First Read

Why most millennials don’t invest in the stock market
By Jillian Berman
The kids are scared of the stock market. Just 26% of people under 30 are investing in stocks, according to a survey published Thursday by, a personal finance site. That’s compared with 58% of people between the ages of 50 and 64.

***** This is an issue I have been concerned about since the financial crisis hit. I know how the Great Depression impact the psychology of an entire generation, turning many into hoarders.


Mike Bloomberg is formally knighted by UK
By David K. LiApril 10, 2015 | 12:19am
Modal Trigger
Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg can add one more title to his royal résumé — Honorary Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The honor was bestowed upon the three-term New York mayor during a private ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. Queen Elizabeth II, citing Bloomberg’s philanthropic work, announced the honor back in October. But the former mayor and British officials only got around to making it official this week.

***** Sir Bloomberg has been rumored to be considering running for mayor of London.


Exclusive: Former Enron trader Arnold may launch national PR push to reform pensions
Buy Tim Reid, Reuters
Former Enron trader and hedge fund billionaire John Arnold may be about to launch a national publicity campaign to convince U.S. voters of the need to reform public pensions, according to a document seen by Reuters.

****** Where is mine?


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A cryptocurrency fit for Wall Street
Gillian Tett, FT
Rand Paul loves to present himself as a political pioneer. This week, however, the Kentucky senator and darling of the Tea Party is carving out new frontiers in finance. Announcing a 2016 presidential bid on Tuesday, he said he would collect donations via bitcoin. That makes him the first US presidential candidate to raise funds using the cryptocurrency. The move is likely to be wildly popular with his libertarian supporters, given the Republican party’s deep suspicions of fiat currency and the US Federal Reserve.

***** The talented Gillian Tett looks at Bitcoin. It may be time to take another look at this and how it is being used in financial innovation.


LME appoints Andrew Dodsworth to lead new Market Operations department
The London Metal Exchange (LME) is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Dodsworth as Head of Market Operations. Andrew will lead an expanded Market Operations function, which has been designed to provide a robust, comprehensive and high quality operational service to all of the LME’s customers. This team will encompass the LME’s existing electronic trading, matching, market data and warrant management operational services, as well as the price discovery department, headed by Peter Childs, and all market supervision functions.

***** The band is definitely getting back together.


Brand New: LME’s Jones Says Exchange Is Set For Growth, 2 Ways

London Metal Exchange had quite a year in 2014.

From its integration into the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, launching its own clearinghouse, and addressing the metals warehousing problems, LME has the pieces in place for expansion. Garry Jones, CEO of the LME spoke with John Lothian News about the exchange’s focus on China and the potential for new products in the coming months.

LME launched its own clearing house last September and has brought its technology in-house, under the HKFE. All of that has added staff to LME, tripling its payroll over the past three years, as well as a new building set to open later in the year.

“There’s two main themes for the LME,” he said. “Our business, given that 40 percent of the world’s metals production and consumption is in China, we’re focused on that as well.”
Watch the video »

Lead Stories

BATS exchange offers plan to boost volume in thinly traded stocks
BATS Global Markets is proposing to close its doors to thinly traded stocks in an unusual move that aims to increase trading volume in the shares of perhaps 500 to 600 micro- and small-cap companies.

Hong Kong Poised to Top Japan as World’s No. 3 Stock Market
by Yuji Nakamura, Toshiro Hasegawa, Bloomberg
Hong Kong is set to overtake Japan as the world’s third-largest stock market, spurred on by surging Chinese demand for shares in the former British colony.

CFTC Defers LME’s Application, Cites Warehouse Delays; Long queues for aluminum seen causing concerns in market about pricing
U.S. regulators have deferred the London Metal Exchange’s application to allow U.S. traders direct access to its electronic trading and order-matching system, citing issues surrounding the exchange’s aluminum warehouses.

Don’t Spoof $12.6 Trillion Treasury Market, Fed Group Says
by Matthew Leising, Alexandra Scaggs, Bloomberg
Wall Street executives have a recommendation for U.S. Treasury traders: Don’t manipulate the $12.6 trillion market.

Spotting lies, and the lying liars who layer them
Dan McCrum, FT
Can you spot a lie? What about a half-truth, a sin of omission or the telling smirk of someone who thinks they got away with it? How about the grand lie, so big it has pillars and caverns of mis-truth, or the subtle wave of misdirection?

Fed Heeds Banks’ Warning on Where Next Crisis May Come From
by Silla Brush, Jesse Hamilton, Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BlackRock Inc. have argued for years that a key response to the last financial crisis could help fuel the next one. Global regulators are starting to heed their warnings.

BATS wants to remove illiquid stocks from its exchanges
Nicole Bullock in New York, FT
BATS Global Markets, the second-largest US stock exchange operator by volume, wants to turn away illiquid stocks from its own market to help solve the longstanding problem of improving liquidity in thinly traded shares.

HK Exchange says to raise quotas for mainland investors, inflows pressuring peg
The Hong Kong stock exchange expects to increase quotas for mainland China investors by more than 30 percent, its chief executive said, a day after heavy capital inflows from the mainland forced the city’s central bank to sell Hong Kong dollars to defend its currency peg.

Opinion: Currency manipulation could derail Obama’s trade deals
By Darrell Delamaide, MarketWatch
Although the Obama administration is doing its best to ignore the problem, currency manipulation is not going away and threatens to torpedo the pending trade agreements not only with Asia but also with Europe.

SEC Announces Fraud Charges Against Former Accounting Executive at Japanese Subsidiary; Chicago-Area Company Charged With Financial Reporting and Internal Controls Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against the former controller of a suburban Chicago company’s Japanese subsidiary who cost his company millions of dollars in trading losses and manipulated accounting records to avoid detection.

‘Once-in-3-Billion-Year’ Jump in Bonds Was a Warning Shot, Dimon Says
by Sonali Basak, Doni Bloomfield, Bloomberg
PMorgan Chase & Co. head Jamie Dimon said last year’s volatility in U.S. Treasuries is a “warning shot” to investors and that the next financial crisis could be exacerbated by a shortage of the securities.


Role of HFTs Questioned in Swiss FX Move
Regulators and central bankers have been busy focusing on the inner workings of the bond markets, signaling concerns over deteriorating liquidity. Now they are turning their gaze towards currencies.

Flash Boys author casts doubt on HFT probes
By James Rundle, Financial News
Michael Lewis, author of ‘Flash Boys’, the controversial book on high-frequency trading, has accused regulators investigating HFT of paying lip-service to probes into the practice.

Trading rules need to work together
Cross-border fragmentation is one of the biggest concerns for ISDA and its members. A split in global liquidity pools means lower trading liquidity, regulatory arbitrage, duplicative compliance requirements and, ultimately, higher costs for end users. To avoid this happening, it’s vital that regulators develop and implement each set of rules based on a common set of principles – and ISDA has looked to help guide this process by formulating principles on central counterparty recovery, data reporting and, most recently, the centralized execution of swaps.

Finra mulls new bonus disclosure rule
By Mason Braswell, InvestmentWeek
The regulator is still doing research, but expects to move forward in the “short term,” said Susan Axelrod, executive vice president of regulatory operations
Despite being relatively quiet on the issue since September last year, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. hasn’t forgotten about a plan to require brokers to make additional disclosures to clients regarding recruitment incentives received when moving from firm to firm.

CFTC Promotes SmartCheck Week to Fight Financial Fraud
By Bernice Napach, Senior Writer, ThinkAdvisor
CFTC says 80% of the financial fraud it has uncovered was committed by people who aren’t registered investment professionals
Investors can check registrations at CFTC’s SmartCheck website.

Opening Remarks to the Investor Advisory Committee by Chair Mary Jo White

Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans

  • CBOE: Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, to List and Trade Options on the MSCI EAFE Index and on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (Release No. 34-74681; File No. SR-CBOE-2015-023; April 8, 2015)
  • CME: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Facilitate Acceptance of a New Credit Default Swap Index Product Series (Release No. 34-74689; File No. SR-CME-2015-012)
  • ICC: Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change to Provide for the Clearance of An Additional Standard Emerging Market Sovereign Single Name (Release No. 34-74688; File No. SR-ICC-2015-006)
  • ICC: Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change to Provide for the Clearance of Additional Western European Sovereign Single Names (Release No. 34-74687; File No. SR-ICC-2015-007)
  • CC: Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change to Revise the ICC Risk Management Framework (Release No. 34-74685; File No. SR-ICC-2014-24; April 8, 2015)
  • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Modify NASDAQ Rule 7051 Fees Relating to Pricing for Direct Circuit Connections (Release No. 34-74680; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-029; April 8, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • NYSEMKT: Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 13-Equities and Related Rules Governing Order Types and Modifiers (Release No. 34-74682; File No. SR-NYSEMKT-2015-22; April 8, 2015); see also Exhibit 5

SEC Halts Microcap Scheme in South Florida
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against the operators of a South Florida-based microcap scheme, including three boiler room brokers caught trying to conceal from investors that they have been barred from the industry.

SEC Names Marc Wyatt as Acting Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Marc Wyatt will serve as Acting Director of the agency’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). He succeeds Andrew Bowden, who announced that he will be leaving the SEC to rejoin the private sector at the end of April.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

HK-Shanghai stock trading link activity surges
Josh Noble in Hong Kong, FT
A huge jump in equities purchases by Chinese investors has produced record trading volumes in Hong Kong, a signal that the prolonged stock rally on the mainland is finally spilling over into global markets.

Hong Kong Exchanges Says China Link Quota Will Be Expanded
by Eduard Gismatullin, Jasmine Wang, Bloomberg
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., the world’s biggest bourse operator by market value, expects the trading limits for the equity link with China will be increased.

U.S. CFTC defers LME request due to warehousing concerns
The U.S. derivatives regulator has deferred a request by the London Metal Exchange to let U.S. customers trade on its electronic platform amid lingering concerns about backlogs in its aluminum warehouses in Detroit and other locations. In a March 24 letter to the exchange operator seen by Reuters on Thursday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that while the LME “has made progress in reducing queues,” the staff still feels that “more progress is needed, especially with respect to actual queue reduction in Detroit.”

BOX Price Improvement Activity for March
In the month of March, price improved contracts on BOX
Options Exchange (“BOX”) averaged 218,520 per day. Price improvement versus
the prevailing NBBO for contracts submitted via BOX’s price improvement
auction, PIP, averaged $571,858 per day, while total savings to investors this
month was $12.6M. With this, BOX has saved investors over $614M since its
inception in 2004. Overall average daily trading volume on BOX in the month of
March was 350,954 contracts.

Famine after feast as US listings get sluggish start
Nicole Bullock and Eric Platt, FT
It has gone from feast to near famine in the US listings market so far this year.
After a robust 2014 when companies raised nearly $100bn in initial public offerings, marking the best year since the red-hot days of the dotcom era, the market for US-based listings has appreciably slowed of late.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

CTA market has turned a corner – Newedge
Futures & Options World The Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) market has finally turned the corner on the back of improved market conditions, according to Societe Generale Newedge. James Skeggs, global head of advisory group at Societe Generale Newedge, said of trend following CTAs: “They clearly have turned the corner, the general environment has changed.

You’ve Never Heard of the Bull Market’s Best Stock Pickers
by Charles Stein, Bloomberg
The Hotchkis & Wiley Small Cap Value Fund has returned 35 percent a year since the bull market began in 2009, the top-performing U.S. stock fund during the period.

Hedge Fund Kamunting Street Capital Shutting Down; The fund suffered over the past nine months from junk bond bets jostled by hard-hit energy companies
The historic plunge in oil prices has helped claim another victim: a hedge fund run by a former Citigroup Inc. trading star.

In a World Filled With Gluts, One Metal Is Suddenly Hard to Find
by Joseph Deaux, Matthew Craze, Bloomberg
Tucked away in the remote limestone plateaus of northern Australia, the owners of a massive zinc mine have begun preparing its transition back to cattle-grazing land.

Banks & Brokers

GH Financials joins ASX 24 and ASX Clear (Futures) as first remote clearing participant
GH Financials (GHF), a clearing firm for exchange-traded derivatives, has been approved for Trading Participation of ASX 24, and as a fully remote Clearing Participant of ASX Clear (Futures).

Citigroup’s Top Risk Executive, Brian Leach, to Depart
A top executive who oversees many of Citigroup’s risk functions is stepping down.

Citigroup sharpens focus on risk and compliance
Ben McLannahan in New York, FT
Citigroup is scrapping a two-year experiment in combining the oversight of risk, audit and compliance, in a move likely to sharpen the focus on risk of chief executive, Mike Corbat.

Deutsche Bank faces Libor fine of more than $1.5bn
Gina Chon in Washington, FT
Deutsche Bank could face a more than $1.5bn penalty for allegedly manipulating Libor, which would be the biggest fine imposed so far on a bank accused of rigging the benchmark borrowing rate, according to people familiar with the case.

Analysis: “Its Crazy” Banks Don’t Have Insight Into Their Derivatives Risk
By: Mark Melin, ValueWalk
The key information on the riskiest derivatives is maintained on a paper record, while a broad solution is possible with cooperation rather than confrontation
By: Mark Melin, ValueWalk
As the derivatives that underlie the world economy face unknown interconnected risk in a Greek sovereign default, behind the scenes the problem is dissected and corresponding solutions are offered. But the real issue is: will those who control the underwriting of derivatives contracts allow any degree of transparency into what is documented to be a threat to economic security?

Clearing & Settlement

Fed Heeds Banks’ Warning on Where Next Crisis May Come From
Bloomberg Business
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BlackRock Inc. have argued for years that a key response to the last financial crisis could help fuel the next one. Global regulators are starting to heed their warnings. At issue is the role of clearinghouses — platforms that regulators turned to following the 2008 meltdown to shed more light on the $700 trillion swaps market. A pivotal goal was ensuring that losses at one bank don’t imperil a wide swath of companies, and the broader economy.

Yuan market needs deal with settlement system – HSBC
The absence of China’s yuan from the CLS system used to settle deals in major currencies is a growing problem for banks and will hamper efforts to trade the currency more if it is not resolved, a senior China-focused banker said on Thursday.

Indexes & Products

Citadel plots ETF block trades
By Sarah Krouse, Financial News
Citadel Securities plans to start executing exchange-traded fund block trades by the end of the year, ramping up its capabilities in the products as assets in ETFs globally swell.

A-shares inclusion in MSCI indexes likely: analys
Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) has kicked off a second round of surveys among global institutional investors concerning listing A-shares in the MSCI All Country World Index and will make a final decision in June, according to Shanghai-based China Business News.

Interview: Cathal Hardiman about options on iShares ETFs, how they fit into your business and more
The first quarter of 2015 saw a remarkable rise in volume and open interest in our options on iShares ETFs based on EURO STOXX50® and DAX®. Open interest stood at 5,400 contracts by the end of March. In total almost 8,300 contracts have been traded so far in 2015. We talked with Cathal Hardiman who works as an options sales trader for Susquehanna International Securities Limited, one of the most active global trading firms, about what is special with these contracts.

Exchange traded fund assets approach $3tn
Joel Lewin, FT
Investors have continued pumping money into exchange traded funds and products this year, propelling the global market towards $3tn of assets, highlighting a pronounced change in trading across markets.

The unlikely company behind the Nikkei’s dramatic rise
CNN Money
It’s easy to find reasons for the index’s performance: The central bank is pumping money into the economy at a torrid pace, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to reform the way Japan Inc. does business. But a closer look at the Nikkei reveals that one company in particular has played a starring role in its dramatic rise.

China Bond Defaults and Indexing the China Bond Market
ETF Trends
The globalization of the Chinese bond markets is important for China, and doing so allows more free-flowing information, while bringing transparency of the bond markets toward global standards will be be critical. Independent and transparent bond indices play an important role as well. Indices that use independent data sources and global indexing standards also help raise the level of information about the characteristics of opaque bond markets.


Getting Hired by FinTech Makes Workers Feel Like Winners
Tampa Bay Times
Fintech is the alcohol industry’s PayPal. The financial services and data company handles billions in beer, wine and spirits sales payments for retailers and wholesalers. The company’s customers include the likes of Trader Joe’s and Publix Super Markets, Target and Walmart, Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International, Great Bay Distributors and Pepin Distributors. And Fintech made the Top Workplaces list for small businesses at No. 34.

Citi looks to build a global ecosystem for FinTech
Jorge Ruiz, managing director, Digital Acceleration Global Program Head, Citi sits down with Finextra to talk about the ongoing Citi Mobile Challenge and the development of a global ecosystem for FinTech.


SEC bars ex-Molex accountant over unauthorized trading
Bloomberg via Crain’s Chicago Business
U.S. regulators sanctioned a former Molex accounting executive over claims he racked up more than $110 million in losses through unauthorized trading over the course of more than 20 years.

Nomura and RBS accused of ‘deceit’ in mortgage securities trial
Tom Braithwaite in New York, FT
Nomura and Royal Bank of Scotland were accused of “incompetence” and “deceit” in packaging toxic mortgages into securities, at the culmination of four-year-old US government litigation that has already extracted more than $20bn from other banks.

100-billion-barrel oil discovery sends shares of U.K. firm soaring 200%
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
A bunch of investors in U.K. Oil & Gas Investments PLC UKOG, -15.70% literally hit paydirt on Thursday.

Environmental & Energy

London Brokers Handle No UN Carbon Offsets for First Time
By Alessandro Vitelli – Bloomberg News
Carbon brokers in London handled no United Nations certified emissions offsets in March, the first time volume in the over-the-counter market fell to zero, according to an industry group.

Glencore tweaks export model amid tax scrutiny
Jamie Smyth in Sydney, FT
Glencore says it will stop funnelling sales from its Australian coal operations through Singapore, a move that comes amid growing concern in Canberra about the impact that alleged tax avoidance by multinational mining companies is having on the country’s tax take.

How the Drought Is Changing California Forever
by James Nash, Bloomberg
Cambria, a seaside hamlet of vacation homes and wine bars, offers a glimpse of how far Californians must go to conserve water as the most populous U.S. state struggles through the worst drought in its history.

Europe’s carbon capture dream beset by delays, fears and doubt
By Arthur Neslen – The Guardian
Brevik, a small coastal town two hours west of Oslo, has found itself on the front line of a global battle over a technology that is hailed in some quarters as the solution to climate change, but denigrated in others as a reckless and potentially fatal gamble.


HKFE Announces Revised Margins for Futures Contracts

Broker GF Soars 35% in Hong Kong for Best Debut Since 2011
by Alfred Liu, Bloomberg
Shares of Chinese brokerage GF Securities Co. soared in Hong Kong for the best debut of a major listing in more than three years.

China Tycoons Near $50 Billion in Gains From Stock Frenzy
by Zijing Wu, Bloomberg
Another day, another billion dollars. With Hong Kong stocks surging to a seven-year high, China’s richest tycoons are approaching $50 billion in gains this year.

Frontier Markets

Corporate affairs ministry finalises share swap ratio for proposed NSEL-FTIL merger
By Rajat Arora, Economic Times
The corporate affairs ministry has finalised the share swap ratio for the proposed merger of crisis hit National Spot Exchange (NSEL) with its holding company Financial Technologies (FTIL).

From Satyam to Fintech, India needs more high profile arrests and early confictions
In December 2008, just after the collapse of Lehman brothers, one of India’s largest outsourcers, Satyam, decided to buy a promoter-run listed firm, Maytas Constructions, which was in the business of real estate. Why would an IT company buy a real estate firm? Good question, and this was being asked by everyone just as the stock price kept falling. As institutions got more antsy, Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju came out with startling statement: he had falsified accounts of the company to show higher profits. The cash balances – which would have occurred as a result of high retained profits – were non-existent, with a hole of over Rs 5,000 crore.

Emerging markets grow at slowest pace since 2009 slump
Emerging market economic growth has slipped to its slowest pace since the 2009 slump, new figures suggest, as developing nations struggle with the impact of a stronger US dollar and weaker commodity prices.


Cargill’s 3rd-Quarter Profit Jumps on Meat Sales; Agricultural conglomerate is latest major meatpacker to report rising profits
Cargill Inc.’s quarterly earnings jumped 33% as booming meat profits and low grain prices boosted results at the agricultural conglomerate.

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