First Read

Peter Borish, The Quad Group – Trading Traps: Too Many to Count

“You have to have the complete and utmost confidence in yourself if you’re going to trade and take risk. It doesn’t mean that you have to be right.”

What do subway cars, Derek Jeter, a movie theater and the Titanic have in common?

Peter Borish, chief strategist with Quad Group, has a way with analogies. It takes such comparisons to help explain trading, a “humanly uncharacteristic” action, according to Borish. It’s a fight with your gut and an exercise in taking all the lumps that come your way. Borish breaks down the struggle in this video.

Watch the video at »

For Some, Buy + Build > Buy or Build
Markets Media
For trading firms, the age-old question regarding technology has been whether to buy or to build. But a third option has emerged as optimal for some organizations: buy and build.
“Firms want flexibility, control and the ability to measure their performance,” said Jesper Alfredsson, president of Orc Americas. “Technology vendors can offer an innovative alternative — the option to build and buy. This addresses the buy-vs.-build dilemma because you can buy flexibility to build proprietarily.”

***DA: Buy and build – straight out of the IKEA playbook.


Chicago Plans $543 Million Property Tax Hike Over Four Years
Bloomberg Business
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will propose raising property taxes by $543 million over the next four years to help cover soaring pension-fund costs that have triggered downgrades to the city’s bond rating. Emanuel, a Democrat who won re-election this year, will propose an increase of $318 million for 2015, his office said in a statement Monday. That will be followed by an additional $109 million in 2016, $53 million in 2017 and $63 million in 2018.

***DA: As a politically-agnostic publication, no comment. But here is a link to Mr. Emanuel’s talk at this year’s MarketsWiki Education Summer Intern series. Times were much simpler then.


MarketsWiki Education London 2015

De Beers Pushes Gift-Giving to Halt China’s Diamond Slowdown
Bloomberg Business
De Beers SA, the world’s biggest diamond producer, is banking on Chinese generosity to help reverse a sharp slowdown in the country’s demand for jewels.

***DA: Another sign that China is moving toward American-styled capitalism. Just lost most of your family’s net worth in a stock market crash? Buy your wife some jewelry and all will be fine.


Bridging the Week by Gary DeWaal: September 14 to 18 and 21, 2015 (Virtual Currencies; Large Trader Reports; Leverage Ratio; Penson; Double Jeopardy; LME Position Limits)
Gary DeWaal, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Last week was a week of many firsts in the financial services industry worldwide. For the first time, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission formally indicated that virtual currencies were commodities and thus swaps based on Bitcoin must be traded on a swap execution facility or a designated contract market. In addition, the CFTC brought its first enforcement action against a swap dealer for failing to file, as required by regulation, accurate large trader reports for certain swap positions involving physical commodities. Finally, the London Metal Exchange proposed position limits for the first time too.

***DA: Gary’s post, which we usually post on Monday, is a day late. It fell through the cracks amid our crazy travel schedules. Sorry.


Empty Floor at Goldman Puts Change on Display
The New York Times
When Goldman Sachs moved into its new tower near the Hudson River in 2009, the sprawling trading desks on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors were some of the most active and lucrative in the world. Now, nearly six years later, the glass-walled sixth floor — stretching much of a city block — has become something of a ghost town, all but empty save for a few still-occupied offices.


Lead Stories

LSE’s Sale of Russell Investments to Citic May Collapse
Cathy Kit Ching Chan, John Detrixhe and Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg Business
London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s plan to sell Russell Investments to China’s Citic Securities Co. is faltering and may soon collapse, people with knowledge of the matter said. The plunge in the Chinese stock market since mid-June, as well as investigations into some Citic Securities executives, have derailed the discussions, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

China Europe eyes November launch date
Futures & Options World (Subscription Required)
The China Europe International Exchange (CEINEX) will launch in November, initially supporting the cash market, with initial products likely to include exchange-traded-funds and bonds, ahead of futures and derivatives in the second phase. The exchange is a joint venture between Deutsche Boerse, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and the China Financial Futures Exchange, and has the remit of supporting the internationalisation of the Chinese currency.

Green Key’s Virtual Turret for Brokers and Traders Awarded Patent
Press Release
Green Key Technologies, winner of the 2015 most promising sell-side start up award and maker of voice software designed specifically for traders and brokers, announced today the USPTO has granted the company a patent for their “soft turret” functionality. The Green Key cloud-based “software turret” completely replicates the functionality of legacy hardware turrets and lines but at a fraction of the cost. Traders and brokers simply download the voice software onto their PC, establish connections to counterparties and “push-to-talk” in real time with an unlimited amount of users. Communication is encrypted, recorded and can be transcribed for real-time compliance capabilities.

***DA: For more on Green Key, have a look at this short video produced by John Lothian Productions.

Charting the Markets: Fed Uncertainty Sours Mood of Global Investors
Mark Barton – Bloomberg
Confusion reigns. Less than five days after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, a total of four U.S. central bank officials have paved the way for a hike this year. Traders still aren’t convinced. According to Fed fund futures the probability of a rate increase in 2015 is less than 50 percent. Thursday’s lecture by Fed Chair Janet Yellen in Amherst, Massachusetts, has taken on extra significance as investors seek more clues on the possible timing of a change in monetary policy. Asian stocks excluding Japan, which is closed for a second day, were little changed after the biggest loss in three weeks. The Shanghai Composite Index rose for a third day, the longest stretch of gains in over a month, as President Xi Jinping visits the U.S.

San Francisco Fed: Market-Based Inflation Forecasts Are Lousy
Bloomberg Business
If Janet Yellen wants to know where inflation is going, she shouldn’t ask the market.

Goldman Has Come Up With (Yet) Another New Name for ‘Smart Beta’
Eric Balchunas – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs’s first exchange-traded fund is also the latest attempt to kill the term “smart beta.”
One of the most controversial marketing buzz phrases ever created in finance, smart beta has become an annoying pest that won’t go away. Few can define it, and even fewer like it. Many harbor pure hatred for it. William Sharpe has said it makes him “definitionally sick.” And don’t even ask John Bogle what he thinks of it.

The New Bond Market: Some Funds Are Not as Liquid as They Appear
Some of the largest U.S. bond mutual funds have invested 15% or more of their money in rarely traded securities, a practice that runs counter to long-held Securities and Exchange Commission views on the funds, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows.

SEC settles with two ex-Fannie Mae executives, but not ex-CEO
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reached a settlement with two former Fannie Mae executives in one of its biggest lawsuits tied to the financial crisis, and the two men agreed as part of the deal to cooperate with the SEC in its case against former Chief Executive Daniel Mudd.

Bad Interns and Generous Unicorns
Bloomberg View
“I wish there was a law against referrals,” wrote Charles Li in an e-mail when he was chairman of J.P. Morgan China, and … there kind of was? I mean, not exactly, but there is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which arguably made it illegal for JPMorgan to hire the children of foreign government officials in order to win business or benefits from them. But Li “played a key role managing both client relationships and personnel decisions during his tenure at the Wall Street bank,” and so he sent a lot of e-mails where those relationships and decisions seem to have intersected.

A dirty dozen decisions deferred
Dan McCrum – Financial Times
Forward guidance under Ben Bernanke and then Janet Yellen has been… changeable, notes David Kelly, chief strategist for JP Morgan Asset Management, who shares a reminder of the shifting timescale.
Here’s the Federal Reserve on when it would be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate:


Industry warns over failure to reach EU-U.S. deal on derivatives
Failure by European Union and U.S. regulators to iron out differences in their derivatives rules would prompt “catastrophic” attempts by market users to pull out from American clearing houses, a senior industry official has warned.

Esma to create supervision department
Futures & Options World (Subscription Required)
The European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma) on Monday said it would reorganise its divisions from November as it looks to evolve from post-crisis rule-making to implementation as part of its 2016-2020 strategic plan. Under the reorganisation, the regulator’s divisions and units are to be replaced by seven departments, including a new supervision department, which will integrate credit rating agencies and trade repositories supervision.

SEC Takes Aim at Risk in Asset Management
Andrew Ackerman and Sarah Krouse – WSJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission will step up Tuesday its campaign to cut risk in the $60 trillion asset-management industry, amid calls by other regulators for tighter monitoring.

More convincing needed for beneficial owners in CCP sec lending debate
The Trade News
Regulatory pressures are encouraging more securities lending activity to take place through central counterparties (CCP). However more work is needed to win over beneficial owners, according to panellists at the IMN European Securities Lending Conference. As regulations such as Basel III and Dodd Frank continue to sink in, market participants are warming to securities lending CCPs as a means of alleviating capital and balance sheet constraints.

FINRA Fines Down in First Half of 2015
Megan Leonhardt – Wealth Management
Wall Street’s regulatory watchdog, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is off to a slow start in the amount of fines and restitution ordered from broker/dealers and financial firms during the first six months of 2015.

After backlash, U.S. auditor watchdog head faces uncertain future
A controversy is heating up over the naming of the government’s top audit regulatory official, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission considers a replacement for an incumbent who is backed by investor advocates.

France urges precision on UK plans for EU reform
Four months after Mr Cameron toured the continent to persuade fellow leaders to back wide-ranging EU reform, French diplomats are still scratching their heads. They are wondering whether a written wishlist will materialise during Mr Hollande’s stay at Chequers, the UK prime minister’s country residence in Buckinghamshire.

Monetary Authority of Singapore Enhances Regulatory Safeguards For Investors
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will proceed with enhancements to its regulatory framework for safeguarding investors’ interests, taking into account feedback received on its consultation paper published on 21 July 201411. The key changes are as follows

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

ICE Futures U.S. to Introduce World Cotton Contract on November 2
Intercontinental Exchange, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, announced that ICE Futures U.S. will launch a World Cotton contract on November 2, 2015. The World Cotton contract will price delivery of multiple origins and allow delivery in multiple locations around the world. The new contract will trade alongside ICE’s benchmark Cotton No. 2 contract.

CME Group, China Securities Index Sign Index Development & Product Licensing Deal
CME Group (CME) and China Securities Index Co. Ltd announced that they have signed an index development and product licensing agreement. As per the agreement, CME Group will grant CSI a license to use certain CME Group market data for the purposes of developing, calculating and disseminating commodity indexes.

Gmex and Digital Realty to establish emerging markets trading hubs
Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: DLR), a leading global provider of data centre and colocation solutions, and GMEX Technologies Limited (GMEX Tech), a provider of multi-asset exchange and post-trade technology, announced today that they will establish multiple global hubs for new product exchanges and trading venues in Digital Realty’s facilities.

TSE high-speed trading system set
The Japan News
The Tokyo Stock Exchange will upgrade its trading system Thursday by introducing an even faster buying and selling mechanism to greatly increase its transaction capacity.

China Investors Shun World’s Wildest Stocks as Trading Dries Up
Bloomberg Business
Plunging turnover and the world’s wildest price swings mean that China’s stock market just keeps getting uglier for investors. The value of shares traded on mainland bourses has fallen to $90 billion a day from about $380 billion on May 28, with the difference being equivalent to the average daily trading in the U.S.

LME Boosts Steel Committee With Four New Members
The London Metal Exchange (LME) is pleased to announce the appointment of four new members to its Steel Committee as it moves closer to the launch of two new ferrous contracts – steel scrap and steel rebar – in November.

EEX says solar, wind data issue solved
Futures & Options World
The European Energy Exchange (EEX) said on Monday the market data problem that hit its wind and solar power data last week has now been fixed. EEX receives its wind and solar data from the ENTSO-E platform, a database of electricity generation, transport and consumption data for the pan-European market.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Greenberg’s Starr May Pursue U.S. in $38 Million Tax Case
Bloomberg Business
Maurice “Hank” Greenberg’s Starr International Co. can move forward with a lawsuit claiming the U.S. owes it a $38 million tax refund. A Washington federal judge on Friday rejected government claims that the reason for denying the refund can’t be second-guessed by the court.

How to Lose $667 Million in Bond Trades Without Trying
Bloomberg Business
Bond investors can waste a lot of money and not even know it. They lost about $667 million in the year ended March 31 by paying higher prices for corporate bonds that were available at lower prices elsewhere, according to September research by Larry Harris, a business professor at the University of Southern California.

Goldman Sachs Has Some Bad News for Investors Who Like to Pick Stocks
Bloomberg Business
Low return dispersion and a stock market selloff combine to make life hard for active investment managers.

Hedge fund leader bets on emerging market rout
Stephen Foley and James Kynge – Financial Times
The world economy is locked on a course towards an emerging markets crisis and a renewed slowdown in the US, despite the Federal Reserve’s decision last week to hold off on a rise in rates, according to one of 2015’s most successful hedge fund managers.
John Burbank, whose Passport Capital has placed lucrative bets against commodities and emerging markets this year, forecast that the Fed would eventually be forced into a fourth round of quantitative easing to shore up the economy.

Banks & Brokers

Fed Should Hold Hearing on Goldman-GE Banking Deal, NCRC Says
Bloomberg Business
The Federal Reserve should hold hearings on Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s planned purchase of an online banking unit from General Electric Co. because of concern a deal won’t create a public benefit, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition told the central bank.

How UBS Spread the Pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis to Clients
Bloomberg Business
The Swiss bank packed pension bonds it underwrote into mutual funds it marketed on the island with a hard sell.

RPT-Win or lose, Bank of America vote shows new shareholder muscle
A group of shareholders is looking to strip Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Brian Moynihan of his chairman title on Tuesday in an investor vote and whether they fail or succeed, they have notched a victory just by getting the bank to hold a special meeting on the matter.

Wall Street Cracks Down on Free Sharing of Analysts’ Notes
Bloomberg Business
Wall Street banks may have finally hit on a way to pinpoint the value of analysts and squeeze more money from their research: Stop making it so easy to share. Bank of America Corp. has started embedding analysts’ reports into web pages, so it can more easily restrict access than with PDF files that are widely shared with people who aren’t paying clients, said Candace Browning, the firm’s head of research.

Clearing & Settlement

Singapore slings (and arrows)
Banking Technology
For those who attend Sibos every year, it can seem as though the conference never actually ends – it simply adjourns until the following year. This year, the rise of distributed ledgers and the role of non-bank players in financial services look set to top the agenda at this year’s event in Singapore – but there will also be a strong focus on innovation, women in finance and millennials

CFTC seeks comment on petition by Japan Securities Clearing Corporation for exemption from DCO registration
The Commission is considering a petition for exemption from registration based on its authority under Section 5b(h) of the Commodity Exchange Act, which permits the CFTC to exempt a clearing organization from DCO registration for the clearing of swaps to the extent that the CFTC determines that such clearing organization is subject to comparable, comprehensive supervision by appropriate government authorities in the clearing organization’s home country.

Roundtable: a world of real-time payments
Banking Technology
As the global move towards real-time payments infrastructures gathers pace, domestic and regional drivers are leading to divergent implementations. How will this shape the future banking ecosystem and what can people learn from the journey so far?

HKEx to enhance Stock Connect trade settlement model
Asia Asset Management
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) is to enhance the existing A-share trade settlement model under the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect in order to enable stock and money settlements to be completed on the same day.

Indexes & Products

S&P Capital IQ launches Enhanced SME Scorecard to Measure Credit Risk for Women-led SMEs in Emerging Markets
With an eye on helping to close the lending gap for small, women-owned businesses in emerging markets, S&P Capital IQ, a leader in financial data, research and analytics, today announced the launch of an SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) Scorecard, designed to provide a consistent and transparent lending framework for financial institutions that removes biases, specifically gender, and thus helps to level the playing field for women-owned small businesses.

SEC Charges Investment Adviser With Improperly Using Mutual Fund Assets to Pay Distribution Fees
An SEC investigation found that First Eagle and FEF unlawfully caused the First Eagle Funds to pay nearly $25 million for distribution-related services, rather than making the payments out of the firms’ own assets (known as “revenue sharing”). Such payments can only come from fund assets pursuant to a written Rule 12b-1 plan that is approved by a fund’s board.

Debate Over China A-Shares Reignites
Just as China shows that its domestic stock market can be something of a one-way street—investors can put money in, but not take money out—the biggest mutual fund company, Vanguard Group, is moving ahead with plans to expose more mom-and-pop investors to the country’s heavily restricted exchanges.


SunGard launches investor financial planning apps through Windows Store
SunGard, in collaboration with Microsoft Corp., has launched a series of five financial planning applications, available through Windows Store, to help individuals improve their ability to reach their financial and retirement savings goals.

Apple Releases Watch Software Update After Bug Caused Delay
Bloomberg Business
Apple Inc. said a software update for Apple Watch is now available after last week’s release was delayed because a problem in the operating system couldn’t be fixed in time.

Generali Vie goes live on SunGard
Generali Vie, a French life insurance company that is part of the Generali Group, has gone live on SunGard’s IntelliMatch Operational Control solution to manage its cash and securities reconciliations from a single, centralized enterprise platform.

Exchange Data International Launches Its Equity Analytics Data Service
Financial IT
Securities and corporate actions reference data specialist Exchange Data International (EDI) today announced it has added equity analytics data, Worldwide Equity Analytics, to its comprehensive securities data offering.

Top 100 Companies in FinTech
American Banker
On this page we’ll be revealing the names of the top 100 technology providers to U.S. banks, 25 companies each week. On October 13, we’ll post the fourth and final section of the list.


SEC Charges Two Men in Stock Manipulation Scheme
The SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Boston charged Frank Morelli III, of Florence, Colorado, and Louis Buonocore, of Woburn, Massachusetts, for their roles in the alleged scheme. In a parallel case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts today filed a criminal information against Buonocore. According to the SEC’s complaint, Morelli and Buonocore concealed their ownership of virtually all of YaFarm’s stock, secretly controlled its operations, and paid stock promoters in 2013 to tout it as a legitimate company with growing operations.

Ex-Morgan Stanley Adviser Pleads Guilty to Taking Bank Data
Bloomberg Business
A fired Morgan Stanley financial adviser who downloaded client data to a home server pleaded guilty to accessing the bank’s computer network without permission. Galen Marsh, 31, transferred confidential information on 730,000 customers to a private server in his Hoboken, New Jersey, home from June 2011 to December 2014, according to prosecutors.

Environmental & Energy

European Coal Prices Slump to a Record Low
Bloomberg Business
Prices have declined 25 percent so far in 2015, heading for a fifth straight year of drops in the benchmark year-ahead contract, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The slump came as lackluster global demand with diminished prospects for growth, including a 35 percent drop in Chinese coal imports from January to July, combined with plenty of available low-cost supply, according to Societe Generale SA.

Mines in America’s Coal Country Just Sold for a Total of Nothing
Bloomberg Business
For a reality check on America’s coal industry, consider how much a collection of Appalachian pits just sold for: nothing. That’s what Booth Energy Group’s Cambrian Coal Corp. paid up front for a Teco Energy Inc. unit that controls a collection of surface and underground mines, a company statement Monday shows.

California’s Wildfires Didn’t Have to Be So Bad
Bloomberg View
Warming temperatures and a historic drought made Northern California’s Valley fire faster to spread and harder to fight. But the bigger culprit, sadly but thankfully, was something under human control: forest mismanagement.

Cheap Food Eases Pain of Slumping Oil in Mideast Wary of Unrest
Bloomberg Business
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa that subsidize food for their citizens are catching a break, even as the global oil slump hammers the region’s economy.

If you care about climate change, it’s getting easier to find companies to invest in
Anyone who wants to put their money into climate-friendly businesses—like renewable energy or electric cars—has long been able to identify suitable companies or invest in “green” indices. But it’s been more difficult to avoid, or at least hedge against, investing in companies that actually worsen climate change. That, finally, is changing.


What If China’s Economy Is Even Bigger Than It Seems?
Alex Frangos – WSJ
Everyone thinks China’s economy isn’t what it seems.
Barclays economists, for instance, recently calculated that China’s reported gross domestic product started going off kilter in early 2014. That 7% GDP growth last quarter was more like 5.6%, Barclays says.
But what if China’s economy is actually a lot bigger than everyone thinks? That is the conclusion of a study by Daniel Rosen and Beibei Bao for the Center for Strategic & International Studies. And it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Nor, though, should it be seen in an unabashedly bullish light.

Despite Slump, China’s Xi Jinping Pledges Economic Reforms
Charles Hutzler – WSJ
BEIJING—Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his government’s economic stewardship and said that China’s slowing growth and market fluctuations won’t deter needed reforms.

China Stocks Post Longest Win Streak in Month as Brokerages Jump
Bloomberg Business
Chinese stocks rose for a third day, their longest winning streak in a month, as optimism grew over President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the U.S. and brokerages rallied on prospects of an exchange link between London and Shanghai.

China finalises rules for international payment system – sources
China’s central bank has completed drafting regulations for an international payment system that would facilitate greater usage of the yuan globally, banking industry sources said on Tuesday.

Asia learning to fight hackers
Finance Asia
Cyber criminals often have the advantage over banks. The reason why is due to a serious imbalance between the cost of launching cyber attacks and the cost of defending against them.

China president seeks to reassure on reform, heads to U.S.
Chinese President Xi Jinping added his voice on Tuesday to officials trying to reassure the world that the government was still firmly committed to financial reform following criticism of its intervention to steady rocky markets and boost growth.

Frontier Markets

Iran’s economy stagnates as shoppers wait for foreign brands
Two months after Iran reached a nuclear deal that will open its markets to the world, officials are warning of economic stagnation as consumers hold off on purchases of domestic goods while they wait for international brands to arrive.

What China, Peru And Your Portfolio Have In Common
Right now, south of the equator, Peru is engaged in a big showdown — it’s fighting tooth and nail to keep its place in an influential stock index. This comes on the heels of a recent decision that keeps a whole swath of the Chinese market out of this very same index. The countries may be wildly different and located at opposite ends of the world, but they are both chasing your investment dollars.

Mongolian Bonds Take a Beating Amid Emerging-Markets Turmoil
Mongolia, the vast but sparsely populated Asian nation sandwiched between Russia and China, sold its first government bond internationally in 2012 at the height of the global commodities boom. Three years on, it is among the countries hardest hit amid the current emerging-markets turmoil.

Nigeria central bank governor under fire over currency controls
Nigeria’s central bank governor is coming under fire from economists and investors as Africa’s top crude producer reels from the collapse in oil prices. Godwin Emefiele has introduced a range of currency controls in recent months to try to halt the decline of the naira, which has lost about 22 per cent of its value since the oil price collapse began in July 2014.

African economies get rate hike breather for now
African policymakers worried that the US Federal Reserve’s liftoff will roil their markets even further, have room to breathe. For now. Central banks across Africa have bucked a global trend by tightening monetary policy to ward off inflation threats as their currencies slumped against the dollar


For working mothers flextime, childcare, paid leave are key issues
Flextime, childcare options and paid maternity leave are the keys issues for working mothers in the United States and what set companies apart as the best places to work, employment experts said on Tuesday.

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