First Read

Paul-André Jacot; The Story of a Man, an Organization and a Conference
I Will Go To Bürgenstock This Year In Honor of Paul-André

Paul-André Jacot

By John J. Lothian

Paul Meier, the longtime chairman and now honorary chairman of the Swiss Futures and Options Association, has written a tribute to his friend and SFOA colleague, the late Paul-André Jacot, who passed away last week.

The tribute is about Paul-André, but it is also about the SFOA, its history and the Bürgenstock conference. While Paul Andre has left this world for the next, the Bürgenstock Conference still hangs on despite many predictions of its demise.

The SFOA and Bürgenstock are part of my history too. Bürgenstock was my first overseas conference as the writer of this newsletter back in 2004. It was a magical conference, and both Paul-André Jacot and Paul Meier helped make it that way. And Carol Gregoir, the longtime secretary, helped as well.

For the rest of the commentary, click here


Green Key Hires Former ICE Head of US Sales, Ray McKenzie
Green Key Technologies –
Green Key Technologies, provider of voice software designed specifically for traders and brokers, announced today the hiring of Ray McKenzie as Head of North American Sales. McKenzie will focus on the North American expansion of Trader Voice Box, a virtual turret that leverages VoIP and replicates the hoot and ring down functionality of traditional hardware turrets and physical lines but at a fraction of the cost. The Green Key VoIP network now includes over 200 of the world’s largest banks, brokerage firms and trading firms and has steadily grown since the launch of Green Key in Q1 2014.

***** An excellent choice. Ray McKenzie is the real deal.


GlenStar Puts Electricity Into Trading Tech 300
By John J. Lothian

GlenStar Properties held a Boy Scout merit badge workshop in their conference center in the CBOT Building yesterday as part of the Trading Tech 300 program. About 30 scouts from across Chicago and its suburbs worked on either the electricity merit badge or the engineering badge. They also took the search and rescue badge.

I had nine scouts from my troop there and they all had a great time. GlenStar put on just the kind of program I was hoping for: a hands-on merit badge learning experience in the context of the company and what it does. The GlenStar staff was very enthusiastic about the program when I visited with them at lunchtime.

Thank you GlenStar for participating and doing a terrific job! You can’t put a value on the kind of experience and education you gave those boys yesterday. It is invaluable.

We have more companies set up to participate in Trading Tech 300, including CBOE and NFA. Do you want to be part of it? Contact me.


Chris White, ViableMkts – De-Constructing Finance: Simplifying Wall Street

Chris White learned the ins and outs of the markets while at Goldman Sachs, but to do that, he needed to master the financial language. He takes the audience through a fun, interactive word game that helps teach some of the key terms that put you on the path to success. How many terms do you know?

Watch the video »

R.J. O’Brien Goes Live on London Metal Exchange
PR Newswire
Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO), the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, today announced that its London-based affiliate R.J. O’Brien Limited (RJO Limited) has successfully gone live on the London Metal Exchange (LME) following its July 23 approval as a Category 2 clearing member.

***** RJO may be old, but they are also one of the most progressive firms you will find. They get it.


Russian Police Get Tough on Illicit Cheese
One of Russia’s tabloid TV channels began a news bulletin Tuesday with a breathless report about a major “international criminal gang” freshly rolled up in the Moscow region.

***** Amazing! There is always a rat somewhere.


HFT Can be Useful but Extract Tolls from Investors, Univ of Md Professor
Traders News
High-frequency traders are OK – according to a professor at the University of Maryland. Albert “Pete” Kyle, the Charles E. Smith Chair Professor of Finance at the Smith School, University of Maryland said at a recent financial regulation conference in Australia that low-latency traders provide a useful service but rig the system when they extract tolls from investors. “They are like a troll under a bridge who charges travelers something extra when they cross to the other side,” he was quoted as saying in the Brisbane Times.

***DA: Not sure that is a fair analogy, unless one were to say, “There is a charge to cross the bridge, but the alternative is to take the long way around, which has its own costs.”


Lead Stories

CME Futures Draw More Currency Traders Than Ever Amid Bank Fines
Bloomberg Business
CME Group Inc. said its foreign-exchange futures contracts are attracting more traders than ever as investors seek safety in exchanges after banks paid billions of dollars to settle claims of currency manipulation. The number of large participants holding open interest on CME’s currency contracts surged 16 percent from the end of last year to a record 1,007 this month, CME said in a statement. An average 892,000 foreign-exchange contracts changed hands daily on the exchange this year, up 28 percent from last year.

Commodity indexing embraces new methods
Gregory Meyer in New York, FT
It was 2012, and energy executives and policy specialists were excited by the promise of shale gas. From Texas to Pennsylvania, a bonanza was under way.
But inside the downtown Manhattan offices of S&P Dow Jones Indices, record US gas production was causing a problem. Oversupply was filling storage caverns, reducing returns from futures contracts for the product, disrupting an important benchmark used by investors.

Are Wall Street Interns the Latest Regulatory Target?; Bank of NY Mellon pays fine after SEC says firm gave internships to family members of foreign officials
It’s official: Certain interns may be dangerous to a bank’s health.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. on Tuesday agreed to pay $14.8 million to settle civil charges that it violated foreign-bribery laws by giving internships to relatives of officials from a Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth fund.

Currencies lose firepower as trade weapon
Shawn Donnan, World Trade Editor, FT
When China’s central bank last week triggered the two biggest single-day falls in the renminbi since the 1990s, plenty of people were keen to proclaim a resumption of the “currency wars” that have been a feature of the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis.

We borrow too much from the future at our peril
Peter Fisher, FT
Why are central bankers so concerned with liquidity? Is this sympathy for the plight of the hard-working bond trader? It is more likely they wonder if the lofty asset prices they have engineered with quantitative easing can be sustained.

Promontory Financial Settles With New York Regulator
When New York State’s financial regulator challenged the independence of a top Wall Street consultant, the Promontory Financial Group, the firm threatened to sue, vowing to “litigate the matter and defend our firm against this regulatory overreach.”

Citi to Sell Alternative Investor Services Unit to SS&C Technologies; The $425 million deal includes Citigroup’s hedge-fund and private-equity services funds business
SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. said it agreed to acquire Citigroup Inc.’s alternative investor services business for $425 million, one of dozens of businesses the New York bank has moved to shed to make itself less sprawling.

Why New York takes biggest bite of asset pie
John Authers, FT
Tough post-crisis regulation encouraged fund managers to bulk up
Investors have much to learn from academics — and certainly not just from economists. The burgeoning field of behavioural finance shows the use of applying experimental psychology.

Bitcoin Is Having an Identity Crisis; An offshoot threatens to throw development of the digital currency into disarray, but such disorganization comes with the territory of open-source software
Olga Kharif, Bloomberg
Bitcoin was built on the sort of open-source ethos that has driven generations of geeks. But the same principles it celebrates—a decentralized network of contributors, a transparent code base—are allowing competitors to flourish. The bitcoin faithful aren’t so sure that’s a good thing.


CFTC Seeking Public Comment on a Petition by Korea Exchange, Inc. for Exemption from DCO Registration
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) is asking for public comment on a petition by Korea Exchange, Inc. for exemption from registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO).

SEC Names Shamoil T. Shipchandler as Regional Director of Fort Worth Office
Mr. Shipchandler is presently a partner in the law offices of Bracewell & Guiliani LLP in Dallas, where he has focused on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and compliance, and related civil litigation in matters involving cybersecurity, public corruption, insider trading, and other statutory and regulatory matters. Before joining Bracewell, Mr. Shipchandler spent almost 10 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, where he held positions of increasing authority ending as Deputy Criminal Chief.

Statement By Acting New York Superintendent Of Financial Services Anthony J. Albanese On Agreement With Promontory Financial Group, LLC
Anthony J. Albanese, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services for the State of New York, issued the following statement today on an agreement between the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and Promontory Financial Group, LLC. The agreement resolves the conduct outlined in the Department’s August 3, 2015 report on its investigation of Promontory’s consulting work at Standard Chartered Bank.

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

    • BATS: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 11.22 to Describe the Market Data Product BZX Book Viewer (Release No. 34-75711; File No. SR-BATS-2015-62; August 17, 2015); see also Exhibit 5


    • BYX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 11.22 to Describe the Market Data Product BYX Book Viewer (Release No. 34-75717; File No. SR-BYX-2015-35); see also Exhibit 5


    • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Verifiable Disruption or Malfunction of Exchange Systems (Release No. 34-75715; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-100; August 17, 2015)


    • NASDAQ OMX BX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Verifiable Disruption or Malfunction of Exchange Systems (Release No. 34-75716; File No. SR-BX-2015-052; August 17, 2015)


    • NYSE Arca: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the NYSE Arca Equities Schedule of Fees and Charges for Exchange Services to Modify the Credits the Exchange Provides for Routing Certain Orders to the New York Stock Exchange LLC (Release No. 34-75722; File No. SR-NYSEArca-2015-70); see also Exhibit 5

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

GMEX Group subsidiary GDI announces Index Oversight Committee
Independent committee is part of ongoing commitment to fair and orderly markets
The Board of Global Derivatives Indices Limited (GDI), the index and product development arm of GMEX Group, has established an Index Oversight Committee in order to oversee the compilation methodology and production of indices published by GDI. The Committee has complete autonomy independent of the day to day activities of GMEX Group.

Four Indexes Designed to Track Performance of Hedge Funds Using Volatility-Based Investment Strategies
Chicago Board Options Exchange today announced it has launched four new benchmark indexes in collaboration with Eurekahedge, a Singapore-based hedge fund research and data collection company, that measure the performance of hedge funds that employ volatility-based investment strategies. Values for the new indexes will be available on CBOE’s and Eurekahedge’s websites beginning August 18.

SIX Swiss Exchange Statistics July 2015: Slightly Below Previous Month
The statistical monthly report contains the latest trade and turnover figures for SIX Swiss Exchange.

Euro Fixed Income Futures: Definition of reporting and positioning limits for September 2015
The reporting and position limits for the September 2015 contracts in the Euro Fixed Income Futures were set as follows

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Approaching the acceptance phase of liquidity’s repricing
David Keohane, FT
Do remember that, generally, many people are worried about people being worried about bond market liquidity.

Glencore shares hit low as profits plunge
Neil Hume and David Sheppard, FT
Glencore’s shares fell by as much as 9 per cent on Wednesday morning, to a new record low, after the mining and trading house revealed that collapsing commodity prices had slashed its profits — putting its investment grade credit rating under threat.

Mario Gabelli: Stock-Picking Treasure or Relic?; Investor topped Wall Street CEO pay in 2014 by staying true to Gamco’s model of choosing investments amid the rise of passive funds
Has Wall Street left its $89 million man behind? Mario Gabelli, a billionaire money manager, spends most nights and weekends reading earnings-call transcripts and sometimes takes years getting to know a company’s executives before he decides whether to invest. He charges higher fees than most of his peers and makes more money than all of them.

One of the Most Successful Trading Strategies This Year May Be Coming to an End
Inyoung Hwang, Bloomberg
Investors who’ve been minting money according to the Wall Street adage that the trend is your friend just got a reminder that nothing works forever.

Oil Cash Slump Triggers New Risks at World’s Biggest Wealth Fund
Saleha Mohsin, Manus Cranny, Bloomberg
The sudden slowdown in capital flows into the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund will add to risks and make it more costly to adjust its strategy, its chief executive officer said.

Banks & Brokers

Rothschild cuts London fixed income team
By Giles Turner, Financial News
Edmond de Rothschild Group, the family-owned European banking group, has shed its bond trading team in London, another sign of the increasingly tough times for fixed-income traders.

Instinet gets green light for research payment accounts |
The Trade News
Instinet has received regulatory approval to become a payment institution (PI), meaning it can offer clients solutions to unbundle their execution and research payments. The agency broker confirmed it has been approved as a PI by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning it can offer segregated cash management and payment service solutions to clients who wish to operate a hard dollar research payment account.

BoFA’s CEO Faces a Stress Test of his Own From Impatient Investors
Hugh Son, Bloomberg
When Bank of America Corp. shareholders gather next month to decide if Brian Moynihan can keep his chairman title, they won’t be the only ones about to weigh in on his career.

UBS Announces Successful Completion Of SESTA Procedure And Expected Date Of Payment Of Supplementary Dividend
Following the successful completion of the 2014 exchange offer by UBS Group AG to acquire all issued shares of UBS AG, UBS Group AG filed a request with the Commercial Court of the Canton of Zurich on 9 March 2015 for a procedure under article 33 of the Swiss Stock Exchange Act (the “SESTA Procedure”), pursuant to which all UBS AG shares that remain publicly held will be cancelled and UBS Group AG shares will be delivered as compensation.

Citigroup to return $4.5 million more in fee overcharges
Citigroup Global Markets Inc (CGMI), a unit of Citigroup Inc, has agreed with the New York attorney general to return $4.5 million in account management fees charged on some 15,000 frozen accounts.

Charles Schwab executive James McCool leaves products post
Charles Schwab Corp said that James McCool, head of its client solutions group, will focus on corporate strategic initiatives, effective immediately, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Principal Financial Promotes Operations Chief to CEO; Outgoing chief executive Larry Zimpleman will remain executive chairman
Principal Financial Group Inc., a provider of insurance and retirement plans, on Wednesday promoted operations chief Daniel J. Houston to chief executive.

Clearing & Settlement

CFTC Issues Order of Exemption from Registration as a Derivatives Clearing Organization to ASX Clear (Futures) Pty Limited
First Order of its Kind Issued by the Commission
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) today issued an order of exemption from registration as a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) to ASX Clear (Futures) Pty Limited (ASX). The order is the first issued by the Commission based on its authority under Section 5b(h) of the Commodity Exchange Act.

Uncompetitive clearing market could trigger ‘unmanageable’ risks
Lack of competition within the clearing market could expose pension funds to unmanageable risks and higher than necessary costs, according to PensionsEurope.

Four More Carriers Sign With DTCC Producer Management Portal
Insurance News Net
Transamerica, New York Life, Great American and Prudential have signed on to a producer management portal offered by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC). The automated platform offers insurers a centralized database for the annuities industry to track, share and verify producer training completions.

Fintech 40: We’ve seen the future and it’s blockchain
Financial News
Blockchain, the technology behind the bitcoin electronic currency, may not have the best resume but big things are expected of it by the Fintech 40, the people identified by FN in June as the most influential in European fintech. That is a big change from September 2014. Then an FN poll of fintech names showed that “big data”, using computers to extract useful intelligence from vast databases, was seen as more promising. Blockchain came second, with its fans largely venture capitalists rather than executives in finance.

Indexes & Products

How the S&P and Nasdaq are just like college football
The Big Ten conference in college sports has 14 teams. Not 10. The Big 12 conference has 10. Not 12. As such, if some of the most prestigious colleges that play America’s most popular sport can’t figure out how to correctly count and name themselves, then why should the most famous stock indexes in the world’s largest marketplace do so either?

Got China? Two big emerging market ETFs diverge on their exposure
The two leading exchange-traded funds focusing on emerging markets have very different exposure to now-vulnerable Chinese stocks and will probably diverge further, a new analysis by S&P Capital IQ shows.

Timing Gold Is A Fool’s Errand
S&P Dow Jones Indices
“I don’t agree with you Jodie….Gold is in a bear market….too early to put some money in the yellow metal….” is a comment from the article recently posted by the Economic Times asking the question, “Where do you see the gold prices making a bottom as every fundamental turns unfavorable for gold?” We love your comments expressing your opinions about where the market is and where it’s going, just as much as we love to share the history lessons told through our indices.

S&P 500 May Hit Another Record for Buybacks This Year
The companies in the S&P 500 are poised to spend more than $1 trillion on buybacks and dividends in 2015, shattering the record set last year, according to a new report.

Eurex Exchange’s MSCI news – August 2015
July 2015 saw the highest proportion ever of order book-trades for Eurex Exchange MSCI derivatives. See below for the most important facts on volumes, open interest and other developments.


Eze Software Rolls Out Mobile App On iPhone 6
Eze Software Group, a premier provider of global investment technology, has enhanced its mobile offerings with the release of Eze Mobile for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The app gives users of the Eze Software OMS access to critical compliance, trading and portfolio management functionality on the go. The functionality is already available for iPad and other mobile devices.

Google launches Wi-Fi router for home use
Google Inc launched a Wi-Fi router on Tuesday, the latest move in the company’s efforts to get ready for the connected home and draw more users to its services.

Ad Blocking Ails the Internet
If an advertisement shows up online and nobody is there to see it, is it worth anything? The answer is clearly no—posing a growing problem for much of the ad-supported Internet.

WiFi provider Smart City fined for blocking access to internet
David Crow in New York, FT
It is a common complaint among business travellers who regularly attend conferences. As if spending your days wandering the dim corridors of soulless convention centres was not bad enough, the cost of accessing a WiFi connection can run to almost $100 per day.


SEC Charges BNY Mellon With FCPA Violations
An SEC investigation found that BNY Mellon did not evaluate or hire the family members through its existing, highly competitive internship programs that have stringent hiring standards and require a minimum grade point average and multiple interviews. The family members did not meet the rigorous criteria yet were hired with the knowledge and approval of senior BNY Mellon employees in order to corruptly influence foreign officials and win or retain contracts to manage and service the assets of the sovereign wealth fund.

BNY Mellon to pay $14.8 mln to settle U.S. SEC bribery charges
Bank of New York Mellon Corp will pay $14.8 million to settle charges it violated federal bribery laws by providing student internships to family members of government officials affiliated with a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund, U.S. regulators said.

J.P. Morgan Expected to Settle With SEC on Investment-Steering Case; Settlement could be announced in coming weeks
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is in advanced talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay more than $150 million to resolve allegations it inappropriately steered private-banking clients to its own investment products without proper disclosures, people familiar with the matter said.

Promontory settles over StanChart probe
Barney Jopson in Washington, FT
Promontory, an influential financial consulting group, has admitted that its actions fell short of New York state standards when it investigated possible sanctions violations by the UK bank Standard Chartered.

Environmental & Energy

Norway oil fund suffers first loss for 3 years
Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent, FT
Norway’s $870bn oil fund suffered its first negative return in three years as weak equity and bond markets weighed on the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

Canada’s carbon moment has arrived
The Globe and Mail
As Canadians prepare to vote in an upcoming federal election, it’s time to reassess the country’s economic prospects, once touted as the strong suit of Stephen Harper’s government. For almost a decade, Canadians have been told massive expansion of Alberta’s oil sands would be the engine of economic growth as the country rode a wave of soaring oil prices during the government’s early years. Some question the wisdom of building an economy on the foundation of a single resource. And the Prime Minister’s strategy of making Canada an oil-based energy superpower has led instead to a made-in-Canada recession, with a dramatic implosion in capital spending in the country’s oil patch.

Climate philanthropist George Soros invests millions in coal
The Guardian
Billionaire climate philanthropist George Soros invested more than $2m (£1.3m) in struggling coal giants Peabody Energy and Arch Coal in recent months, despite having once called the fuel “lethal” to the climate. Filings with the Securities and Exchange commission show that between April and June this year Soros Fund Management (SFM) bought more than 1m shares in Peabody ($2.25m), the world’s largest private coal company, and 500,000 shares in Arch ($188,000).


Chinese stocks go on wild ride as economic gloom deepens
Chinese stock markets took a wild ride on Wednesday, tumbling and soaring in a session that made little sense other than to highlight that investors have almost no faith in a month-long government effort to stabilize them.

Chinese slowdown sends ripples across Asian banks
Asian lenders are seeing their loan books rapidly deteriorate across the region as China’s slowing economy dampens trade and hurts companies that had borrowed heavily from the banks.

A currency skirmish that was not made in China
Henny Sender, FT
There was a time when young beggars in the countryside outside Jakarta shunned dollars in favour of Japanese yen. Potential customers in Indonesia, meanwhile, shunned Japanese imports because they were so expensive. If your prosperity depends on finding foreign markets for its products, a strong currency is a curse.

Frontier Markets

FTIL changes its name to ’63 Moons Technologies’; Name is based on the fact that the planet Jupiter has 63 moons
Business Standard
Financial Technologies (India) Ltd (FTIL), the parent company of the scam hit National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), has changed its name to “63 Moons Technologies Ltd”.

Top 5 up and coming overseas destinations for UK contractors
Contractor UK
Aside from the ‘hottest’ overseas working destinations like the USA, Germany and France, there are a number of economies that go under the radar when UK contractors explore contracting overseas, writes Michelle Reilly, managing director of CXC Global. And they shouldn’t do. Because these frontier; emerging markets are actually creating exciting and potentially lucrative opportunities for contractors across a range of industries. But where are they located and what should contractors be aware of when operating in them?


Internships: to pay or not to pay?
For young people trying to get a foot on the career ladder, internships offer valuable experience. But lawsuits are mounting that claim the often unpaid positions violate U.S. labor laws, prompting experts to call for changes.

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