First Read


Doug Ashburn – JLN

Have you ever heard of Grace Hopper? Yeah; neither had I until last Friday, when I attended a private screening of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, followed by a panel discussion that included the movie’s director Robin Hauser Reynolds and several tech experts, including Trading Technologies executive (and MarketsWiki Education contributor) Katie Burgoon. The 90-minute documentary explores the shortage of female software engineers in the U.S. and abroad, and what can be done to narrow the gap.

Grace Hopper, by the way, was a Rear Admiral of the U.S. Navy and a pioneer in the nascent world of computer science in the mid-20th Century. She is credited with inventing the first programming language compiler, which changed the computer from a math machine into, well, everything it is today. Her work led to the development of widely-used programming language CoBOL. Plus, she coined the term “debugging” to describe the process of fixing computer glitches, after an episode in 1947 when she had to remove a moth from a relay tube.

One would expect such an inspirational woman to serve as a role model and mentor to legions of female computer scientists, and in those early years, she was. At one point, nearly half of all software engineers were female. Men looked at the future of computers and mistakenly saw the power and prestige in the hardware, those multi-ton monstrosities of tubes, wires and dials.

Read the rest of the commentary at

***DA: Thanks to Drew Mauck and the team at 3Points Communications for including me in this eye-opening event.


Adrienne Seaman, CME Group – Legal Aspects of a Career in Futures

In 2008, Adrienne Seaman was looking for a change, for fear of getting “bored” in her job as a partner in a London law firm. As a lawyer with a degree in computer science, she was particularly well suited to join CME Group as it began its expansion in Europe. Two weeks after she joined, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, and the wheels of regulatory change were set in motion for the entire financial market. Today she has no worries about being bored.

Seaman asks, “who in the business will be worrying about law and regulation?” The answer, of course, is everyone. In this MarketsWiki Education talk, she offers tips not only for the would-be lawyers in the room, but also the 95 percent of people in the room who will not be lawyers, but will invariably need to deal with lawyers and legal issues throughout their professional careers.

Watch the video »

Worldwide Travel Alert
US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

***** As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, a television show from the 1980s, Let’s be careful out there.


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content from:
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Trying To Stop The Next Flash Crash

In the run-up to the CFTC’s move to create new rules for automated trading next week, the Futures Industry Association and its members have engaged in a dialog with the CFTC and developed its own guide, which it published in March. John Lothian News spoke with two of the key contributors to that report to talk about guidelines and what we might see from the US agency next week.
View the Story »

El Niño, La Niña, Volatility and Options
By Erik Norland – CME Group
The current El Niño weather phenomenon could be among the strongest on record and is likely to reach peak intensity between November and January. Then, it rapidly diminishes. The impact on crops and their prices, however, could last a lot longer. Our previous article (El Niño: Corn Cares; Cows & Pigs Care; You Should Care, Too) shows that El Niños can raise crop prices, and their impact on agricultural markets can last one to two years after they started forming along the equator in the Pacific Ocean.

***** CME giving us an update on the El Niño weather phenomenon.


Golden Leaf eyes joint listing as cannabis market grows
Aliya Ram in London – FT
A cannabis company is poised to become the first marijuana producer with a joint listing in Europe and the US as it seeks to take advantage of shifting attitudes to the drug that are spawning a new industry.

***** This has the potential to be the most mindblowing stock split ever.


Proposed Regulations for Drones Are Released
Drones, those remote-controlled flying machines, are expected to top many wish lists this holiday season.

****** Flying high as a kite is not related to the previous story.


Lead Stories

Currency Spoofing Is Said to Be New York’s Latest Target
Keri Geiger – Bloomberg
Subpoenas sent to brokers including TFS-ICAP, Tullett Prebon
Schneiderman probing FX options linked to emerging markets
The New York attorney general is investigating possible manipulation in foreign-exchange trading, according to a person familiar with the matter, aiming more scrutiny at a market already tainted by scandals that have led to billions of dollars in fines.

Kynetix kicks off blockchain commodities consortium
by Elliott Holley – Banking Technology
Post-trade technology company Kynetix has launched a blockchain consortium focused on using distributed ledger technology in commodities markets. The move comes as financial institutions increasingly explore ways to integrate the blockchain concept into mainstream fi

**A big story anytime you get bring together the CME, ICE, LCH and others outside a conference panel.

Eurex Trade Entry Services now available for U.S.-based customers
As of 16 November 2015, Eurex started offering its Trade Entry Services (TES) for customers based in the U.S. Eurex’s TES enable trading participants to enter off-book transactions into the Eurex system, which allows them to benefit from the flexibility of customized trading and the advantages of standardized clearing and settlement through Eurex. Off-book trades can be processed for all Eurex Exchange products approved for trading in the U.S. by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The TES are available, among others, for FX futures, equity index futures, and fixed income futures and options.

Madoff Aides Won’t Face Longer Terms as U.S. Drops Appeal
Erik Larson – Bloomberg
Government had warned the prison sentences were too lenient
Five of swindler’s employees were convicted at trial in 2014
U.S. prosecutors dropped their bid to boost the prison terms for five of Bernard Madoff’s ex-employees, who received “merciful” sentences after being convicted of aiding his $17.5 billion fraud.

How Demographics Rule the Global Economy
By Greg Ip – WSJ
Ever since the global financial crisis, economists have groped for reasons to explain why growth in the U.S. and abroad has repeatedly disappointed, citing everything from fiscal austerity to the euro meltdown. They are now coming to realize that one of the stiffest headwinds is also one of the hardest to overcome:

Yellen Defends Seven Years of Low Interest Rates in Letter to Nader
Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
Says savers would’ve been worse off without easy Fed policy
Fed will go gradually after first rate rise, Yellen says
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, responding to a letter calling for higher interest rates on behalf of savers, said Americans would have been worse off had the central bank not kept rates near zero since 2008, and repeated that she expects to tighten policy “gradually” after liftoff.

FT Explainer: Interpreting Fed funds futures
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
The US rate rise drumbeat grows ever louder, and almost every economist has by now circled December 16 in their diary with bright red ink. But interest rate futures imply there is still a 25 per cent chance that the Federal Reserve will stay on hold. Why the apparent discrepancy?

Fed Official Expects Test for Big Banks to Be Stricter
Every year, the largest banks have to undergo a theoretical test to assess how they might fare in a period of extreme stress in the markets and the economy.
Now, that test may become substantially tougher.

Hong Kong Steps Up Scrutiny of ‘Dark-Pool’ Trading
Securities regulator to implement new rules regulating anonymous trading forums more closely
Hong Kong is joining the list of global regulators to ramp up scrutiny over the anonymous trading forums known as dark pools. On Dec. 1, the city’s securities regulator will implement new rules, announced earlier this year, intended to strengthen its oversight of what it calls “alternative liquidity pools.”


NY probing alleged ‘ghosting’ of forex options – source
By David Ingram – Reuters
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is investigating the posting of false bids and offers in the foreign exchange options market for emerging market currencies, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

***** Also the the NY Times version of this story here

New York Opens Probe Into Currency Manipulation
The New York Attorney General has opened an investigation into possible manipulation of options contracts tied to currencies of developing nations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

New York’s top prosecutor probes brokers over forex spoofing
Gina Chon in Washington and Philip Stafford in London – FT
Four interdealer brokers including an ICAP joint venture and BGC Partners have received subpoenas from the New York attorney-general’s office, which is investigating allegations of manipulative foreign exchange trading, people familiar with the case said.

The Fed’s New Worry: Do Bank and Market Safety Rules Conflict?
The issue relates to so-called the financial market utilities, or FMUs, a set of companies that help the financial system function. The Fed has long overseen the country’s largest banks, and under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, the Fed also gained oversight authority over some of the FMUs that regulators deem “systemically important” — meaning their failure could put the whole financial system at risk.

CFTC study finds lowering swap-dealer cutoff would make little difference
Anjelica Tan, MLex (Subscription Required)
A US Commodity Futures Trading Commission rule that calls for a lowering of the swap-dealer registration threshold will not accomplish its goal of substantially increasing the amount of trading activity subject to regulation, an internal study says.

Sebi, Bangla regulator sign pact over co-operation; MoU seeks to promote economic links, boost investor protection and develop capital markets; Sebi has so far signed MoUs with 21 nations
BS Reporter
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) on co-operation and technical assistance.

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

    • MIAX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change by Miami International Securities Exchange LLC to Amend Exchange Rule 519 (Release No. 34-76491; File No. SR-MIAX-2015-64; November 20, 2015); see also Exhibit 5


    • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Market Order Spread Protection (Release No. 34-76499; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-142; November 20, 2015); see also Exhibit 5


    • NSX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Adopt Rule 2.13, Mandatory Participation in Testing of Backup Systems (Release No. 34-76497; File No. SR-NSX-2015-06; November 20, 2015); see also Exhibit 5


    • OCC: The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Designation of Longer Period for Commission Action on Proposed Rule Change to Modify The Options Clearing Corporations Margin Methodology by Incorporating Variations in Implied Volatility (Release No. 34-76496; File No. SR-OCC-2015-016; November 20, 2015)

Do Bank and Market Safety Rules Conflict?
Federal Reserve officials are wrestling with a nettlesome question raised by their vast post-crisis regulatory powers: Are their strict new rules on bank safety undermining their mission to keep the plumbing of financial markets working smoothly?

Call for Inputs: Big Data in retail general insurance
We are seeking views, supported by examples and evidence where possible, of how Big Data is affecting (and is likely to affect) consumer outcomes and competition in the retail general insurance (GI) sector. We are also seeking views on whether our regulatory framework affects developments in Big Data or unduly constrains innovation in the interest of consumers.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

NSE, BSE near deals to cut stakes in depository arms; NSE has around 25% in NSDL, while BSE’s holding in CDSL is around 54%
Samie Modak – Business Standard
The country’s leading stock exchanges, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the BSE, are in an advanced stage of talks with investors for selling their shareholdings in National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) and Central Depository Services India Ltd (CDSL), respectively.

CBOE Introduces Five New Options-Based Strategy Performance Benchmark Indexes Tied to Russell 2000
Benchmarks Further Expand Investors’ Toolset to Manage Risk, Enhance Yields
Index Values Available Beginning November 23
The Chicago Board Options Exchange® (CBOE®) today announced that it has created five new options-based strategy performance benchmark indexes that focus on options as risk management and yield enhancing investment tools. Index values for the new benchmarks, which are tied to the Russell 2000 Index (RUT), will be available on CBOE’s website and from quote vendors beginning Monday, November 23, 2015.

MGEX Reports Fifth Record Day of the Month
MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives
Clearing Organization (DCO), reports its 15th-best daily volume of all-time from Friday,
finishing the day with 18,855 contracts traded.

Innovative new Market Order with Protection (MOP) allows fast order placement with protection against fills far from your target price
The North American Derivatives Exchange (Nadex) today announced the release of new mobile trading apps for iPhone and Android with major upgrades. The result of extensive study of members’ needs and trading habits, the new mobile apps provide more straight-forward functionality and will allow traders to more easily take advantage of trading opportunities.

London Stock Exchange Group
New digital platform for public companies, intermediaries and institutional investors
ELITE Connect designed to simplify & lower cost of investor relations
Beta testing with selected participants successfully completed
Platform now open to accept new participants worldwide
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) today announces the go-live of ELITE Connect, its new platform for a wide range of market participants including public companies, investor relations professionals, institutional investors and brokers.

Mini-DAX® Futures: considerable liquidity after only 18 days of trading
Since 28 October we offer in parallel to our popular DAX® Futures (FDAX) new Mini-DAX® Futures (FDXM) which have a significantly lower contract value of only EUR 5. After only 18 days of trading the newly listed contracts have generated considerable liquidity.

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

Margin Rates Set for New Stock Futures Contracts
Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited (HKFE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, has set margin rates for new stock futures contracts, which will be introduced on Monday, 30 November 2015.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Boom in Japan leveraged ETFs exposes market risk
Japan’s main exchange-traded fund, the world’s largest, has become so popular with an investment mandate to double returns that it is distorting the Tokyo futures market and exposing stocks to unexpectedly large price swings.

The Oxford Economist Running the Fed’s Interest-Rate Machine; Simon Potter is charged with implementing mechanisms that will raise interest rates when Fed policy makers make that call
When the Federal Reserve finally decides to raise short-term interest rates from near zero, it will be Simon Potter’s job to make it happen.

Warburg Pincus Closes $12 Billion Fund, Its Biggest Since the Crisis
Warburg Pincus closed a $12 billion private equity fund, the largest the firm has conducted since before the financial crisis.

Fund’s Successful Bet on AIG Triggers a Big Tax Bill for Investors; Fairholme Fund expects to pay out between $11 and $11.75 a share in capital gains
A mutual fund that reaped big gains in American International Group Inc. has been selling shares of the insurer, producing a sizable taxable distribution for investors.

The Lingering Effects of the Financial Crisis
Ben Carlson – Ritholtz Wealth Management.
We’re well into the seventh year of an economic and stock market recovery. The economic expansion hasn’t been as robust as many would like and the recovery has been uneven, as some have fared better than others in the aftermath of the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression. But you can’t deny that things are much better than they were during that fateful 2007-2009 period.

Betting on Copper Is a Dangerous Game
Many mining companies thought copper was the commodity of the future. Now it is exposing their attachment to the past. The metal appears destined to sink further unless miners make deeper cuts to production.

Banks & Brokers

Deutsche Bank Co-CEO Cryan Says Bankers Still Paid Too Much
Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
Lender weighs changes to time periods for staff compensation
Cryan says traders generate profits over shorter time period
Deutsche Bank AG co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, almost five months into his revamp of the firm, said bankers still earn too much money and are often promised rewards too quickly.

HBOS shows how bottom-up strategy leads to disaster
Andrew HillAndrew Hill – FT
Boards and executives should not abdicate from making the important choices
HBOS, the UK bank that was one of the biggest casualties of the credit crunch, used a list of traits to rate budding leaders. An executive with “HBOS DNA”, the list said, “believes the unbelievable and conveys to all around a real sense of heroic optimism”.

Clearing & Settlement

DTCC’s ‘data as a service’ offering now live
Top-tier bank is the first to subscribe and go live on new fixed income, government securities division data feeds
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, announces the launch of its Data as a Service (DaaS) offering, the latest solution available through its centralized and dynamic data provisioning service. The newest offering from DTCC Data Products transforms the way data is accessed and presented from DTCC’s clearing, settlement, asset servicing and derivatives trade reporting solutions, providing firms with new insights on trading activities across multiple asset classes.

Bond market seeks repo clearing solution –
US bond dealers and investors have been urging policymakers to address dislocations within fixed income markets in private meetings this month. Focus has centred on the primary market for short-term funding, where cash is often borrowed from investors by banks in exchange for high quality collateral such as Treasury bonds, known as a repurchase, or “repo”, agreement.

Commodities market consortium to explore blockchain for post-trade
Post-trade technology company Kynetix is working with a consortium of industry stakeholders to explore the use of distributed ledgers in handling title ownership and transfer in the commodities market.

Indexes & Products

Pfizer Allergan Merger: Will it Get the Company Removed From the Dow?
Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Allergan confirmed Monday that they have agreed to merge in an inversion deal that will reincorporate the combined firm in Dublin, Ireland, helping the company lower its effective tax rate from 25% to between 17% to 18%. Some experts think Pfizer’s eventual tax rate could be significantly lower.

MOVES-Ray Desai joins FTSE Russell as senior relationship manager in Canada
FTSE Russell, the London Stock Exchange Group-owned index provider, said Ray Desai has been appointed as asset owner senior relationship manager for Canada. Desai was most recently director of buyside mid-market sales at Thomson Reuters Corp.

CLSA appoints S&P DJI to calculate new custom index
Asia Asset Management – The Journal of Investments & Pensions
Index provider S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) has been selected by Asian independent brokerage and investment group Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA) to be the custom calculation agent for its CLSA GARY Index. This is a smart-beta, rules-based index focussed on “Growth At a Reasonable Yield”, or “GARY”. The index is calculated in three different versions: price, total return and net total return.

MSCI Says ‘Ni Hao’ To Alibaba, Baidu, And Others
Seeking Alpha
By adding the U.S.-listed Chinese companies to the China portion of their indices, MSCI is also changing the balance of its current country allocations. This means stocks in other countries such as India, Russia and Brazil must be sold in order to purchase the newly included N-shares.


Dell acknowledges security hole in new laptops
Major U.S. computer company Dell Inc said on Monday a security hole exists in some of its recently shipped laptops that could make it easy for hackers to access users’ private data.

Exchange Data International enhances its Fixed Income ISO 15022 Corporate Actions service.
Exchange Data International
EDI complements its ISO 15022 Corporate Actions offering with additional Fixed Exchange Data International (EDI), a provider of global security corporate actions, pricing and reference data, today announced the full implementation of ISO 15022 messages for its Worldwide Fixed Income offering.

Management transition at Kx Systems Inc.
Kx Systems
First Derivatives plc subsidiary Kx Systems, a leader in high-performance database and time-series analytics, today announces some key management changes. The changes follow a recent board review of First Derivatives’ wider group leadership focussed on delivering strategic priorities, customer benefits and sales and marketing efficiencies.

SIFMA Announces Key Findings of the Quantum Dawn 3 Cybersecurity Exercise
SIFMA Announces Key Findings of the Quantum Dawn 3 Cybersecurity Exercise
SIFMA today published a summary of the key findings derived from its Quantum Dawn 3 cybersecurity exercise held on September 16, 2015. This After-Action Report was developed by Deloitte Advisory Cyber Risk Services. SIFMA engaged Deloitte Advisory to serve as an objective observer of the exercise and assist in identifying key takeaways and recommendations for enhancing the financial services sector’s protocols for responding to a large-scale cyberattack.

Why Big Data Isn’t Necessarily Smart Data
Analytics has become a religion of sort among the savvy and sophisticated in tech and finance — with a central belief that any information is accessible if we just figure out an algorithm to crunch data about it.


Stockbroker Stole Investor Money for Home Renovations
The SEC alleges that Bernard M. Parker raised more than $1.2 million from his longstanding brokerage customers and others who were told they were purchasing legitimate real estate tax lien certificates and would earn returns of six to nine percent annually. However, Parker only used a small amount of investor funds to purchase tax liens and instead used their money to remodel his home in Indiana, Pa., make car payments, and pay bills for his father-in-law.

FCA bans Phillip Harold Boakes and sentence of 10 years upheld
The Court of Appeal has upheld a sentence of 10 years imprisonment imposed on Phillip Harold Boakes following his conviction on 6 March 2015 on charges prosecuted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

ICAI director finds NSEL auditor guilty of misconduct
Business Standard
The Director (Discipline) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the apex body of chartered accountants, has formed a prima facie opinion finding the auditor of National Spot Exchange (NSEL) guilty of professional misconduct. The matter has now been taken up by the institute’s disciplinary committee and an inquiry is scheduled next month.

Environmental & Energy

United Nations: Weather-related disasters cost global economy up to $300bn a year
By Priyanka Mogul – Independent Business Times
Floods, storms, heatwaves and droughts cost the global economy between $250bn ($165bn) and $300bn each year, new research has estimated. The report, released by the United Nations on 23 November, also noted that 90% of major global disasters were caused by weather-related events.

North Dakota ‘man camps’ battle pending ban in oil capital
Providers of temporary housing for North Dakota’s oilfield workers are fighting a plan by the state’s energy capital to evict their “man camps,” fearing it could set an example for others and add to the sector’s woes caused by a global commodity slump.

EU Climate Head Warns International Agreement Far From Certain; 195 governments have to agree unanimously on any deal
Days before negotiations for a global deal to fight climate change kick off in Paris, the European Union’s climate and energy czar warned that an agreement is far from certain.


Masters of the Finance Universe Are Worried About China
Simone Foxman – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs echoes hedge-fund managers’ currency concerns
Hedge funds reduce holdings in U.S.-listed Chinese firms
David Tepper says a yuan devaluation may be coming in China. John Burbank warns that a hard landing there could spark a global recession.

Jack Ma of Alibaba in Talks to Buy Hong Kong Newspaper
The New York Times
Jack Ma, chairman of the Internet giant Alibaba Group, is in talks to buy The South China Morning Post, an influential English-language newspaper based in Hong Kong, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussions.

Hong Kong Steps Up Scrutiny of ‘Dark-Pool’ Trading
Hong Kong is joining the list of global regulators to ramp up scrutiny over the anonymous trading forums known as dark pools. On Dec. 1, the city’s securities regulator will implement new rules, announced earlier this year, intended to strengthen its oversight of what it calls “alternative liquidity pools.”

China lifts brokerage curb in sign of market confidence
In a sign of growing confidence that China’s stock markets are stabilizing, the country’s securities regulator has lifted an order that required brokerages each day to buy more shares than they sell for any proprietary trading. But China’s crackdown on financial markets in the wake of a stock slump in the summer continued as anti-corruption investigators opened probes into two of China’s largest brokerages and censured four insurance executives.

Hong Kong and China a model for Singapore-India partnership?
AsiaOne News
The world’s two fastest-growing economies, India and China, are clearly at different stages of development and that makes for unfair direct economic comparisons. But parallels can be drawn here.

Frontier Markets

‘Vietnam Is A Bright Spot During These Uncertain Times For Emerging Markets’- Peter Sorenson, Managing Director, ABB/MB, Vietnam
Footprint to Africa
Vietnam is home to 90 million people. Vietnam is a bright spot during these uncertain times for emerging markets. The GDP is likely to exceed expectations and grow by 6.5% in 2015. On average people in Vietnam are around 10 years younger than in China so the economy is driven by the young emerging consumer. It is characterized by a high degree of political stability with a hardworking work force. The people are hungry for the goods that create a better life for all of us from mobile phones, to TVs, snacks, milk and fast food.

Sustainability of masala bond market a challenge: Moody’s; $5.5 billion equivalent of masala bonds have already been issued
BS Reporter
Moody’s expect selective issuance by some of the largest Indian NBFCs, government-related issuers and state-owned enterprises over the next 12 months.

The most undervalued investment markets in Asia
Seven years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed. There is no longer a perception of panic. $14 trillion of central bank stimulus has seen to that.

Goldman Sachs Improves Outlook For Emerging Markets: The Gloom Is Over
Seeking Alpha
I am extremely bullish on frontier and emerging markets, which have quite frankly taken a beating in some areas. Filtering between what is good value in emerging markets provides ample potential, and this is achieved both through the selection of superior countries and superior funds or companies in these countries.

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