Hong Kong Exchanges names Romnesh Lamba and Martin Abbott to be co-heads of global markets. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision backpedals on capital cushion levels after a couple of years of bank opposition to the new rules. Thailand’s stock exchange continues to work to gain support for a network of exchanges connected in the ASEAN region.
Time to Restore
By Jim Kharouf
We are now well past a year since MF Global’s collapse seriously damaged the futures industry and now trekking toward six months since the Peregrine Financial Group went down in flames, taking more customer money with it.
Since November, after spending four months putting together solutions to those problems with our Restoring Customer Confidence video series, there’s been a small amount of industry action on what is arguably among the biggest threats to the futures industry’s growth – the lack of customer faith in the marketplace.
It’s been the era of the four “L’s” – low volume, low volatility, low interest rates and lots of regulation. That combination has been hit by the other L – lack of customer faith in these markets. What is sad and frustrating about the issue is that so little of it is talked about. Just one panel at the FIA Expo was devoted to it – “Moving Toward a New Customer Protection Regime.” And just days before the conference, NFA and AlphaMetrix announced a deal that will allow AlphaMetrix to provide the electronic confirmation system for the CME and NFA. A good start but since then, not much to discuss.
There’s been very little mentioned about other solutions such as bankruptcy reform (too difficult) or a futures insurance system (too expensive) or more transparency (too cumbersome). And still no one has been brought to justice for the MF Global debacle. I guess the magic words “I never intended” to steal customer funds is a real and effective defense. Russ Wasendorf Sr. is getting what is deserved.
All in all, its too bad.
For an industry that has watched volumes plummet in recent years, there has been a serious lack of a coordinated effort by the industry to get this fixed and bring customers back. CME created a customer fund for farmers and ranchers but brokers often scoff at the idea as way too little and way too late.
Where that leaves the industry a year later is really right where it was as it lamented what to do about MF Global at the end of 2011. Now heading into 2013 and the story hasn’t changed. And that is the shame of the industry’s right now. Without some kind of coordinated effort, there is no way to restore customer confidence except with catch-phrases such as “We’ve been around for a long time, that won’t happen here” or “we would never dip into customer funds.” Those are pretty empty promises these days and a pathetic rebuilding plan.
It is easy to sit back to crow about what’s wrong with any industry. But the conversation needs to take place more publicly. Solutions need to be hashed out in a coordinated way.
So where do we begin, again?
My three-point plan is simple.
1) Push the trade confirmation system forward – loud and clearly with the NFA and CME. Invite independent research and auditing to prove it is what it says it is. Such a move will go a long way toward proving that there is a third-party watching, and confirming customer segregated accounts.
2) Unite the brokerage, prop/CTA/hedge fund and institutional businesses along with the CME and the newer bigger ICE to promote the virtues of futures. Like many financial instruments out there, it lacks traditional understanding both in the US and outside the US.
3) Finally, bring together the industry to create and promote a sustainable education platform that will serve the industry for the next 100 years. If you look at the options space, every US options exchange pitches in for the Options Industry Council’s education efforts. That block-by-block educational effort celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and is a key part of why options have grown into a mainstream instrument for retail and institutions. An international futures industry council could go a long way to making sure that regulators, retail and institutional players understand how these tools can be used.
Right now, the futures industry ecosystem is broken. Many of the little fish (retail) are no longer in the pond for the bigger fish (professional) and biggest fish (institutional). Without all the players in the pond, this ecosystem will not flourish and will not regrow.
The question now is who will lead this effort. Who will bring those players together to address this problem before even more damage is done. Futures still has an important and valuable story to tell. It’s history is ready to be reshaped and improved. Our Restoring Customer Confidence series is designed to keep this conversation going and generate real solutions. The question STILL facing this industry is: Who will step forward and lead this industry in 2013 and beyond?
DealBook: After Madoff, Financial Fraud Defies Policing
New York Times
For more than two years, Philip Horn, a financial adviser at Wells Fargo, systematically executed and canceled trades in clients’ portfolios, pocketing the profits, according to court documents.
**JK – More is (fill in the blank) is needed.
Intercontinental Exchange Picked as Top Stock at Sandler O’Neill
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE), which last month agreed to buy NYSE Euronext, is the top stock pick this year as earnings should grow 25 percent in 2014, according to Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP analyst Richard Repetto.
**JK – A rare but relevant mention of Project Trinity here – the DTCC, LCH and NYPC partnership.
Views from the top: the dangers facing the industry
As financial markets enter their sixth year of uncertainty since the start of the credit crunch, Financial News canvassed the views of top executives late last month, and asked: Q1) What is the biggest danger facing the financial industry in 2013? Q2) What single change would most transform the European financial markets for the better?
How Bad Language Can Catch Financial Rogues
Phrases such as “nobody will find out”, “cover up” and “off the books” are among those most likely to litter the in-boxes of corporate rogues according to fraud investigators deploying increasingly popular linguistic software.
**JK – What rogue trader, worth of the title “rogue” would ever use such phrases?
The art of email when big brother is watching
Lisa Pollack | FT Alphaville
One of the things the Libor scandal has taught us is that there actually is a big contingent of people working in banks who don’t understand that emails, like puppies for Christmas, are forever. Strange, isn’t it?
Mercury rising (and falling)
William Hutchings – Financial News
Arriving out of breath, in a sweat and almost an hour late, Andreas Utermann assumed he had blown his job interview at Mercury Asset Management in 1989 before it had started. Fortunately for him the firm was cast from a different mould from almost every other company in the City of London. He was offered a job.
AP News: Starbucks enters entrenched Vietnam coffee market
MIKE IVES – AP
Nghiem Ngoc Thuy has been slinging coffees to thirsty Vietnamese for 20 years in her colonial-style vi
lla with peeling shutters, and she and her customers aren’t too worried that the imminent arrival of U.S. giant Starbucks will alter their time-tested coffee traditions.
**JK – How do you say “large latte with vanilla and whipped cream” in Vietnamese?”
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HKEx Names New Heads of Global Markets After LME Takeover Closes
Natasha Khan – Bloomberg
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd., the world’s biggest bourse operator by market value, named Romnesh Lamba and Martin Abbott co-heads of global markets as it completes its takeover of the London Metal Exchange.
Regulators Give Ground to Banks
DAVID ENRICH, GEOFFREY T. SMITH and ANDREW MORSE – WSJ.com
Global banking regulators watered down a key element of their plan for creating a safer financial system, giving ground to banks that argued the rules were unworkable and financially risky.
Bourses on road to pan-Asean exchange
Jeremy Grant in Singapore – FT.com
When executives from the Stock Exchange of Thailand gather in Bangkok next weekend with dozens of ordinary Thai investors, they will be taking a small but important step towards a new era for Asian capital markets. The meeting will be the first in a series of “roadshows” in coming months designed to sell the merits of a concept long in the making but whose promise has often seemed doubtful: a regional stock market linking the main exchanges of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Don’t mix up computer chips and HFT
David Kelland. – FT.com
Sir, Larry Harris’s article “Stop the high-frequency trader arms race” (December 27), supporting speed limits on high-frequency trading, has attracted criticism that has conflated those limits with Luddism. That criticism (Letters, January 2) is based upon spurious analogies.
Fed’s Yellen doubts one-size-fits-all bank rules
WASHINGTON – New academic research is raising questions about the government’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to regulation, said Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen on Friday.
Almost All of Wall Street Got 2012 Market Calls Wrong
Michael Patterson & Lu Wang – Bloomberg
From John Paulson’s call for a collapse in Europe to Morgan Stanley (MS)’s warning that U.S. stocks would decline, Wall Street got little right in its prognosis for the year just ended.
Yellen Says Communications Now Playing ‘Big Role’ in Fed Policy
Aki Ito – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said Fed communication of its policy aims plays a “big role” in supporting the economy now that the central bank’s benchmark interest rate is close to zero.
Major Companies Push the Limits of a Tax Break
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI – NYTimes.com
It began more than 90 years ago as a small tax break intended to help family farmers who wanted to swap horses and land. Farmers who sold property, livestock or equipment were allowed to avoid paying capital gains taxes, as long as they used the proceeds to replace or upgrade their assets.
U.S. Department of Justice pledges to respect Swiss law in tax probe – paper
Reuters via Yahoo! Finance
Swiss chief finance diplomat Michael Ambuehl was given a verbal pledge from the U.S. Department of Justice to respect Swiss law when asking for bank client data of potential tax dodgers, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Tarullo Sees Big Banks With Fed Rule Protecting Taxpayer
Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo is pushing an agenda to regulate banks beyond the restraints in the Dodd-Frank Act, including making them fund more of their assets using long-term borrowing.
Regulatory sabre-rattling prompts rethink
Michelle Price – Financial News
How to make sense of the regulatory maelstrom battering the financial industry? Larry Thompson, general counsel of international post-trade services group The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, likens it to fencing – a sport in which adversaries have to be highly aggressive to have a chance of victory. “International financial services regulators are playing the same game,” said Thompson.
Thomson Reuters Launches FATCA Compliance Solution
Thomson Reuters ONE via Yahoo! Finance
Thomson Reuters, the world`s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today announced the launch of a solution to help institutions fulfil and comply with their obligations under the forthcoming US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
New rule could turn U.S. hedge funds into informers on fraud
U.S. financial regulators are pushing to turn hedge funds into informers on the white collar crime beat. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is working on a rule that would require U.S. hedge funds to file formal reports notifying U.S. authorities of any suspicious trading by employees or outside parties, the regulatory agency said.
Futurisation of swaps drives new technology investment
Dan Barnes – FOW
The cost of trading over-the-counter swaps will soar under the Dodd-Frank and European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Emir), but new swap-based futures contracts will offer easier and more cost effective access to similar exposures.
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet L. Yellen At The American Economic Association/American Finance Association Joint Luncheon, San Diego, California, January 4, 2013 – Interconnectedness And Systemic Risk: Lessons From The Financial Crisis And Policy Implications
Group Of Governors And Heads Of Supervision Endorses Revised Liquidity Standard For Banks
New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority”Low Ball” Offers – Guidance For Investors
Exchanges & Trading Facilities
BATS GLOBAL MARKETS SETS FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE RECORDS IN ALL BUSINESS SEGMENTS
BATS Global Markets (BATS), a leading operator of securities markets in the U.S. and Europe, reported its best annual market share performance across all of its markets in 2012, including 11.9% U.S. equities
Vienna Stock Exchange Monthly Statistics – December 2012
[TSE] Trading Overview and Preliminary Figures for 2012
Tokyo Grain Exchange Monthly Trading Report December 2012
ASX Group Monthly Activity Report – December 2012
ASX Compliance Monthly Activity Report – December 2012
SGX Derivatives And Commodities Volumes Reach New Highs In 2012
NZX Monthly Metrics – December 2012
BOX Options Exchange January 2013 InBOX
BM&FBOVESPA announces the third preview of the Ibovespa and other indices, valid for January-April 2013
[CBOE] Trader E-News
Login People lists on NYSE Alternext
International Securities Exchange Weekly Listings January 4, 2013
TMX Group: Top 20 Largest Consolidated Short Position Report – December 31, 2012
TMX Group Consolidated Trading Statistics – December 2012 – Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TMX Select, Alpha, Montreal Exchange, NGX
Program Trading Averaged 28.0 Percent Of NYSE Volume During Dec. 24-28
NASDAQ OMX Commodities No 79/12 Monthly Market Report Available
TOM MTF Statistics Week 1, 2013
Direct Edge Trading Notice #13-01: Limit Up-Limit Down Implementation FAQs
Hedge Funds & Managed Futures
Hedge fund chief Einhorn disappoints, Loeb has big 2012
Reuters via Yahoo! News
BOSTON/NEW YORK – Widely followed hedge fund managers Daniel Loeb and David Einhorn ended the year on divergent notes with Loeb’s firm handily beating the broader stock market and Einhorn’s firm posting a modest single-digit annual gain after performing poorly in December.
Pension fund returns hit 8% in 2012
Sophie Baker – Financial News
Defined benefit pension schemes performed strongly last year despite a mixed year for the markets, according to preliminary figures from State Street. Pension fund returns hit 8% in 2012 Headline industry average returns for pension funds are expected to be about 8%, according to initial estimates from State Street’s performance measurement arm The WM Company.
Cohen’s SAC Tops Most Profitable List Amid Insider Probes
Kelly Bit – Bloomberg
While Steve Cohen has been in the news lately because of former and current employees’ alleged involvement in insider trading, the hedge-fund manager has continued to do what he does best: make money.
Bond trading tests the latest dealflows
Tim Cave and Farah Khalique – Financial News
Revenues from fixed income, currency and commodities units rose at most banks last year but that did not stop many of them from reducing or exiting the debt business altogether.
Fed Bond Buying Will Run for a ‘Long Time’: Goldman’s Hatzius
Although minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting showed growing concern among members about the central bank’s bond-buying program, Goldman Sachs economist Jan Hatzius told CNBC he expects quantitative easing to continue well into 2014.
Roll up, roll up, for a cheap illiquid thrill
Mark Cobley and Sarah Krouse – Financial News
Big buyside institutions – insurance companies and pension funds – are getting to grips with what could be a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity. The trouble is, regulators are still dithering and if investors wait, they could miss out. The opportunity window could be as tight as the next 12 months and prices are already beginning to rise.
Bundesbank’s Weidmann pushes back against ECB
David Marsh, MarketWatch
A Bundesbank president is not in business to cheer people up, but to complain about things going wrong. In this vein, Jens Weidmann, the Bundesbank president, has started off the year in curmudgeonly mode, with a classic burst of fire about how the European debt crisis is far from over and the European Central Bank’s vaunted plan for bond purchases is unnecessary and counter-productive.
It will be a big year for: Asset Management
Financial News looks at the names from the investment management industry who are set for a big year in 2013.
What Looks Like a Hedge Fund but Isn’t?
SHEFALI ANAND – WSJ.com
Hedge funds have been a disappointment, says Ohio financial adviser Dan Gaugler, so he has been shifting clients to mutual funds that use hedge-fund-like strategies.
CFTC Commitments Of Traders Reports Update
Banks & Brokers
Tale Of Two Swiss Banks: Why Wegelin Failed And UBS Survived Tax Evasion Charges
Banks accused of similar bad behavior and on a greater scale have been able to avoid the same fate as Wegelin. What gives?
Agency Seeks JP Morgan Chase Documents Related to Madoff
Jessica Holzer – Dow Jones
WASHINGTON–A government watchdog said it might sanction J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) if it doesn’t quickly turn over documents relating to convicted fraudster Bernard L. Madoff that are being sought by the bank’s chief regulator.
What was SG Warburg’s secret sauce?
Ben Wright – Financial News
Ten years on from its name being consigned to the history books, the storied City firm still has plenty to teach modern bankers. What made it great and why was that ultimately not enough?
German bank regulator to probe pay awards at German banks: paper
Reuters via Yahoo! News
FRANKFURT – German regulator BaFin will scrutinise pay policies at two dozen top banks because of doubts over whether lenders are correctly implementing stricter bonus rules, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said.
Deutsche Bank To Cut Investment Banker Bonuses by Average 15%-20% – Report
Deutsche Bank AG, which asked an external independent panel to review its pay practices, is planning substantial cuts to the variable portion of its staff’s pay, weekly magazine Der Spiegel reports Sunday.
The pros and cons of dark pools of liquidity
Rhodri Preece – FT.com
The number of equity-market transactions taking place away from public exchanges continues to attract the attention of policy makers and investors. Rhodri Preece discusses this growing trend.
Bank investors embrace fear and loathing
Richard Partington and Harriet Agnew – Financial News
Investing in European banks in recent years has not been for the faint-hearted. Macroeconomic news and regulatory concerns have often emasculated traditional valuation metrics. Cashflows were effectively accruing to regulators and litigants, and not shareholders.
All hail the instividual, rescuer of bank profits
Mike Foster and Sophie Baker – Financial News
Wealth management is the fastest-growing segment of the financial services industry, poised to be a welcome source of profits for banks this year. UBS, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley see wealth as core to their future. Barclays, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo have invested heavily in the sector, which has low capital requirements.
JC Flowers Wants Morgan to Run RBS Branches
JC Flowers, part of a private equity consortium bidding for 316 Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC branches, has lined up David Morgan to run the banking business should its bid succeed, according to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
Ex-JP Morgan traders join Nomura
Matthew Attwood – Financial News
Nomura has made three hires to its structured credit trading team, part of the fixed-income division that has largely been shielded from a $1bn cost-cutting effort after a year of strong performance.
Citigroup to seek permission to buy back shares: WSJ
Reuters via Yahoo! News
NEW YORK – Citigroup Inc is planning to ask regulators for permission to buy back a “minimal” number of shares, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The bank is not planning to ask to increase its quarterly dividend, which is currently a penny a share, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.
Goldman on China Stocks: Why We’ll Be Right This Time
Goldman Sachs’ call for a bumper rally in Chinese equities in 2012 was off the mark, but this year, the U.S. investment bank is confident that its upbeat outlook for the market will materialize.
Goldman Sachs Tells Clients to Bet on Citigroup Before Earnings
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. told clients to bet on shares in Citigroup Inc. before fourth-quarter earnings later this month as new Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat cuts costs and withdraws from some markets.
Morgan Stanley Gives Taubman $1.7 Million Retirement Deal
Morgan Stanley , the sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets, said Paul J. Taubman will receive 2012 deferred compensation that will vest upon his departure in May and will get a retirement package worth $1.7 million.
Clearing & Settlement
BNY Mellon establishes Central Securities Depository
BNY Mellon, the global leader in investment management and investment services, has received regulatory approval to launch a new Issuer Central Securities Depository (CSD) entity that will offer market participants enhanced interoperability and efficiency in the global post-trade arena.
CLEARING: CME, DTCC Swap Charges on Swaps Record-Keeping
You may have thought that setting up electronic venues for the trading of standardized forms of credit-default and interest-rate swaps was going to be tough. Or that setting up clearing services, to remove counterparty risk, was going to be difficult. But what about simply storing the data on those transactions as they come to pass? That could be the most difficult issue.
CME Clearing – Performance Bonds / Margins
Performance Bond Requirements: CME Equity Index Outright Margin Change- Effective Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Indexes & Products
Ideas in Mutual Funds: Hot and Not Hot
ANNA PRIOR – WSJ.com
Fashions come and go, and the fund industry is no exception. In the years since the financial meltdown, the industry has rushed out new kinds of mutual and exchange-traded funds that aim to help reduce investors’ sense of powerlessness in the face of increased market volatility. Innovations include funds with more diversification, less risk and access to strategies once out of bounds for typical investors.
Last Week, We Witnessed A Historic Collapse In The VIX
The CBOE has a nice piece out noting this week’s VIX collapse of 39.1 percent was the largest weekly percent down move since the index was launched in January 1990. The week also saw record volume days for the VIX futures.
Year End Commodities Commentary: Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Ends 2012 Down – Losses In Coffee, Natural Gas And Orange Juice
Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Indices 2012 Year End Performance Report
HKEx To Introduce Options On Two A-share ETFs On 21 January
Judge Sends Back $20 Million Settlement to Bank of America Suit
New York Times
A settlement in a shareholder lawsuit was sent back by a federal judge, in part because it could be mostly consumed by lawyers’ fees.
Elliott’s Unit Probed by French Regulator Over APRR Trade
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Elliott Management Corp., the $21.5 billion hedge fund run by Paul Singer, said a French regulator is investigating possible insider trading by its U.K. unit in Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhone SA in 2010.
U.S. Fines Mizuho for Shortfall in Customer Funds
JAMILA TRINDLE – WSJ
U.S. regulators fined a unit of Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group Inc. for failing to keep sufficient funds in the accounts of customers who were trading on foreign exchanges.
UK’s Financial Services Authority Fines The Co-operative Bank Plc For Failing To Handle PPI Complaints Fairly
Environmental & Energy
Pulling Carbon Dioxide Out of Thin Air
The New York Times
WHETHER streaming from the tailpipes of cars or the smokestacks of so many power plants and factories, carbon dioxide emissions keep growing around the globe.
**RKB — Featured here is a Canadian company that has developed a cleansing technology that may one day capture and remove heat-trapping gas directly from the sky, then sell it for industrial use.
Why businesses shouldn’t let carbon fraud halt U.S. cap and trade
At first glance, all the news about fraud and fraud investigations in the EU carbon market might seem to give companies a good reason to oppose carbon trading. Last month’s Deutsche Bank raids and arrests — part of European carbon-trading-fraud investigations — came after six men already had been convicted of carbon-trading tax evasion through Deutsche Bank in 2011. In June, three others were jailed for carbon fraud in the United Kingdom. This recent spate caps a flurry of anti-carbon-fraud activity in 2009 and 2010, when European law enforcement raided hundreds of offices and arrested more than 100 suspected fraudsters. And the accusations and investigations continue.
**RKB – Blog contributor is Lawerence Goldenhersh, president and CEO of Enviance, a a global provider of environmental enterprise resource planning (EERP) solutions that measure, manage, report and reduce environmental and regulatory risks.
Scientists urge immediate climate action to limit costs
Waiting to tackle emissions until 2020 when a global agreement is due to be in place will be far more costly than taking action today, according to new research published this week.
Tokyo Commodity Exchange: Message From The President & CEO
Let me begin by wishing you all happiness and prosperity in the New Year!
TSX Block List Leaders For December 2012
FTSE China A50 Index-linked ETFs Hit US$10 Billion AUM
Tokyo Commodity Exchange Final Settlement Price Of Crude Oil For December 2012 Contract
Osaka Securities Exchange: Temporary Discount On Give-Up Fee For Nikkei 225 Mini
Dubai makes bid to be City of Gold
KAMRAN JEBREILI – AP
Dubai is sometimes called the “City of Gold” because of its stunning growth from a sleepy Gulf port to a world-famous business crossroads in the space of a single generation. Its nickname has a literal meaning for traders in the precious metal.
Zambian Commodities Exchange Delayed by Legal Holdup
The Zambian Agricultural Commodities Exchange, which halted trading in July 2011, postponed restarting operations after the government delayed a law needed for the bourse to start up.
Palestine Exchange Monthly Newsletter
Dubai Financial Market Invites Experts To Counsel On Its
Egyptian Exchange Announces Changes In Its Executive Management
Cost of College: For Newly Minted M.B.A.s, a Smaller Paycheck Awaits
RUTH SIMON – WSJ.com
Like many students, Steve Vonderweidt hoped that a master’s degree in business administration would open doors to a new job with a higher paycheck. But now, about eight months after receiving his M.B.A. from the University of Louisville, Mr. Vonderweidt, 36 years old, hasn’t been able to find a job in the private sector, and continues to work as an administrator at a social-service agency that helps Louisville residents obtain food stamps, health care and other assistance.