading bloc.

The power brokers behind Brexit: Nick Timothy and Martin Selmayr; These ferocious political operators will shape negotiations from behind the scenes
by: George Parker and Alex Barker
Martin Selmayr is notorious and he loves it. While his influence is currently most keenly felt within the Brussels Beltway, the German lawyer, 46, sitting in an office festooned with euro memorabilia, jelly sweets and bumper crisp packets, is about to play a pivotal role in Brexit. Viewed by some in London as a dark force and in Brussels as possessing almost mystical powers, few doubt his crucial role in the talks that will reset Britain’s future.


The Fast and the Furious and the Data
The Fast & Furious blockbuster franchise unfolds over nearly 14 hours so far—and that’s before an eighth movie in the $4 billion series, The Fate of the Furious, arrives in theaters on Friday. The newest film will speak in a lucrative language that audiences have learned to crave: gear shifts, engine revs, car chases, angry banter about cars, and sips of Corona. Exactly how fast and how furious is the Fast & Furious cinematic universe? The family at Bloomberg decided to meticulously analyze all seven movies to track their evolution. We counted just about everything that could be turned into a meaningful metric, even screen time for men’s biceps.

Swiss chocolate sees its magic melt; Healthier eating habits and weaker markets have forced Lindt and Nestlé to adapt
by: Ralph Atkins – FT
The run-up to Easter is a busy time at the Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate factory just outside Zurich, the sort of blend of modernity and tradition to which Swiss industry aspires. As robots pack pralines into boxes — Lindt’s global output also includes 140m gold-foil wrapped chocolate rabbits a year — the mechanical workers enjoy sweeping views across a dreamy Lake Zurich, the air sweet with the smell of cocoa.

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