First Read

What is Blockchain?
Jeff Bergstrom – JLN

What Blockchain Is and Is Not

One of the most frequent topics we are reading and hearing about these days is blockchain technology. The articles run the gamut on how it will affect the financial industry, but very few articles explore what it really is and is not, and how it works. To many, blockchain is a magic box where things are recorded or registered, and that is supposed to help…maybe…somehow, something in the transaction process.

The first step is distinguishing between Bitcoin and blockchain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that uses blockchain technology to work. It is not uncommon to conflate the two, but that would be a mistake. Bitcoin is often accused of being a means for drug dealers to do business. But, true or not, that does not make the blockchain technology it uses “bad.” That would be akin to saying cars are bad because moonshiners used them to smuggle alcohol during prohibition. So, while blockchain technology underlies cryptocurrencies, blockchain is not itself a cryptocurrency.

Read more HERE


FIA announces departure of COO Mary Ann Burns
FIA today announced that Mary Ann Burns, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will be leaving FIA at the beginning of July to head marketing and distribution for the craft brewery owned by her family. “It has been an amazing 23 years at FIA,” said Burns. “I’ve enjoyed working with many extraordinary members of FIA on a host of projects over the years, and I value the opportunity I’ve had to work with the FIA leadership and very talented staff. I’m excited to start something completely new and I leave knowing that FIA will be in very good hands going forward.”

***** Mary Ann Burns is taking her talents and gifts to a different way of building liquidity, one with a little more fizz to it. It is hard to overstate the contributions to the markets, industry and FIA that Mary Ann has made in the last 23 years. She bleeds futures and markets and helped it grow and prosper like few others. I can only offer a humble “Thank You” to her for her service to all of us, the markets and the greater world served by them.


Dave Setters Launches A New Effort on MND (aka ALS)
Dave Setters
A new London-based group is being set up to encourage financial market participants to raise funds for, and awareness of, the pernicious effects of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) also known as ALS in North America. The City against MND Network is being promoted by Contango Markets consultant and former FOW Managing Director, David Setters, who was diagnosed with a slowly progressive version of the disease in 2012. He is working with the MND Association and others working in and around the City of London.

***** Dave Setters bringing his talent and skills to the City, to battle MND, (or ALS).


Leg Up For Kids
Ray McKenzie
Chicago Rock Exchange featuring Steve Staszak and Jen Justice Jucovics from CME are playing a battle of the corporate bands as part of a class project from Tribeca Flashpoint. We are representing CME against bands from Exelon, Mesirow and Northern Trust.
The event takes place on April 27th at Buddy Guy’s, 700 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, from 5 to 8 PM. Tickets for the event are $100 with proceeds going to charities picked by the bands. We have picked A Leg to Stand On.
Bands are competing to raise money and also to win by being the best band on stage!
Here is a link to buy tickets: or to make a donation,
***** If you have not heard the angelic voice of Jen Justice Jucovics, you should.


Exchange and CCP Leaders to Assemble in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for WFE-IOMA Annual Clearing & Derivatives Conference Converging Global Capital Market Conversations
Exchange and clearinghouse leaders will assemble in Kuala Lumpur next week for the World Federation of Exchanges’ (WFE) 33rd annual Clearing and Derivatives Conference.

***** Doug, this is a coded message to you. Your coffee cup is not glued to your desk. Hope you are doing well in Asia.


The Siren Song of Factor Timing
Clifford S. Asness – AQR Capital Management, LLC
Everyone seems to want to time factors. Often the first question after an initial discussion of factors is “ok, what’s the current outlook?” And the common answer, “the same as usual,” is often unsatisfying. There is powerful incentive to oversell timing ability. Factor investing is often done at fees in between active management and cap-weighted indexing and these fees have been falling over time. Factor timing has the potential of reintroducing a type of skill-based “active management” (as timing is generally thought of this way) back into the equation. I think that siren song should be resisted, even if that verdict is disappointing to some. At least when using the simple “value” of the factors themselves, I find such timing strategies to be very weak historically, and some tests of their long-term power to be exaggerated and/or inapplicable.

****Can you time the markets? Cliff says no. Blair Hull says yes. See our interview with Blair from last year – Profiles: Blair Hull –


The Minecraft Generation; How a clunky Swedish computer game is teaching
millions of children to master the digital world.
By CLIVE THOMPSON – New York Times
Jordan wanted to build an unpredictable trap.
An 11-year-old in dark horn-­rimmed glasses, Jordan is a devotee of Minecraft, the computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, from dizzying towers to entire cities. He recently read “The Maze Runner,” a sci-fi thriller in which teenagers live inside a booby-­trapped labyrinth, and was inspired to concoct his own version — something he then would challenge his friends to navigate.

***** The first 11-year-old to combine Minecraft and Blockchain wins.


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday and the most read story so far this year is CME to close New York trading floor in computers’ victory. In second place is another good Chicago story in Chicago futures trading firms merge. The third spot goes to the Streetwise Professor in the story You Can’t Handle the Truth! Censoring Politically Inconvenient Research at the CFTC. That’s it for the week. Have a happy Tax Day!

MarketsWiki Spotlight
IOMA: WFE’s Clearing & Derivatives Conference, 17-19 April, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The World Federation of Exchanges represents 64 regulated exchanges across the world, and acts on behalf of a total of 99 organizations including affiliate members and clearinghouses.


The WFE’s IOMA conference brings together clearinghouses, exchanges, regulators and other stakeholders from around the world to discuss the key market structure and business issues of the day. The focus of the 2-day annual conference is post-trade and derivatives market issues. For more on the WFE, visit its page in MarketsWiki HERE

***Also see this month’s WFE e-zine, hot off the presses.
This month’s theme is post-trade, with some of our members sharing their views on the big post-trade themes as they see them. Comments include distributed ledger, the supplemental leverage ratio, further regulation and further clearing initiatives.

is brought to you by:


Lead Stories

Bats Global Markets raises $252.7 million in IPO
Exchange operator Bats Global Markets Inc raised $252.7 million in its initial public offering on Thursday, seeking to list its shares on its own Bats BZX Exchange as subsiding stock market volatility gradually opens the window for IPO hopefuls.

Tudor Investors Ask to Pull More Than $1 Billion From Firm
Simone Foxman – Bloomberg
Redemption requests follow exit of several money managers; Main BVI Global Fund dropped 2.8 percent in first quarter
Tudor Investment Corp. clients have asked to pull more than $1 billion from the hedge fund firm founded by billionaire Paul Tudor Jones after three years of lackluster returns.

Startup Mimics Crowdfunding to Disrupt Stock Exchange Model
John Detrixhe – Bloomberg
Marleen Evertsz used to be a manager at a high-speed trading firm. Now, she’s debuting a new kind of stock exchange that uses the tactics of crowdfunding startups, aiming to upend how corporations raise money by selling shares. Nxchange lets companies sell shares to the public and then allows investors to trade that stock, says Evertsz, who used to be a managing director at Dutch market maker Optiver. The idea is to eliminate fees charged by brokers and investment bankers. Nxchange’s model differs from crowdfunding in that it also allows investors to trade with each other.

Why capitalism, not stereotypical politicians, should decide whether the London Stock Exchange merger goes ahead
Tim Worstall – City AM
It’s always fun to see national stereotypes on display.
Bill Cash loudly insisting that the Germans are too unimaginative and inflexible to be allowed to run the London Stock Exchange.

Why Banks Should Take Living Wills Seriously
By Editorial Board
U.S. banks are safer today than they were in 2007, but not yet as safe as they should be. For the second time in two years, regulators have found that some of the country’s biggest banks can’t adequately explain how they could go under — should it come to that — in an orderly fashion, at no cost to taxpayers, and without destabilizing the wider financial system.

Vanguard Lures More Fund Deposits Than All U.S. Rivals Combined
Charles Stein – Bloomberg
Company led in March flows to both passive, active products; Pimco, Franklin saw outflows for month, Morningstar estimates
Vanguard Group keeps getting more dominant. The biggest U.S. mutual fund company attracted almost $29 billion to its long-term mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in March, more than all of its competitors combined, according to a report Thursday by Morningstar Inc. Vanguard, which built its reputation on low fees, was the leader in estimated flows to both actively managed funds as well as those that track indexes, also its specialty.

Fixed-Income Investors Have 99 Ways to Trade and One Big Problem
Alastair Marsh, John Detrixhe – Bloomberg
Number of electronic corporate bond trading platforms surges; Dwindling market liquidity may undermine their success
If investors are right that it’s getting harder to trade bonds, it’s not for lack of places for buyers and sellers to meet.

Nasdaq opposes proposed change to stock trading rules
By Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
A visitor walks through the lobby of the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York©Bloomberg
Nasdaq on Thursday formally opposed a proposed change to stock trading rules that could allow upstart trading venue IEX to become a fully fledged exchange.

Bank regulators probe alleged ‘living wills’ leak
Ben McLannahan in New York and Barney Jopson and Sam Fleming in Washington – FT
Bank regulators in the US are probing an alleged leak on the eve of the first-quarter earnings season, as they battle to preserve faith in the integrity of their supervisory processes.

A Tough Year for Banking Takes Shape
Bank of America said its earnings were dragged down by lower long-term interest rates and a slump in its sales and trading business. Credit Carlo Allegri/Reuters
If this week is any indication, 2016 is shaping up to be another tough year for the nation’s biggest banks.

BlackRock Profit Falls 20% as Market Volatility Curbs Fees
Sabrina Willmer – Bloomberg
Adjusted earnings per share missed Wall Street estimates; Earnings were dragged down by $76 million charge for job cuts
BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, said first-quarter profit fell 20 percent as a global stock-market slump early in the year crimped revenue and the firm cut jobs.

The Winds From Washington Chill Wall Street’s Deal Making
On Wall Street, the phones have been a little quieter. The workload has been a little lighter. The happy hours have been starting earlier.


Statement of Chairman Timothy Massad on the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Passage of Legislation to Reauthorize the CFTC
I would like to thank the Senate Agriculture Committee members and staff for their work on reauthorization. While I have concerns with parts of this legislation, I hope those can be addressed as the process moves forward.

City rainmakers unfazed by FCA capital markets report
Martin Arnold – FT
Bankers say if FCA frees up competition, winners would be smaller boutiques and specialist brokers
The UK financial watchdog’s proposal to block investment banks from contractually forcing their clients to award them more business has been met with a shrug by rainmakers in the City of London.

SIFMA AMG Submits Supplemental Comments To The SEC Regarding The SEC Proposed Liquidity Management Rules
SIFMA’s Asset Management Group (SIFMA AMG) today announced it has submitted a supplemental comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the SEC’s proposed liquidity management rules for open-end funds, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). SIFMA AMG’s initial letter was filed in January 2016.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

BATS Tries Again With I.P.O. on Its Own Exchange
BATS Global Markets, whose attempt at an initial public offering on its own exchange was botched four years ago, is trying again.

Bats Global Markets boosts proposed IPO size
Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
Bats Global Markets on Thursday boosted the size of its initial public offering and priced it at the high end of expectations in a sign of strong demand, giving it a market value of $1.8bn. But the real test for the exchanges operator’s listing will come in Friday’s trading debut.

Bats Global Markets, Inc. Announces Pricing of its Initial Public Offering
Bats Global Markets, Inc. (“Bats”), a leading global operator of exchanges and services for financial markets, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering at a price to the public of $19.00 per share. The size of the offering has been increased from the initially announced 11,200,000 shares of common stock to 13,300,000 shares of common stock.

INTERACTIVE DATA LAUNCHES LIQUIDITY INDICATORS SERVICE IN EUROPE; Tools help firms assess portfolios’ liquidity profiles under range of market conditions
Interactive Data, a leading provider of fixed-income evaluated pricing, and subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), announced today that its Liquidity Indicators Service is now available for European and Asia-Pacific corporate and sovereign securities. This represents an expansion of its North American services, and leverages the same fixed-income evaluated pricing and reference data content that supports pricing and trading functions at the world’s leading financial institutions and asset managers.

ICE-owned data shop to launch EU bond liquidity tracker
By Tim Cave – Financial News
Interactive Data, an analytics firm recently acquired by futures giant Intercontinental Exchange, has launched a service that enables investors to measure the liquidity of individual European corporate bonds – an issue that has become the subject of intense focus.

Borsa Istanbul’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Audit Executive, Chief Legal Counsel Have Resigned
Press Release
Borsa Istanbul Chief Human Resources Officer Hüseyin Zafer, Chief Information Officer Adnan Metin, Chief Audit Executive Ali Sir Yardim, and Chief Legal Counsel Iltem Dokurlar have resigned. We wish them success in the forthcoming period.

Millennium Exchange Release 9.1 Oslo Børs – New Release In Q4 2016
Oslo Børs is pleased to announce that we will launch both new functionality and the first necessary technical adaptions to MiFID II in Q4 2016.

London Stock Exchange Group
Cyber-security firm raises £8.8m on AIM; Reinforces London’s status as leading venue for technology company fundraising; Osirium joins more than 300 technology companies quoted on London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange today welcomes Osirium Technologies plc, a UK-based cyber-security software provider, to AIM. The company successfully raised £8.8m at admission at a market capitalisation of £16.2m. To celebrate the occasion, David Guyatt, CEO, Osirium Technologies plc, opened trading on London Stock Exchange this morning.

Euronext welcomes Swiss biotechnology pioneer GeNeuro to Paris market
Raises EUR33 million, market capitalisation totals EUR190 million
Euronext today celebrated the listing of GeNeuro, a biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, in Compartment B of its regulated market in Paris.

ASX welcomes PRO IT as the newest Managed Service Provider to join the rich and diverse financial markets community in the Australian Liquidity Centre
ASX welcomes the addition of PRO IT, further enriching the thriving ALC community; PRO IT is an Australian IT services provider with a unique focus on financial markets; PRO IT will offer expert support and bespoke IT services to existing and new customers within the ALC
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and PRO IT, a provider of data centre infrastructure support services, today announced that PRO IT will be co-locating in the Australian Liquidity Centre (ALC), ASX’s state-of-the-art data centre.


Seabury FXone Selects Beeks Financial Cloud for Optimized Connec
Press release
Beeks Financial Cloud, a global leader in financial cloud infrastructure, announced today that it has formed a partnership with Seabury FXone, a provider of FX liquidity management solutions and a subsidiary of Seabury Group, that establishes a one-stop solution for low latency connectivity to Equinix’s New York (NY4) and Tokyo (TY3) data centers.

ICAP acquires ENSO Financial Analytics
ICAP plc (IAP.L), a leading markets operator and provider of post trade risk mitigation and information services, announces today that it has acquired ENSO Financial Analytics (ENSO), a leading provider of a data analytics platform for hedge funds and prime brokers.

Blockchain on the Brink: Report from the DTCC Blockchain Conference
Chuck Mackie – Maven Wave Partners
If 2015 was all about start-up ‘unicorns’ and general enthusiasm for fintech, then 2016 is shaping up to be The Year of Blockchain. While the DTCC recently gathered many of the biggest names on the corporate side of current blockchain efforts to discuss the technology – and it’s clear that there are already many, many blockchain experiments and proofs of concept that are in flight – we should expect that new and novel uses of blockchain will arise quickly as entrepreneurs get their hands on the technology and use it in ways that have yet to be conceived.

Banks begin blockchain payment integration
By: Kimberley – Euromoney
Banks are taking tentative steps to integrating blockchain technology, but so far they have focused on following established payment processes.

Microsoft Sues Justice Department Over Secret Customer Data Searches
Jay Greene and Devlin Barrett – WSJ
Microsoft Corp. on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, challenging as unconstitutional the government’s authority to bar tech companies from telling customers when their data has been examined by federal agents.


‘President Trump’ Unpopular With Deal-Makers
Deal makers don’t like the sound of “President Trump.”
Donald Trump winning the White House would have the most negative effect on M&A of all the presidential candidates, according to a survey of 1,500 M&A professionals by Intralinks. Sixty-two percent of respondents said Mr. Trump would have a harmful effect on M&A as president, while Hillary Clinton was viewed as the candidate most likely to have a positive effect on M&A, the survey finds.

Wall Street puts big money behind candidates
The question of Wall Street’s influence on political candidates has been front and center in the 2016 race. MSNBC’s Olivia Sterns joins Kate Snow to discuss.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Steve Cohen Has a New Firm That’s Allowed to Take Outside Money
Miles Weiss – Bloomberg
Stamford Harbor to share executives with family office Point72; Billionaire will own the firm but have no management role
Billionaire Steven Cohen has a way to raise money from outside investors prior to 2018, the year he can resume running hedge funds under a January settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Stock-market investors may be too worried about the Fed
By WILLIAM WATTS – MarketWatch
Could it be that investors are worrying too much about both the Federal Reserve and the outlook for corporate profits?

Steven Cohen lays groundwork for new fund
Mary Childs in New York – FT
Steven Cohen, banned from managing clients’ money after his SAC Capital was the target of a regulatory investigation, is laying the groundwork to get back in the hedge fund business.

Computer trading gains help Man Group weather market storm; Q1 assets dip $100 mln after tough quarter; GLG hardest hit, strong AHL sales please analysts; Shares in Man up 5.3 pct, leading FTSE mid-cap gainers (Adds stock price update, CTA performance)
By Simon Jessop and Maiya Keidan – Reuters
Man Group, the world’s biggest listed hedge fund, said on Friday it had retained most of the assets it invests during a challenging first quarter for fund managers, lifting its shares.

Outflows and negative performance drive down Man GLG’s FUM in Q1; Wider Man Group remains in the black
Jayna Rana and Anna Fedorova – InvestmentWeek
Man GLG has suffered outflows in the first three months of the year as some of its strategies underperformed, with funds under management dropping 8.5% over the period, but the wider Man Group remained resilient.

Man Group weathers Q1 market storm with slight dip in assets; GLG hardest hit, strong AHL sales please analysts; Numeric, FRM performance broadly flat
By Simon Jessop and Maiya Keidan – Reuters
British hedge fund manager Man Group on Friday posted a slight drop in assets under management in the three months to the end of March, hit by the performance of GLG, its actively managed equity business.

No Time for Credibility
Paul Krugman – NY Times
So, here we are with near-zero real interest rates on long-term government bonds; with a desperate need for infrastructure investment; with strong reason to believe that deficit spending in the current environment would actually improve the long-run fiscal picture, because the interest burden would be so low and higher growth would raise future revenues.

Banks & Brokers

Wells Fargo lifts reserves for energy loan losses
Ben McLannahan in New York – FT
Wells Fargo shed more light on trouble in America’s oil patch on Wednesday, adding $200m to its reserves against losses while warning of “significant stress” in its $42bn energy portfolio.

Putin Sees U.S., Goldman Sachs Behind Leak of Panama Papers
Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov – Bloomberg
Putin says information leaked in Panama papers “isn’t false”; German newspaper denies Putin’s claim it’s owned by U.S. bank
President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that information in the Panama Papers implicating people in his inner circle to offshore transactions was accurate, but dismissed the leak — which he tied to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — as part of U.S. efforts to influence Russia’s upcoming elections.

Morgan Stanley creating team to educate brokers on U.S. retirement advice rule
Morgan Stanley (MS.N) is creating a team to educate its financial advisers about a new U.S. rule intended to protect retirement savers, a bank spokesman confirmed on Thursday.

‘I interviewed over 100 people at Goldman Sachs, and this was the biggest mistake job candidates made’
Jacquelyn Smith – Business Insider
Before cofounding Solemates, a brand of women’s shoe-care products, in 2009, Becca Brown worked at Goldman Sachs for almost six years.

Goldman’s Blankfein Said to Push Deepest Cost Cuts in Years
Dakin Campbell, Aaron Kirchfeld, Manuel Baigorri – Bloomberg
Push includes firings, travel limits; more measures possible; CEO: `We can do a lot more on the cost side if we have to’
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is embarking on its biggest cost-cutting push in years as it tries to weather a slump in trading and dealmaking, according to two people with knowledge of the effort.

Credit Suisse’s Americas Chairman Robert Shafir Plans to Leave Bank; Shafir was an executive-board member until restructuring in October last year
Robert Shafir, Credit Suisse Group AG’s chairman of the Americas region who stepped down from the executive board late last year, is planning to leave the Swiss bank.

No wonder ex-Treasury chief wants to cut and run on RBS stake
Neil Collins – FT
Nick Macpherson has discovered that owning bank shares can damage your wealth. The former Treasury permanent secretary admits that the loss on the state’s £19bn holding of Royal Bank of Scotland is rather more permanent than his own position. One day, a chancellor will have to admit it

Citigroup Profit Plummets as Trading, Investment Banking Stall; Despite 27% drop in its bottom line, bank still beats analysts’ estimates
Citigroup Inc. said Friday that first-quarter profit fell 27%, hurt by a drop in trading and investment banking.

Clearing & Settlement

Europe to conduct clearing house stress tests
Philip Stafford – FT
European markets regulators are to conduct their first stress tests for clearing houses at the end of April, underscoring the risk management utilities’ growing role at the centre of market stability.

Stress tests at risk of becoming too complex, say bank heads; Regulator demands could lead to “tick-the-box” exercise, hear delegates at Quant Summit Europe
Paige Long –
The increasing number and complexity of supervisory stress tests is likely to render them less effective, and risks turning them into a “tick-the-box” exercise, according to bank stress-testing heads. Speaking as part of a panel discussion at Quant Summit Europe on April 13, Duško Dincov, global head of international banking stress-testing at Barclays, suggested complex stress-testing methodologies would make it more difficult to use the outputs as a tool to understand and manage the business…

The European Association Of CCP Clearing Houses (EACH) Elects New Board And Chairman
During its annual General Assembly on 13th April 2016, the 20 members of the European Association of CCP Clearing Houses (EACH) elected the following Board members for a two-year mandate.

Indexes & Products

The Nasdaq Stock Market® Leads US Listing Exchanges with 42 Percent of New ETP Listings and Switches in the First Quarter of 2016
Vanguard, PowerShares, First Trust, Principal, Victory Capital and Eaton Vance among ETF Issuers to Select Nasdaq as Primary Venue for New Listings in March
Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ), the single largest U.S. equity exchange by market share, announced nine new listings during the month of March, reinforcing itself as one of the premier listing and trading venues for exchange-traded products (ETPs). At the end of the first quarter of 2016, Nasdaq captured 42 percent of new listings and switches- exceeding all other US exchanges.

Bats Welcomes State Street Global Advisors to the Bats ETF Marketplace; Global ETF Leader Lists Two ETFs on Bats for First Time
Bats Global Markets (Bats), the #1 U.S. market for the trading of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), today welcomed State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the asset management business of State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT), as a new issuer with the listing of the SPDR DoubleLine Emerging Markets Fixed Income ETF (Bats: EMTL) and the SPDR DoubleLine Short Duration Total Return Tactical ETF (Bats: STOT).

STOXX Tru Awarded “Best Index 2015” By ETF.Com
Press Release
STOXX Ltd., the operator of Deutsche Boerse Group’s index business, and a global provider of innovative and tradable index concepts, today announced that its STOXX True Exposure index family, in short STOXX TRU, has been named “Best Index 2015” by The award was presented at a ceremony on Apr. 14, 2016 in London. Award winners were determined by a majority vote of independent ETF experts, making the results an accurate representation of the views of the industry.

FTSE 100 bosses face fresh revolt over pay
David Oakley, Corporate Affairs Correspondent – FT
The temperature gauge on executive pay rose into the red zone this week as two FTSE 100 companies suffered defeats at the hands of shareholders.


SEC Case Freezes Assets Of Ski Resort Steeped In Fraudulent EB-5 Offerings
Press Release
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a Vermont-based ski resort and related businesses allegedly misusing millions of dollars raised through investments solicited under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The SEC’s case was unsealed today in federal court in Miami, and the court has appointed a receiver over the companies to prevent any further spending of investor assets.

SEC: Town Officials in New York Hid Financial Troubles From Bond Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against Ramapo, N.Y., its local development corporation, and four town officials who allegedly hid a deteriorating financial situation from their municipal bond investors.

FCA expects more enforcement cases against individuals
Caroline Binham, Financial Regulation Correspondent – Ft
The UK financial watchdog predicted more enforcement cases against individuals as it proposed an overhaul of how cases were resolved.

Former UBS Trader Challenges Bar Over Libor Misconduct
A former UBS derivatives trader said on Thursday that he would fight an effort by the Financial Conduct Authority of Britain to bar him from the financial services industry for misconduct related to the setting of a global benchmark interest rate known as Libor.

Japan’s securities watchdog to recommend punishment of Credit Suisse -source
Japan’s securities watchdog will recommend as early as Friday punishment of Credit Suisse for violations of the country’s financial instruments and exchange laws, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Environmental & Energy

Norway’s oil fund jettisons coal-linked investments
Richard Milne in Oslo and Pilita Clark in London – FT
Norway’s $860bn oil fund will no longer put money into 52 companies for being too reliant on coal in one of the biggest ever fossil fuel-related divestment by a single investor.

Putin says Russia seeking strategic investor for 19 pct Rosneft stake
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the Russian government was searching for a strategic investor to buy a 19 percent stake in global top oil producer Rosneft as part of a privatisation plan.

U.S. Issues New Rules on Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a final set of regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling that are aimed at preventing the kind of equipment failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP Should Have Copied Banks on Pay
By Chris Hughes – Bloomberg View
BP shareholders have blown a big raspberry at the oil major’s board by voting against the CEO’s $20 million pay packet. Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg now has some serious diplomacy to do.

Activist Hedge Funds Wounded by Former Shale-Boom Star; Activist investors TPG-Axon Capital and Mount Kellett Capital each lost more than $150 million in SandRidge Energy’s decline
Activist investors lobbied successfully a few years ago to remove Tom Ward from SandRidge Energy Inc., the oil-and-gas producer he founded and led.


Staying home pays off for China’s Li Keqiang — at least for now
Over recent months, foreign diplomats bearing invites for Premier Li Keqiang to visit their capitals have been politely rebuffed. China’s foreign ministry “told us he has to stay at home to focus on the economy”, said one Beijing-based diplomat. Mr Li has not ventured overseas since visiting Malaysia five months ago, matching his longest streak without a foreign trip since assuming office three years ago. Shortly after the premier’s return from Kuala Lumpur, panic on China’s stock exchanges and currency markets increased pessimism about the trajectory of the world’s second-largest economy.

BOJ warming to idea of buying more stocks funds: sources
Bank of Japan officials are growing more receptive to stepping up monetary easing measures by buying more exchange-traded funds (ETF) invested in shares, as a stock market tumble and weak global growth threaten the country’s fragile economic recovery.

Japan warned not to devalue the yen
Japanese officials were met by firm warnings not to devalue the yen as they took their quest to talk down the currency to Washington. Taro Aso, Japanese finance minister, told his US counterpart Jack Lew that he was gravely concerned by the surge that took the yen above Y108 to the dollar earlier this week.

China’s Economy Faces Recovery Without Legs
China’s economy may have stabilized for now, thanks to gobs of new debt and a reflating property bubble. Dipping into that old bag of tricks, however, seems likely to dredge up the same old problems.

China’s GDP Growth Figures At 6.7% for Q1: Not Telling Us What We’re Hearing
China’s first quarter GDP growth figures came out yesterday and they’re not really telling us what we think we’re hearing. The reason for this is that those who actually study such things don’t believe a word of these official figures. Quite what the real ones are is difficult to discern but these official ones are not, to put it mildly, the most reliable GDP figures that anyone has ever seen.

Not just China: Japan, South Korea push cheap steel as world reels
As the world reels from a flood of cheap Chinese steel, other countries including Japan and South Korea are selling products overseas at prices as much as a third lower than in their home markets, according to industry data and officials.

Frontier Markets

India’s Rajan: Fed’s Rate View Has Eased Some Emerging-Market Pressures
Reserve Bank of India Gov. Raghuram Rajan sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday in Washington, on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. He discussed the effects of the Federal Reserve’s plans to scale down its interest-rate increases this year, financial conditions in emerging markets, asset prices, China, India’s economy, and the difference between good and bad monsoons. He also talked about the ways the economy and central bank policies don’t always work as theory would predict. Here is a transcript of the interview, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Sebi may soon revisit start-up listing norms; Many start-ups believe that the current listing norms are unattractive for them to list in India
Business Standard
Markets regulator Sebi may soon review its framework for listing of start-ups, including e-commerce firms, while incorporating suggestions from various stakeholders to make this platform much more vibrant.

2 Reasons Venezuela won’t default
Venezuela is not insolvent because it has immense oil reserves, according to the premise of a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch report today that says the country can avoid a debt restructuring. The International Monetary Fund, in its economic growth outlook for 2016, said that “projecting the economic outlook in Venezuela is complicated by the lack of any Article IV consultation since 2004 and delays in the publication of key economic data.”


Cargill’s Joe Stone Joins World Food Program USA Board of Directors
World Food Program USAWASHINGTON – World Food Program USA (WFP USA) announced today that Cargill Corporate Senior Vice President Joe Stone has joined the non-profit’s board of directors, bringing with him more than two decades of experience in agricultural development, market access, and food security.

They make enormous profit and rip customers off – banks need to clean up their act
David Richardson; Imagine what might be found by a royal commissioner looking into banks with the passion Dyson Heydon had for looking into unions
David Richardson is the Senior Research Fellow at The Australia Institute
Australia’s big banks, particularly the “four pillars”, control so much of the nation’s economy, yet the banks have been pushing people into buying wealth products that do not suit them, overselling home mortgages and other debt. Their insurance arms are rejecting legitimate claims while their traders have been accused of manipulating the benchmark interest rate for business loans. Instead of sacking dodgy staff, the whistleblowers are sacrificed.

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