First Impressions

Making It Attainable: RCM Buys Attain To Broaden Managed Futures Reach
Jim Kharouf – JLN

RCM Asset Management pushed further into the managed futures space today with the announcement it has acquired Attain Capital Management.

With the move, RCM aims to strengthen its education offerings and broaden its customer base.

“Things that they do very well, RCM does not do well or at all. So the combination of the two firms will really enable us to further our reach in the space,” said Bobby Schwartz, CEO and managing director at RCM.

Attain, which started in 2002 offering trading systems to high net worth individuals, has grown over the past 13 years into a higher profile firm in the managed futures space. That crop of high net worth investors also led Attain into the registered investment advisor (RIA) space, an area that RCM has targeted heavily recently with a series of 26 events around the country. RCM, which launched in 2010, has been focused heavily on the RIA space and creating the tools and products that make it easy for those advisors to offer managed futures.

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Quote of the Day

Federal Reserve officials have stressed the importance of the Fed’s independence. But, such independence does not mean that it is immune from congressional oversight.

Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, in a hearing Tuesday, as quoted in the Bloomberg story “Shelby Says Fed Should Be Held Accountable for Its Actions”

Lead Stories

Ukraine Central Bank Raises Key Rate to 30%
The central bank pushed lending rates even higher Tuesday in an attempt to stabilize Ukraine’s beleaguered currency and hold its financial system together until promised international loans arrive later this month. The move comes as the government hurried to complete painful overhauls—including raising energy prices and cutting pensions—to meet the terms of a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The 15 Most Miserable Economies in the World; Consumers in Venezuela are expected to suffer the most in 2015
by Michelle Jamrisko, A Catarina Saraiva, and Andre Fonseca Tartar, Bloomberg
Inflation is a disease that can wreck a society, Milton Friedman, the late Nobel laureate economist, once said. Add rising unemployment to the diagnosis, and his profession ascribes a rather non-technical term to the debilitating effect on people: misery.

Corporate-Bond Market Poses Systemic Risk, SEC’s Gallagher Says
by Dave Michaels, Bloomberg
A lack of liquidity in corporate-bond markets could pose a “systemic risk” to the economy when interest rates rise, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission member Daniel Gallagher said.

Don’t weaken leverage ratio, U.S. bank regulator tells peers
by Douwe Miedema, Reuters
Regulators shouldn’t weaken a rule that limits banks’ borrowing, a senior U.S. bank supervisor said on Monday, indicating a possible split with the derivatives watchdog over the issue.

Investors want the world’s largest banks to be sliced up
By Kevin Dugan, NY Post
Investors are trying to do what Janet Yellen can’t. They are circling around some of the world’s largest banks, pushing for a breakup into as many as four different companies, as expensive regulations from Yellen’s Federal Reserve make “too big to fail” a heavy burden for shareholders.

Greece vs Europe: who blinked first in the bail-out battle?
Has the defiant new government conceded more ground than its creditors? Or is Syriza just bluffing?

Mark Carney Says BOE’s Reputation Hurt by Foreign-Exchange Scandal
Real Time Economics – WSJ
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney admitted on Tuesday that the U.K. central bank has been hurt by getting ensnared last year in a global probe into foreign-exchange trading.

Central Banks

US Federal Reserve urged to clarify bank capital requirements
Ben McLannahan in New York, FT
The Federal Reserve must shed more light on how it plans to calculate extra capital requirements for the biggest US banks so it gains broader support for its proposals from a sceptical banking industry, according to Sheila Bair of the Systemic Risk Council.

Shelby Says Fed Should Be Held Accountable for Its Actions
Bloomberg Business
Richard Shelby, the Alabama Republican who heads the Senate Banking Committee, said lawmakers should consider ways to overhaul the Federal Reserve’s structure and tighten oversight by Congress.

A Complication for the Fed: Rate Cuts by Other Central Banks
ABC News
The world’s central banks are injecting a new complication into the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to raise interest rates from record lows: They’re cutting their own rates.

Federal Reserve has ‘golden’ chance to tighten: Druckenmiller
To avoid wreaking havoc on markets, the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates sooner rather than later, Stanley Druckenmiller said on Monday.

ECB meeting preview: What traders should expect from it
City A.M.
Despite a range of economic indicators suggesting that the Eurozone economy has finally begun to turn a corner, markets had an uncertain start to the week. Although the currency bloc’s unemployment rate slipped to 11.2 per cent in January and a flash estimate of inflation came in at a better-than-expected -0.3 per cent in February, France’s Cac 40 index closed down 0.69 per cent at 4,917.32 and Italy’s FTSE MIB fell by 0.18 per cent. While Germany’s Dax and Spain’s Ibex put in positive performances, reports from the Spanish economy minister that talks over a third Greek bailout were ongoing (hastily denied by European authorities) weighed on sentiment.

Danish Reserves Hit Record As Central Bank Fights For The Peg – MoneyBeat – WSJ
The Danish central bank, which stepped in to defend its currency from strength against the euro with alarming regularity this year, has revealed its foreign currency reserves swelled to a record high 737 billion krone as a result of intervening in the forex markets

Australia, Where One Central Bank Won’t Do
Bloomberg View
Does Australia need two central banks? The dilemma that faced Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens on Tuesday certainly begs the question: The argument for hiking rates was almost as compelling as the one for cutting them.


Yellen Turning from Friend to Foe for Dollar Bulls
by Lukanyo Mnyanda, Bloomberg
Janet Yellen is turning from currency traders’ best friend to their biggest foe.

Bill Gross Goes to the Dogs
By Paul Vigna, WSJ
Bill Gross is going to the dogs. Literally. The Janus Capital money manager, whose monthly investment letters are famous for their flights of fancy, begins this month’s offering with an extended musing on dogs, and ends with a stark warning about the dangers to investors of the currency war that none dare call a currency war.

Barclays Posts Loss as Foreign-Exchange Provisions Rise; Bank says effort to shrink and restructure starting to pay off
By Margot Patrick, WSJ
Barclays PLC on Tuesday raised its provision for potential foreign-exchange settlements to £1.25 billion ($1.92 billion), leading it to report a full-year net loss, but said an effort to shrink and restructure its business is starting to pay off.

38 Percent Chance Of Euro Breakup According To Investor Survey
Quite how much weight you want to put on this result will depend upon quite how much weight you put on the idea of the wisdom of the crowds. A survey of investors tells us that 38% of them believe that the euro is going to break up. This does not, of course, mean that there is a 38% chance, it tells us only what they believe. And yet if we take Hayek seriously, that knowledge is dispersed and local, then that might actually be the correct probability to ascribe to the possible event. On the other hand it might be that the important people here are the politicians and their beliefs: in which case a survey of investor beliefs doesn’t get us very far.

PBOC’s Yi Sees No Need to Widen Yuan Band Amid Currency Pressure
Bloomberg Business
There’s no “urgent need” to widen the yuan trading band, the deputy central bank governor in charge of foreign exchange reserves management said, even as China’s currency contends with depreciation pressure

Abe Adviser Warns BOJ Against Overheating Economy – Real Time Economics
Japan’s central bank should hold fire on extra measures for some time to ensure the economy doesn’t “overheat,” an economic adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. The inflation rate may be falling back toward zero on a drop in global oil prices, but it will “eventually start rising on its own” and likely reach around 2% by early 2016, said Etsuro Honda in an interview Monday with The Wall Street Journal.

BitBeat: New ECB Report Is Largely Dismissive of Bitcoin
Researchers at the European Central Bank, recognizing the explosion of “altcoins” since their last comprehensive study of digital currencies in 2012, have updated that report with a follow-up. Other than conveying a kind of legitimacy to bitcoin by the mere fact of conducting the study, the group didn’t exactly come up with a ringing endorsement.

Indexes & Index Products

DTCC Releases Scorecard Report Enhancement to Mutual Fund Profile Service
The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) announced the release of the Scorecard Report, an enhancement to DTCC’s Mutual Fund Profile Service that supports the exchange of reliable fund security issue data provided by fund companies for use in trade execution and regulatory compliance.

Bitcoin Investment Trust Receives FINRA Approval
Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) has received approval from FINRA to become the first publicly traded bitcoin fund.

Russell’s Bundy Talks Combination With FTSE
ETF Trends
Russell Indexes CEO Ron Bundy joined ETF Trends Publisher Tom Lydon at the Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Fla. to discuss Russell’s recent marriage with FTSE Group to create one of the largest provider of indexes in the world. Last year, London Stock Exchange acquired Russell Investments to bolster its indexing footprint with Russell Indexes. Combined, there are nearly $10 trillion in global assets benchmarked to Russell and FTSE indexes.

Russell Indexes Announces Schedule for 2015 Annual Reconstitution
Business Wire
Russell today announced the 2015 schedule for its annual reconstitution process, which is designed to capture and reflect global equity market shifts in the past year to ensure that investors continue to have the most accurate proxy for global markets.

S&P Dow Jones Indices introduces tax-aware index solutions in Australia
Professional Planner
S&P Dow Jones Indices (“S&P DJI”), one of the world’s leading providers of financial market indices, today announced the launch of a tax-aware benchmark series for the Australian market – the S&P/ASX Franking Credit Adjusted Indices, which allow investors to more precisely measure the performance of the Australian equity market by factoring in the impact of franking credits attached to dividends.

What would the Dow look like if it included Apple?
It may be by far the most valuable American company but Apple Inc still can’t get into at least one exclusive club – the 30-member Dow Jones Industrial Average. That may not be a problem for the company behind the iPhone and the iPad, after all Apple shares recently hit record highs. It is, though, hurting those who tie their investments to the performance of the venerable Dow, which was first calculated in 1896 and is still probably the best-known stock index in the world.


Barclays gives information to U.S. precious metals probe
By Jan Harvey, Reuters
Barclays has been providing information to an investigation into precious metals by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), the bank said in its 2014 annual report on Tuesday, a week after a similar statement by HSBC.

Is this a new barrier for gold demand?
New measures by the world’s top gold consumer to reduce imports could erode global bullion demand, experts say. Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the creation of sovereign gold bonds as an alternative to purchasing physical gold during the government’s annual budget presentation on Saturday. While concrete details have yet to be fleshed out, these bonds will have a fixed interest rate and will be redeemable for cash on the face value of gold.

Where Did The Gold In Fort Knox Come From? Part One
In contrast to what is widely assumed, the gold in Fort Knox has not mainly been supplied by gold coins in circulation in the United States before the Great Gold Confiscation by President Roosevelt in 1933.

Timid silver does not mean bad economic news
Gold’s relationship with silver and the stock market seems to have changed. The mint ratio is the gold price divided by the silver price. Assuming supply stays reasonably stable, the mint in recent times has tended to rise when equities fall.
When the S&P 500 hit its post-dotcom bubble low in 2003, the mint breached 80. Just before Wall Street’s credit crunch trough in early 2009, the mint brushed 90.

$4.8 Million In Gold Bars Stolen In Elaborate Armored Truck Heist
Huffington Post
Shortly after dusk along a lonely stretch of Interstate 95, armed robbers hijacked an armored truck, tied up the two guards and disappeared into the night with 275 pounds of gold bars.

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