First Read

Chicago Board Options Exchange: Back to the Futures
Spencer Doar – JLN

Yesterday was the CBOE‘s annual press luncheon — a chance to hear from the horse’s mouth what has been going on in the stable. The key takeaway from CEO Edward Tilly and President/COO Edward Provost was the development of their next generation trade engine, CBOE Vector.

Vector has been in the works for two years and and is ready to be rolled out, beginning in Q3 of 2016 for products listed on the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE). The current system, CBOEdirect, traces its roots back to 2001, with architecture that has been retrofitted with new bells and whistles and essentially shoehorned into a futures platform. With the demand for hedging via VIX futures growing steadily since their inception in 2004, it makes sense that the CBOE would implement Vector at the CFE first and then develop it for the options mothership(s). According to the C-levels though, Vector will definitely not see the light of the options exchanges in 2016 and 2017 is very much in doubt.

Which is not to say that somehow speeding up their equity options engines is not a priority, but rather that they can afford to wait slightly longer to see Vector’s “thinner architecture” and expected round trip order time of less than 25 microseconds.

Read the rest of the commentary at JohnLothianNews.com

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STAC Tackles Volatility, Social Media and Blockchain
Sarah Rudolph, JLN

The Security Traders Association of Chicago holds its Midwinter Meeting this week at the Hilton, bringing in industry participants from a variety of warmer climes than Chicago. Day one covered such seemingly disparate issues as volatility and volatility products, social media for traders, and Bitcoin/Blockchain technology.

Some highlights from the panel called “Volatility: Shaken Up with New Products and Less Risk”, moderated by the CBOE’s Matt Moran, included:

    • If you look at skew worldwide, it is highest in the U.S. One reason for this, according to Joe Aiken from Malachite Capital Management, is that most S&P option activity is in hedging. In the U.S., buying puts on the S&P 500 is the most efficient hedge, but in Asia, for example, options activity comes mostly from retail customers, who sell put options to generate yield. The hedging activity in the US makes the skew steeper.
    • With the success of the VIX and VVIX, more and more exchanges are launching volatility indexes, with the main driver being futures on these indexes, said Andrew Curto of Sumo Capital. The VIX has been the most successful, because of its design and the market it covers.
    • Asian and European markets have need for a volatility index, but unfortunately most international indexes are not taking off because of liquidity concerns, according to Dominic Salvino of Group Despite extended hours in volatility products, the best thing to trade on a Sunday night is the S&P500 futures.

To read the rest of the article, visit JohnLothianNews

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Yesterday’s Top Three
We had a two-way tie for the top-clicked story yesterday between Former LSE executive launches U.S. retail brokerage Ustocktrade from Reuters and JPM looks to pull the plug on Bloomberg terminals from the NY Post. Third prize goes to the WSJ piece Snapchat 101. Perfect timing; for more on social media in the market, see Sarah’s piece above.

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CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee to Meet on January 26, 2016
CFTC
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced that on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, from 9:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) will hold a public meeting at the CFTC’s Washington, DC headquarters.
1.usa.gov/1SjZbPm

***** Jim Kharouf and I will be in Washington, DC on Monday, January 25 and there for the TAC meeting on January 26.

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National Futures Association: Bylaw Amendments Regarding Electronic Voting, Other Technical Amendments, Formalizing the IB and Swap Participant Advisory Committees, and Repeal of Bylaw 503 regarding Removal of Directors
NFA
Letter to CFTC
bit.ly/1OQUDxj

***** They had me at “Repeal of Bylaw 503 regarding Removal of Directors”

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Financial Flows in the Physical Space
Cinnober
Cinnober, with its innovative Labs-facility, will be one of the organizers behind an upcoming Makeathon event that begins on January 18. The two-week Makeathon Challenge will take place in the Swedish university town of Umeå. The Makeathon is arranged together with Sliperiet, an open, interdisciplinary innovation space for collaboration and innovation at Umeå University and Uminova eXpression, the incubator for the culture and creative industry.
bit.ly/1PZUabn

****** A Makeathon is not to be confused with a Make-Out-Athon.

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Alan Rickman dies of cancer aged 69: latest
The Telegraph
Alan Rickman, the British actor who played Severus Snape in Harry Potter and villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard has passed away
bit.ly/1mXZhit

***** A part of my children’s childhood just passed into history and my daughter’s signed Harry Potter poster, obtained at an IDX Gala auction a few years back, has just became more valuable.

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2016 FINRA Diversity Summit
FINRA
Creating Opportunities Through Diversity: Opening Doors to Success
April 6, 2016, 8:00 a.m. ­ – 4:30 p.m., New York, NY (Midtown)
Register now
FINRA’s Diversity Summit provides a forum for business leaders, diversity practitioners and human resource professionals in the financial services industry to explore a variety of corporate practices, strategies and outreach efforts intended to leverage the benefits of building sustainable diversity and inclusion programs.
bit.ly/1ZmtmV5

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Christian Nentwich, Duco – Selling Change to Giants
MarketsWikiEducation.com

“Many technology companies never make it over the first hurdle. They get so fixated on their technological achievement that they never find a business problem to solve.”

The financial marketplace is in the midst of a technology-led revolution, as innovation and digital advances replace slow and inefficient systems and procedures with newer, faster, simpler and often more scalable ones. Christian Nentwich, founder of tech startup Duco, is a member of this new breed of market disruptors. But as he has learned, there are many, many facets that must come together between an idea, its implementation and, more importantly, monetization of that idea. He shares the lessons he learned along the way, many of which were learned “the hard way.”

Watch the video »
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Lead Stories

Discount Retailer Overstock Has New Target: Upending Wall Street
By Matthew Leising, Bloomberg
Overstock.com Inc., which is aiming to radically change how stocks and bonds are bought and sold, is close to unveiling the first securities-trading system using the blockchain technology that makes bitcoin possible.
The company, best known as a discount retailer, will issue a digital version of its own stock that can then be traded on Pro Securities LLC, an alternative trading system Overstock invested in in 2014, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Byrne said in an interview. Because it’s bypassing traditional exchanges like the Nasdaq Stock Market and New York Stock Exchange, the trades will clear nearly instantaneously instead of taking several days.
(Via Email)
***DA: Hot off the digital presses, so no link was available at publication time. But wow.

Goldman Sachs throws support behind IEX exchange application
BY JOHN MCCRANK – Reuters
Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) has thrown its support behind upstart trading venue IEX Group’s bid to become a U.S. stock exchange, asking regulators to use the opportunity to address broader issues related to how the market is structured.
reut.rs/1mXVBgz

European Dark Pools Expand in Face of Rules Limiting Their Use
John Detrixhe – Bloomberg
Dark trading increased 45%, while public trading rose 28%; Caps on European dark pools may be delayed until 2018
Stock trading grew faster in European dark pools last year than it did on public exchanges, signaling that a regulatory campaign to clamp down on the practice is struggling to change behavior.
bloom.bg/1Rnqbgw

Investors Snub Money Managers for Market Clones; Passively managed U.S. funds attracted $413.8 billion last year, highlighting shift in investors’ taste
By SARAH KROUSE and CORRIE DRIEBUSCH – WSJ
More investors are losing faith in old-school money managers as financial markets sputter.
on.wsj.com/1OsJijB

SIFMA AMG Recommends Improvements to the SEC Proposed Liquidity Management Rules for Mutual Funds and ETFs
SIFMA
SIFMA Asset Management Group Recommends Improvements to the SEC Proposed Liquidity Management Rules for Mutual Funds and ETFs
SIFMA’s Asset Management Group (SIFMA AMG) today submitted comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the SEC’s proposed liquidity management rules for open-end funds, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). SIFMA AMG submitted two comment letters: one focused on the SEC’s proposed requirements for liquidity risk management programs, and one focused on the SEC proposal to permit swing pricing on an optional basis.
bit.ly/1PcZS6o

Not Too Big to Fail. Too Expensive to Exist; Indirect pressure from regulators has been one factor behind a breakup for some financial firms
By RYAN TRACY, CHRISTINA REXRODE and EMILY GLAZER – WSJ
Forget too-big-to-fail. The operative question for the country’s largest financial firms is increasingly whether the government has made it too expensive to be big.
on.wsj.com/201VMpM

Goldman Says It Supports IEX, but Raises Market Structure Issues
By LIZ MOYER – NY Times
Goldman Sachs told the Securities and Exchange Commission in a letter dated Tuesday that it supported a proposed new stock exchange, but also pointed out that one exchange should not have an unfair advantage over another in its control of market data.
nyti.ms/1nkNWt5

The Woman Shaping Iran’s Oil Future; Can Elham Hassanzadeh get Iran’s oil flowing again?
Peter Waldman – Bloomberg
At Monsoon, a bistro in Tehran that serves sushi, Szechwan beef, and Gouda and calamari on whole wheat toast, the fusion cuisine is an act of defiance. So are the women’s fashions—tight robes, exposed calves, headscarves that barely conceal blond and henna-colored hairstyles. The restaurant, with its rough concrete walls, red countertops, and statues of Hindu and Buddhist goddesses, looks more Manhattan than Islamic Republic. Seated at a corner table is Elham Hassanzadeh, almost 6 feet tall, with dark eyes, thick eyebrows, and lush brown hair that overflows her hijab. Her dining companions are the middle-aged bosses of two large Iranian engineering and construction companies.
bloom.bg/1N9cLgC

Why Banks Should Stop Stars Dodging Bonus Rules; U.K. regulators want to stop bonus buy-outs from undermining post-crisis rules on pay.
By PAUL J. DAVIES – WSJ
There is something suspect about people who change jobs too frequently—but some senior bankers have become more worried about this in the past year or two.
on.wsj.com/1OQW5ju

Ex-Barclays Forex `Cartel’ Trader Ashton Loses Identity Case
Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Chris Ashton wasn’t improperly identified in FCA settlements
Judgment marks first win for FCA on identification issue
Former Barclays Plc currency trader Chris Ashton lost a complaint over whether he had been improperly identified in settlements related to the foreign-exchange scandal, handing the U.K. financial regulator its first win in a series of disputes over the issue.
bloom.bg/1Zl1C36

Trial Date Is Set for Six Accused of Rigging Benchmark Interest Rate
By CHAD BRAY – NY Times
Six current and former employees of Barclays and Deutsche Bank are to go on trial next year on criminal charges that they conspired to manipulate a global benchmark interest rate, a British court decided on Wednesday.
nyti.ms/1OjXv4q

Regulatory

Banks Face Stiffer Capital Rules for Market Risk in Basel Revamp
Bloomberg Business
Banks face tougher capital requirements on swaps, bonds and other securities that they intend to trade, as global regulators tighten market-risk rules for the second time since the financial crisis. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, whose members include the U.S. Federal Reserve and the People’s Bank of China, said updated rules published on Thursday will result in a weighted mean increase of about 40 percent in trading-book capital charges.
bloom.bg/1l9LqEx

SEC Adopts Rules Implementing FAST Act Provisions
SEC.gov
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it approved interim final rules implementing two provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, adopted by Congress in December, that revise financial reporting forms for emerging growth companies and smaller reporting companies.
1.usa.gov/1J4aDvv

US SEC reviews high-yield funds following Third Ave blowup
BY SARAH N. LYNCH
U.S. securities regulators launched a review of potential liquidity risks posed by high-yield bond fund managers in the aftermath of the collapse of Third Avenue’s junk bond fund in December, according to a document seen by Reuters and people familiar with the matter.
reut.rs/1TXom7Z

SEC Examining High-Yield Fund Holdings After Third Avenue Tumult; Regulators ask for greater details on holdings, data on investor redemptions
By ANDREW ACKERMAN and SARAH KROUSE – WSJ
U.S. securities regulators are asking junk-bond funds for more information about their assets and shareholder requests to withdraw money following last month’s meltdown of a Third Avenue Management LLC high-yield fund, according to people familiar with the matter.
on.wsj.com/1J4NoBI

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

    • BATS: Notice of Designation of Longer Period for Commission Action on a Proposed Rule Change to Adopt Rule 11.27 Regarding the Data Collection Requirements of the Tick Size Pilot Program (Release No. 34-76891; File No. SR-BATS-2015-102)
    • BATS: Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change to Rule 14.11(i), Managed Fund Shares, to List and Trade Shares of the REX VolMAX Long VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF and the REX VolMAXX Inverse VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF of the Exchange Traded Concepts Trust (Release No. 34-76884; File No. SR-BATS-2015-124)
    • CBOE: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 8.3 Relating to Appointment Costs (Release No. 34-76895; File No. SR-CBOE-2015-121)
    • CBOE: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to COPS (Release No. 34-76888; File No. SR-CBOE-2015-122)
    • DTC: The Depository Trust Company; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change Regarding the Acknowledgment of End-of-Day Net-Net Settlement Balances by Settling Banks (Release No. 34-76887; File No. SR-DTC-2015-011)
    • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Chapter XV, entitled Options Pricing (Release No. 34-76886; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-166)
    • NYSE Arca: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Market Data Fees for the NYSE Arca Options Product (Release No. 34-76890; File No. SR-NYSEArca-2015-130); see also Exhibit 5
    • NYSEMKT: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Market Data Fees for the NYSE Amex Options Product (Release No. 34-76889; File No. SR-NYSEMKT-2015-113); see also Exhibit 5

jlne.ws/1JoVeWA

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Nasdaq Launches New, Innovative Investor Relations Platform, Nasdaq IR Insight
NASDAQ.com
Nasdaq, has officially launched Nasdaq IR Insight, a platform designed specifically for financial executives, especially investor relations officers (IROs) around the globe. The platform was built through an iterative process of collaboration with clients from the corporate finance suite in order to create an integrated, contextualized view of those activities in an intuitive user interface. Nasdaq IR Insight is being offered by Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, a subsidiary of Nasdaq Inc.
bit.ly/1l9Ldkv

Nodal eyes third quarter for options launch
Alice Attwood – Futures & Options World
US-based energy market the Nodal Exchange plans to launch its first power and natural gas options contracts in the third quarter of this year, chief executive Paul Cusenza told FOW.
“We have already begun development work on the new contracts – which has been driven in part by client demand – as well as a desire of the business to meet broader member requirements. By adding options we can expand the attractiveness of Nodal as an exchange and clearing offering to a broader set of traders in the pool of potential participants,” said Cusenza.
The firm also plans to add further locations on some of its futures contracts, as well as expanding its systems and operations team, said the CEO.
bit.ly/1ZkGk5P

Borsa Istanbul Elected As “Turkey’s Most Successful Institution In Economy”
Mondovisioe
Borsa Istanbul was elected as “Turkey’s Most Successful Institution in Economy” in the “Most Successful Institutions of 2015 Research” conducted by Akademetre. Borsa Istanbul stands out with the BISTECH project and EBRD partnership realized in 2015 while leading Istanbul to become a regional and global leader.
bit.ly/1KfdNI3

BSE to begin price reasonability check in equity derivatives
Economic Times
To strengthen its pre-trade risk management framework, top bourse BSE has decided to introduce price reasonability check (PRC) for equity derivative segment as well as currency options from January 18.
bit.ly/1ZkHLBg

NSEL recovers Rs 1,233 crore from 23 traders
Economic Times
The crisis-hit National Spot Exchange (NSEL) has claimed that it has secured recoveries worth Rs 1,233.02 crore from 23 defaulters who owe a total amount of Rs 4,515.93 crore.
bit.ly/1SjZrO4

Politics

One Way Bernie Sanders Thinks He Could Stave Off Another Financial Crisis; He wants to end a conflict of interest in how debt is rated.
Ben Walsh – Huffington Post
When you’re running for president on a platform of universal health care, free college and breaking up the big banks, pretty much everything else seems small bore.
huff.to/1OQaSLk

Hillary Clinton’s Shadowy History With Shadow Banking; She was against it, before she was for it, before she didn’t vote on it.
Zach Carter – Huffington Post
With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) showing renewed strength in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has spent much of January attempting to make inroads with progressive voters enamored with her rival’s Wall Street policies. Sure, Sanders talks tough on big banks, Clinton and her allies have alleged, but he’s soft on “shadow banking” — a complex, risky sector of the economy.
huff.to/1ZxbSeb

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Banks’ Bleak Backdrop Could Be Their Saving Grace; Investor pessimism about banks will be tested by J.P. Morgan Chase’s fourth-quarter results
By JOHN CARNEY – WSJ
It has been a chilly new year for banks. Shares of many have been hammered in recent weeks. The KBW Nasdaq Bank index is off by nearly 20% since its most recent peak of the past year. Shares of all 10 of the biggest U.S. banks have fallen by more than 5% in January alone.
on.wsj.com/1J4OIEx

Investors retreat from hedge funds after tough December: SS&C
Reuters
Investors pulled money out from hedge funds in January following a poor performance across the industry in December, data from hedge fund administrator SS&C GlobeOp showed.
reut.rs/1RP4OU6

Commodities slide triggers ‘freight recession’ on US rails
Gregory Meyer in New York – FT
Slowdown arrives across the western US farm belt
On the railways criss-crossing the western US farm belt, grain trains are so abundant you can’t give one away.
on.ft.com/1mXUJbN

Banks & Brokers

Morgan Stanley allowed its staff to use Airbnb after a bunch of young employees asked
By Portia Crowe – Business Insider
Airbnb just won some business with Morgan Stanley. On Monday, the global investment bank told its staff it would allow all employees to use Airbnb Business Travel for work-related travel as part of its corporate travel policy, according to people familiar with the matter.
yhoo.it/1RGyyEx

Bonuses May Be Clawed Back After U.K. Bankers Move, BOE Says
John Glover – Bloomberg
Proposal aims to strengthen link between bonuses and safety
New employers can ask for waiver if clawback is unjustified
U.K. bankers may lose part or all of their bonuses even after they switch firms if they are responsible for losses at their previous employer, according to a Bank of England proposal.
bloom.bg/1l9zAKt

Ex-Barclays, Citi FX traders sue for unfair dismissal in London
Reuters
Two former foreign exchange traders will this month sue their former employers Barclays and Citigroup for unfair dismissal at a London court.
reut.rs/1J4ODkp

Wall Street rainmaker Michael Klein no longer a one-man show
BY OLIVIA ORAN – Reuters
Star dealmaker and former Citigroup Inc executive Michael Klein, the lead adviser to Dow Chemical Co on its $130 billion merger with DuPont, has quietly tripled the size of his advisory firm in the last 18 months.
reut.rs/1PZUoz3

Goldman Plans to Cut Up to 10% of Fixed-Income Traders, Salespeople; Cuts in debt, currencies and commodities could affect up to 250 people
By JUSTIN BAER – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is planning to cut up to 10% of its fixed-income traders and salespeople later this quarter, a steeper-than-usual pruning of the firm’s least-productive employees, according to people familiar with the matter.
on.wsj.com/1OQV62H

JPMorgan names Marc Pandraud chairman of investment banking for France and Belgium – memo
Reuters
Wall Street bank JPMorgan has hired Marc Pandraud from Deutsche Bank as chairman of investment banking for France and Belgium, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.
reut.rs/1l9vK3T

BAML names investment banking co-head for Asia
ByAlec Macfarlane – Financial News
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has appointed a co-head to help lead its corporate and investment banking activities in the Asia Pacific region.
bit.ly/1n1Bhvf

Banks should not fixate on double-digit returns
Daniel Davies – FT
It is not the done thing for management teams to talk back to investors at meeting, which is a pity. When someone has reached the top of their profession and inspired the loyalty of thousands of employees, it is never especially edifying to see them cringing and taking notes while a junior hedge fund analyst tells them where they are going wrong.
on.ft.com/1ZwYlDj

BNP Paribas to outsource Asian equities trading to Instinet
Martin Arnold in London – FT
France’s BNP Paribas has become the latest western investment bank to pull back from Asia by agreeing to outsource its equities trading operations in the region to Instinet, the electronic brokerage.
on.ft.com/1RP18lb

J.P. Morgan’s Earnings and Revenue Rise, Beating Expectations; The New York firm kicks off earnings season for big U.S. banks
By EMILY GLAZER – WSJ
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said its fourth-quarter profit beat expectations thanks in part to cost-cutting and higher earnings within its investment banking division.
on.wsj.com/1Waw14l

Clearing & Settlement

Isda to give buyside bigger say
Financial News
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association said it is to increase the size of its board of directors from 26 to 30 people, following elections to be held in the first quarter of 2016.Isda’s board is dominated by the dealers – the big banks who have traditionally controlled the OTC market. But buyside firms have made inroads in recent years, with UniCredit, DE Shaw and Pimco holding seats.
bit.ly/1l9JLyz

Fed Hires IBM to Modernize ACH Amid Push for Faster Payments
PaymentsSource
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has signed a $17.7 million contract with IBM to modernize the central bank’s automated clearing house services as the industry gradually moves to speed up payments for the digital age.
bit.ly/1l9K3pf

Half key City firms probing cyber-risk – BoE
Futures & Options World
CBEST is an intelligence-led test created after the Financial Policy Committee recommended the UK Treasury and regulators work together to improve and test resilience to cyber-attacks. UK authorities made CBEST available to firms which they consider “core to the UK financial system,” including the largest foreign and domestic banks in London, financial infrastructure providers, exchanges, key payment settlement systems and clearing houses.
bit.ly/1l9KbVU

Indexes & Products

It’s Not a Sign of Economic Health When Soapmakers Lead S&P 500
Anna-Louise Jackson – Bloomberg
Consumer staple stocks post longest outperformance since 2007
China worries, commodities rout bring back defensive trade
The best-performing U.S. stocks right now are ones that usually do well when the economy isn’t, makers of everything from household cleaning products to food. It’s yet another black cloud for investors fretting over a growth slowdown.
bloom.bg/1Rnsiks

KRX Published KOSPI 200 Total Return Index Series
KRX
The Korea Exchange (KRX) has developed four KOSPI 200 Total Return index series, which reflect not only gains from the stock price but the income from dividend, and announced these series on January 11, 2016.
bit.ly/1Wap4QC

Technology

Raskin Joins Jordan & Jordan; Veteran of GBST and SIX to lead consulting practice
Michael Shashoua – Waters Technology
Financial industry service provider Jordan & Jordan has hired Barry Raskin, formerly CEO of North America at GBST, as a managing director
bit.ly/1J4NCbZ

Sam Hamadeh, Founder of PrivCo and Vault.com, Dead at 44
By BECKEY BRIGHT – WSJ
Hussam “Sam” Hamadeh, founder and chief executive of PrivCo and co-founder of Vault.com, has died. He was 44 years old.
on.wsj.com/1P2tmdp

Will Blockchain Technology Transform Transactions?
Ostatic
Ask some people, and they’ll tell you that the concept of the Blockchain is as dramatic as the creation of the Internet. Recently, I covered the news that a group of top technology and finance companies including IBM, Wells Fargo and the London Stock Exchange Group, are partnering and working with The Linux Foundation to advance blockchain technology, which is central to how many businesses process transactions.
bit.ly/1l9JHyO

It’s Geek to Me: Fintech’s Jargon Problem
American Banker – Bank Think
For all the efficiency and ease of use that technology startups promise to bring to banking, there’s one thing that fintech has in common with the industry’s incumbents: an excess of jargon.
bit.ly/1l9KqQF

Enforcement

Federal Court in Illinois Orders Approximately $500 Million in Sanctions against Defendant Nikolai S. Battoo and His Three Companies for Committing a Global Commodity Futures and Options Fraud
CFTC
The court’s Order requires Battoo and the BC Common Enterprise to pay restitution in the amount of $294,246,741.63 to the victims of their fraud, as well as a $147 million civil monetary penalty, and to disgorge $49 million that Battoo received as ill-gotten gains. The Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against the Defendants and prohibits them from violating the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations.
1.usa.gov/1P12PgF

CFTC Orders Otkritie Capital International, Ltd. to Pay a $140,000 Civil Monetary Penalty for Violating a CFTC Registration Regulation
CFTC
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Otkritie Capital International, Ltd. (OCI), a London-based corporate and institutional financial services company, for violating CFTC Regulation 30.4, by permitting two of its U.S. customers to trade futures and options in foreign markets while not registered as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), or pursuant to a Regulation 30.10 exemption. The CFTC Order requires OCI to pay a $140,000 civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from further violating CFTC Regulation 30.4, as charged.
1.usa.gov/1mWEsnj

SEC Charges 11 Bank Officers and Directors With Fraud
SEC.gov
The SEC alleges the high-ranking officers and directors schemed to mislead investors and bank regulators by propping up Superior Bank’s financial condition through straw borrowers, bogus appraisals, and insider deals. Specifically they improperly extended, renewed, and rolled over bad loans to avoid impairment and the need to report ever-increasing allowances for loan and lease losses (ALLL) in its financial accounting. As a result, Superior Bank overstated its net income in public filings by approximately 99 percent for 2009 and 50 percent for 2010. The Birmingham, Ala.-based bank failed in 2011.
1.usa.gov/1J49WT1

U.S. jury finds ex-Capital One analyst liable in insider trading case
BY SUZANNE BARLYN – Reuters
A former Capital One Financial Corp analyst was found liable on Wednesday on civil charges that he engaged in insider trading by using non-public sales data from the credit card issuer to buy and sell stocks.
reut.rs/1Pd1c9t

ASIC bans former ANZ adviser
Australian Business Review
A former ANZ financial adviser has been banned for 10 years by the corporate watchdog for a string of offences including forging customers’ signatures and creating false bank documents.
bit.ly/1mXUldo

Environmental & Energy

Relentless fall in crude has oil companies over a barrel
Christopher Adams, Energy Editor – FT
Only a few big projects to get go-ahead as fall in crude deepens, says Wood Mackenzie
The slump in oil prices has become a rout. Any industry hopes for a rebound in 2016 appear to have been dashed, giving way to despair at a crash that is outpacing increasingly frantic efforts to slash costs.
on.ft.com/1URlmKD

Obama (Very Subtly) Renews Call for a Carbon Tax to Fund Future Transportation
By David Z. Morris – Fortune
Could we see a market-driven climate solution? Transportation watchers were happy to hear the President’s call in last night’s State of the Union Address to “put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.”
for.tn/1RmgcIg

IMF calls for carbon tax on ships and planes
By Megan Darby – Climate Home (part of the Guardian Environment Network)
The International Monetary Fund is calling for a carbon tax on aviation and shipping to help deliver global climate goals.
bit.ly/1OrJu2k

Climate change: CO2 emissions ‘will delay next ice age by 100,000 years
By Tom Bawden – The Independent
Mankind is pumping so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it could postpone the next ice age by more than 100,000 years, according to new research which finds humans are having a “mind-boggling” impact on the Earth.
ind.pn/1Pc2em1

Asia-Pacific

China’s SAFE says not limiting fx sales to individuals: Xinhua
Reuters
China’s foreign exchange regulator has said it is not placing limits on foreign currency sales to individuals beyond the usual annual cap of $50,000, the state news agency Xinhua reported, in the government’s latest response to concerns about capital outflows.
reut.rs/1OjYwtb

Growth, Debt and Why China’s Got a Big Problem – Podcast
By PAUL VIGNA – The Wall Street Journal
The outlook for the U.S. is not so bad, but the outlook for China is much worse. And the debt dynamics in both countries are troubling.
on.wsj.com/1J4NTLZ

PBOC Gives Mixed Signals on Plans for Yuan; Goal is to allow modest depreciation while encouraging currency to oscillate along the way
By LINGLING WEI – WSJ
If China’s exchange-rate policy has seemed inscrutable in recent days, that is according to plan, people close to the Chinese central bank say.
on.wsj.com/1KfgskK

Giving up on stocks: China’s retail investors seek safety first
BY SAMUEL SHEN AND KAZUNORI TAKADA – Reuters
As China’s legions of retail investors flee the country’s tumultuous equity markets, pushing stock prices down around 15 percent so far this year, money is flowing into perceived safe-haven assets such as domestic bonds, gold and the dollar.
reut.rs/1JMlSJg

Frontier Markets

Sebi contemplating action against commodity manipulators; The regulator has collected information from exchanges as well as through surveillance reports to prepare a case for action on irrational price movements
Business Standard
After Income Tax Department action against commodity traders, including some based in Indore, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) may also take action against violators of commodity market rules.
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