First Read

Make A Plan: How OCC Is Forging Change In The Options Industry

Craig Donohue joined OCC in 2014 to help address some major issues for the clearing house and to position the organization for the new derivatives clearing landscape. He sat down with John Lothian News to discuss the current state of the options industry, regulation and where the organization is heading next.

One of Donohue’s first issues to address was the OCC’s capital plan to raise the organization’s shareholder equity to $247 million, from $25 million. That plan, which strengthens OCC’s capital base as one of the designated Systemically Important Financial Market Utilities (SIFMUs), puts the clearing house on firmer footing going forward, Donohue said. The SEC approved the capital moves by OCC in March.

Watch the video »
***DA: The Options Industry Conference starts tomorrow, and we are kicking it off with our exclusive interview with OCC’s Craig Donohue. Jim Kharouf is headed to California today, and will be on hand throughout the conference. Drop him a line if you would like to get on his schedule.

++++ Website Is a Nightmare to Navigate; Fund investors are advised to “read the prospectus,” but good luck finding it on the SEC’s Byzantine site.
By LEWIS BRAHAM – Barron’s
The Securities and Exchange Commission is the regulatory body for the biggest, most powerful financial markets in the world. So why does its Website,, function like it was designed in the Pong era? The answer isn’t readily apparent, but the problems are. Just try searching the site’s algorithm-driven database for an exchange-traded fund’s prospectus or a mutual fund’s annual report. In my experience, the only wonder is that a…

***** This headline exemplifies why we built You can’t find anything on many regulatory and industry websites unless you know where you are going first. With a wiki, it is easy to find what you are looking for.


CCP interoperability drive poses margin challenges; Chicago Fed researchers point to problems around issue of concentration margin
Alexander Campbell –
A European Union drive towards interoperability for derivatives central counterparties (CCPs) raises insurmountable problems for margin requirements, according to two researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

****** Who is John McPartland?


London Stock Exchange Group To Host Extent 2016 Software Testing Conference
London Stock Exchange Group
Event focuses on quality of software platforms underpinning global financial markets; Forum for industry practitioners and academia to discuss technology trends; Organised by Exactpro, part of LSEG’s technology services division
On 22 June 2016, London Stock Exchange Group will host the EXTENT Software Testing and Trading Technology Trends conference at its London headquarters in Paternoster Square.

****** OK, everyone look at your phones. Anyone have any bars???


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Euronext Launches its First Nitrogen Fertiliser Futures Contract
Euronext today announced the launch in autumn 2016 of the first physically-deliverable futures contract for nitrogen solution. Aimed at the European market, this innovative new contract will complement the Group’s commodity futures offering. It will enable Euronext to offer users a comprehensive suite of tools to manage price risk and cover their overall positions more efficiently, for both agricultural inputs and for grains and oilseeds such as wheat, rapeseed and corn.

****** We call this a straight through processing component.


Futures commission merchants (FCMs) and retail foreign exchange dealers (RFEDs) must file monthly financial reports with the CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) within 17 business days after the end of the month. Selected financial information from these reports is published below. The most recent month-end information generally is added within 12 business days after FCMs and RFEDs file their reports, but occasionally may be added later. For example: The 17th business day filing “due date” for February 28, 2015 financial reports was March 25, 2015. The 12 business day target for posting these data was April 10, 2015.

****** Did the music stop? There are 71 FCMs reporting, down one from January.


Champagne and Catamarans: The America’s Cup in New York Harbor
For the first time since 1920, the America’s Cup has returned to the Hudson River, bringing with it teams from six nations to race in high-tech catamarans in front of over 70,000 spectators. After a tepid day on Saturday, the boats found enough wind for a thrilling race on Sunday—and throughout, VIP viewers crowded party yachts loaded with champagne and shrimp cocktail to drift as close as they could to the action.

****** There are not many things that make DRW’s Don Wilson envious, but this might be one of them.


Wall Street Women Excellence In Leadership: Marisol Collazo
Traders News
As U.S. CEO of DTCC Data Repository, Marisol Collazo leads a growing team that oversees OTC derivatives and products. Her role is to expand into multiple jurisdictions; one example is Canada, a recent expansion for the firm. This is pretty impressive when you consider Collazo not only went to college at night and then law school at night while working on Wall Street, but she remembers being told as a young girl that her options were limited.


G. H. Financials – Supporting Futures for Kids: FFK Day 2016
G. H. Financials is once again pleased to announce that they will be fully supporting Futures for Kids FFK Day 2016 in its offices in London, Chicago and Hong Kong – joining many other businesses within the industry in raising much needed funds for Children’s charities.

***** Support Futures for Kids. It is good for you and them.


Monday’s Top Three
The top clicked story in yesterday’s newsletter was a NYT missive from the man I would call the best economics textbook author on the planet, N. Gregory Mankiw, The Economy Is Rigged, and Other Presidential Campaign Myths. Second place, from TrueWealthPublishing Asia, was part history lesson, part deep dive into the Jerome Kerviel SocGen trading scandal of 2008. Rounding out the top three was Steve Wynn’s tirade against short sellers, HFT and the stock market in general. It is apparently OK for a stock to become detached from its fundamentals on the way up, but on the way down, it is clear manipulation. I see his complaint. It is simply not right that one must give up a mathematical edge to the house while putting one’s money into a vehicle that may or may not pay off.


Lead Stories

Robin Hood Gala Raises $61 Million, Helped by Bezos Family
Amanda L Gordon – Bloomberg
$15 million from Bezos, Overdeck foundations matched at dinner; Blankfein, Fink, Einhorn, Ackman among event’s attendees
A hard year for Wall Street is still a solid year for its biggest charity gala.

Hedge Funds Faced Choppy Waters in 2015, but Chiefs Cashed In
JPMorgan Chase paid its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, $27 million in 2015. In another Wall Street universe, the hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin made $1.7 billion over the same year.

The Recession’s Economic Trauma Has Left Enduring Scars; Effects of losing a job linger, from lower wages and home ownership rates to psychological problems
Gary Reece was earning six figures when he lost his tech-industry job in 2000. He was making about half his old salary when he was laid off again in 2008. Now 61 years old, unemployed and looking to improve his odds in the job market, he left his family in San Jose, Calif., for a few months this year to live in a college dormitory and finish a long-abandoned bachelor’s degree.

Wall Street layoffs surged by 275% in April
By Hayley McDowell –
Job cuts in financial services surge as “Wall Street executives are trying to shrink staffing levels as profits remain under pressure,” says Integrity Research. false
The US financial services industry witnessed a bleak employment outlook as layoffs in April this year hit 2,847, a 275% increase compared to April last year.

The World’s Most Extreme Speculative Mania Unravels in China
Bloomberg News
Turnover on Chinese commodity exchanges surged by $183 billion; Traders start to withdraw as government deters speculation
From the Dutch tulip craze of 1637 to America’s dot-com bubble at the turn of the century, history is littered with speculative frenzies that ended badly for investors.

Ex-Deutsche Bank Broker Among Two Guilty in Insider-Trading Case
Suzi Ring, Jeremy Hodges – Bloomberg
Dodgson among two convicted by London jury in 10-2 vote; Three other defendants are cleared after four-month trial
A former Deutsche Bank AG managing director and another man were found guilty of insider dealing following a four-month trial that focused on allegations that bankers at respected institutions gave traders tips that generated millions in illicit profits.

Madoff Sons’ Fight Over Cash Endures Long After Their Deaths
Erik Larson – Bloomberg
Con man’s sons died from suicide, cancer after Ponzi collapse; Trustee preparing new complaint against estate as talks failed
The trustee unwinding Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is losing patience with the estates of the con man’s dead sons.

The Repudiation Phase of the Bubble
by Joshua M Brown – The Reformed Broker
I’ve read many books on the history of financial markets (like more than four dozen) over the last 20 years. I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. One of the common threads of every financial or asset bubble throughout human history is that they all have a repudiation phase – a moment where all the lies that had been built up alongside the excess are aired out in public. Even reputable companies and players get caught up in it.

Treasury Dept.’s Never-Ending Fight to Combat Tax Cheats
Benjamin Franklin once pointed out that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Evading taxes and shielding ill-gotten gains are an effort to avoid some of that certainty, but as much as the government tries to battle corruption in the financial system, it will almost never be enough.

‘Tens of thousands of jobs will go’ in the City if UK leaves EU; Treasury believes 285,000 financial services jobs are linked to EU
by: George Parker and Jim Pickard
George Osborne has warned of “tens of thousands” of potential job losses in the financial services industry if Britain leaves the EU, claiming that 285,000 jobs in the sector are linked to business with Europe.

Millennials Like to Trade…Not Just Chat…an Update and Stocktwits and Robinhood Integration
In November of last year, StockTwits announced that it had partnered with Robinhood to bring true social trading to the largest investing and trading community. The integration enables StockTwits members to connect their Robinhood accounts, trade commision-free from their watchlist with one swipe, and easily share the trade with their followers. It is available in StockTwits’s iOS and Android apps.


Incoming FCA chief says culture in banks’ own hands
By Giles Turner, WSJ City
The incoming chief for the Financial Conduct Authority has made it clear that banking culture is of utmost importance, but it is not the job of a regulator to change it.

Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory sandbox opens to applications
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), today opened its regulatory sandbox to firms. The sandbox is a ‘safe space’ in which businesses can test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms while ensuring that consumers are appropriately protected. The regulatory sandbox is part of Project Innovate, an initiative kicked off in October 2014, to help us encourage innovation in the interests of consumers and promote competition through disruptive innovation.

SIFMA Joins Infrastructure Week 2016
Today, SIFMA announced its participation in the national advocacy and educational event, Infrastructure Week, which will take place from May 16th-23rd, 2016. Across the country, businesses, labor organizations, elected officials and more will join together to tell citizens and policymakers alike how #InfrastructureMatters to their businesses and jobs, communities, health and safety, and daily lives – and the need for increased and continued investment from all levels of government and the private sector.

Cross-Border Fragmentation of Global Interest Rate Derivatives: Second Half 2015 Update
The fracturing of the global interest rate swaps market that emerged in the aftermath of US swap execution facility rules coming into force shows no signs of reversing. Although concerns over market fragmentation have been apparent for almost three years, some liquidity pools continue to be split on US and non-US lines.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

LME Steel Scrap contract sees first voice-brokered trade
The London Metal Exchange (LME) today announces the first voice-brokered trade of its LME Steel Scrap contract. The trade was executed on 4 May 2016 by INTL FCStone Ltd on behalf of Stemcor.

Re-appointment of Chairman Approved
Reference is made to the announcement of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
Limited (“HKEX”) dated 29 April 2016 in relation to the re-appointment of
Mr Chow Chung Kong (“Mr Chow”) as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of HKEX

NYSE Pillar: Phase I Update – Symbol Migration Update
NYSE, NYSE MKT and NYSE Arca Traders and Technical Representatives
NYSE Arca will migrate the final group of securities to the NYSE Pillar platform on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. As of tomorrow, all securities will be trading on the NYSE Pillar platform.

Bats Global Markets Reports Record U.S. Options Market Share in April Exchange Group Maintains Strength Across Asset Classes
Bats Global Markets, Inc. (Bats: BATS), a leading global operator of exchanges and services for financial markets, today reported April data and highl

Osaka Exchange: The Position Limits On Securities Options
OSE has set the position limits on Securities Options, which will be applied from May 13, 2016.

LSE to launch first UK weekly options; Weekly options from the LSE will be the first for the UK derivatives market.
By Joe Parsons – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) will launch the UK’s first weekly options contracts based on the FTSE 100 index.

BOX Options Exchange Price Improvement Activity For April
In the month of April price improved contracts on BOX Options Exchange (“BOX”) averaged 297,158 per day. Price improvement versus the prevailing NBBO for contracts submitted via BOX’s price improvement auction, PIP, averaged $467,418 per day, while total savings to investors in April was $9.8M. With this, BOX has saved investors over $761M since its inception in 2004. Overall average daily trading volume on BOX in the month of April was 407,208 contracts.

TMX first-quarter profit rises 9 percent
TMX Group Ltd, which owns and operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, posted a 9 percent rise in quarterly profit late on Monday, helped by lower operating expenses.


Industry collaboration is necessary for the successful application of blockchain in securities markets
Bob’s Guide
New research published by the SWIFT Institute investigates the practical application of blockchain (or mutual distributed ledger) technologies in securities markets.

The Potential of Blockchain and Why It Matters to Push the Boundaries: Adena Friedman, Nasdaq
Tabb Forum
Blockchain technology holds the promise of allowing capital markets to operate more efficiently, while simultaneously providing greater transparency and security, according to Nasdaq’s Adena Friedman, who says the post-trade infrastructure that we know today can be completely transformed within a decade.

U.S. investigates security of mobile devices
The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission have asked mobile phone carriers and manufacturers to explain how they release security updates amid mounting concerns over security vulnerabilities, the U.S. agencies said on Monday

Metamako slashes switch latency and offers more ports
Metamako, provider of the world’s fastest, deterministic, ultra-low latency devices for the trading, exchanges and telco communities, has today announced the launch of a new device, MetaMux 48. The next-generation, 48-port device lowers latency by 20% and has a greater number of ports. It is more than twice as fast as the best-performing conventional switches, with a latency for aggregation of just 82 nanoseconds. Critically, as with all other Metamako devices, the new switch has a high degree of determinism compared to traditional switches.


Clinton More Conservative Than Trump When It Comes to Investing
Charles Stein – Bloomberg
Vanguard 500 Index Fund is Hillary Clinton’s top holding; BlackRock’s Obsidian hedge fund is favorite of Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton praises Obamacare. Donald Trump calls it a disaster. She’s deliberate. He’s an improviser. Their investment strategies diverge as well.

Why Dark Money Is Bad Business
IT’S only May, but this presidential election is on track to be one of the most expensive ever. So far two-thirds of election dollars have largely come from anonymous corporate donations, funneled through what have been referred to as “dark money” nonprofit groups that freely engage in electoral and legislative politics, but don’t have to disclose their donors, expenditures or even their members.

Trump’s Tough Talk on Hedge-Fund Taxes Doesn’t Match His Plan
Lynnley Browning – Bloomberg
Partners would pay 15% rate under little-noticed proposal; Campaign pitched rate cut as help for small businesses
Donald Trump said “hedge fund guys are getting away with murder” when he called for ending a lucrative tax advantage for investment managers, but his published tax plan would give them an even bigger break.

Donald Trump Says The U.S. Will Never Default Because It Prints the Money
Donald Trump fired back at critics Monday over what he claimed was a misrepresentation of his comments on debt of the U.S. government, saying he never advocated the U.S. default on its debt.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

AllianceBernstein chief says active management ‘too big’; Bloated industry needs to restore investors’ faith, says Peter Kraus
by: Robin Wigglesworth, US Markets Editor
The asset management industry has grown too bloated to consistently produce market-beating returns and needs to be more disciplined on size to restore investor faith, according to the head of one of the biggest US investment houses.

How short-selling can (theoretically) improve your portfolio
by Matthew C Klein – FT
The trick with investing is owning things that go up and not owning things that go down. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to know which is which in advance. For most people, the best choice is to buy lots of different things and hope the stuff that goes up makes more money than the stuff that goes down loses — a strategy that, over time, tends to work pretty well.

Krispy Kreme to Be Acquired by Keurig Owner JAB for $1.35 Billion; European investment fund expands its coffee portfolio and other consumer brands
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. will be acquired for about $1.35 billion by JAB Holding Co., the European investment fund with a fast-expanding stable of famous brands ranging from Caribou Coffee to Jimmy Choo shoes to Durex condoms.

Banks & Brokers

‘Cherry picking’ claims fly in CSA rate floor negotiations; Traders accused of self interest in negative rate floor discussions
Catherine Contiguglia –
Banks and end-users are accusing each other of trying to take advantage of the valuation uncertainty surrounding the impact of negative rates on uncleared derivatives contracts. The move of many benchmark interest rates into negative territory over the past two years has forced counterparties to re-examine the value of interest rate floors written into collateral agreements, known as credit support annexes (CSAs). Most major banks and firms have signed up to an industry protocol agreeing to pass…

Cantor Fitzgerald Europe co-CEO departs
By Josie Cox, WSJ City
Cantor Fitzgerald Europe’s co-CEO, Gordon Neilly, has left the firm to pursue opportunities outside of investment banking, ending a near four-year stint with the group

Credit Suisse blames low client activity for Q1 loss
By John Bakie –
Credit Suisse blames low client activity for Q1 loss John Bakie Bank says it is on course with cost cuts after tough Q1 and is pivoting towards more profitable business units such as wealth management. false Credit Suisse has blamed difficult mark

ITG Releases April 2016 U.S. Trading Volumes
ITG (ITG), a leading independent broker and financial technology provider, today announced that April 2016 U.S. trading volume was 2.7 billion shares and average daily volume (ADV) was 129 million shares. This compares to 3.5 billion shares and ADV of 159 million shares in March 2016 and 3.9 billion shares and ADV of 184 million shares in April 2015. There were 21 trading days in both April 2016 and April 2015 and 22 trading days in March 2016.

David Acton: head of equities at Goldman Sachs resigns
Gretchen Friemann – The Australian
David Acton, head of equities at Goldman Sachs Australia, resigned today dealing a heavy blow to the New York-based bank as its equity capital markets division faces intensifying competition from arch rivals, UBS and Macquarie Group.

Morgan Stanley Sees Japan’s Yield Hunt Reviving Post Golden Week
Wes Goodman – Bloomberg
Purchases are set to start immediately, Morgan Stanley says; U.S. 10-year yield of 1.76% compares to minus 0.095% in Japan
Morgan Stanley says investors in Japan will rush into non-yen debt, now that the nation’s Golden Week holiday is over.

Clearing & Settlement

Interest In Post Trade Risk Mitigation Services Grows In Asia, According To TriOptima Whitepaper – Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, And Singapore Are Leading The Way In Adopting Post Trade Services – Perception That These Services Require Additional Human, Financial And It Resources, Hampering Further Adoption
TriOptima, the award-winning post trade infrastructure provider, has published a whitepaper today entitled “Post Trade Risk Mitigation in Asia”. The whitepaper claims that adoption of post trade initiatives in the region are growing and provides a summary of clearing requirements and the OTC derivatives landscape in the Asia Pacific region.

DTCC Signs Memorandum Of Understanding On Cooperation With KRX
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, and the Korea Exchange (KRX), the sole securities and derivatives exchange operator in South Korea, today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate with each other on a Trade Repository (TR) solution in Korea.

Eurex Clearing Applies TriOptima’s Portfolio Compression
FTF News
Post-trade infrastructure provider TriOptima announced that Eurex Clearing members recently completed the first successful triReduce compression cycle for cleared euro (EUR) interest rate swaps (IRS), officials say.

Indexes & Products

New OMX Stockholm Benchmark Portfolio Selected – The New Portfolio Of The OMX Stockholm Benchmark Index Will Become Effective On June 1, 2016
Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ) announces today the results of the semi-annual review of the OMX Stockholm Benchmark Index, (Nasdaq Stockholm: OMXSB), which will become effective with the market open on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

WisdomTree Europe launches smart beta broad commodity ETF
ETF Strategy
WisdomTree Europe has launched a new smart beta commodity exchange traded fund with a built in mechanism that helps reduce the cost of holding commodity future contracts meaning investors can hold the ETF in their portfolios for longer.

Why Strategic Beta Makes Sense
Thanks for bearing with me this far. As I have learned from bitter experience, the topic of strategic beta–or “smart beta,” as fund marketers would have it–is not exactly a crowd-pleaser. Today’s article would generate much more interest were the subject Vanguard, or 401(k) plans, or how to make one’s money last while in retirement. Compared with those evergreen themes, the latest investment innovation seems trivial.

UBS ETF on emerging market bonds with currency hedge launched on Xetra; ETF tracks more than 100 government and quasi-government bonds from over 60 emerging markets
Deutsche Börse Cash Market
A new UBS Global Asset Management bond index ETF has been tradable via Xetra and Börse Frankfurt since Tuesday. ETF name: UBS ETF – Barclays USD Emerging Markets Sovereign UCITS ETF (hedged to EUR) A-acc Asset class: bond index ETF


CFTC Orders Chicago-based Cunningham Commodities, LLC and its Controller Salvatore Carmen Russo Jointly to Pay a $150,000 Penalty for Failing to Immediately Report a Customer Segregated Account Deficiency
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and simultaneously settling charges against Cunningham Commodities, LLC (Cunningham), a registered Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) based in Chicago, Illinois. The Order also finds Cunningham’s Controller and head accountant, Salvatore Carmen Russo of Wheaton, Illinois, liable for aiding and abetting Cunningham’s failure to immediately report the customer segregated account deficiency.

A former investment banker and a businessman were convicted of insider trading on Monday in what the British authorities have described as the largest crackdown on improper trading in Britain.

Environmental & Energy

Repair crews assess Canada wildfire damage, oil firms plan restart
Repair crews were expected to assess wildfire damage to the Canadian energy boomtown of Fort McMurray on Tuesday as the oil sands companies surrounding the ravaged city looked at bringing production back on line.

Much-anticipated monsoon may not solve India’s drought crisis
By Juliet Perry and Huizhong Wu, CNN
India’s killer heatwave is leaving the country reeling from the worst drought in decades and a rural population struggling to survive.

New York Plans to Make Fighting Climate Change Good Business
Justin Gillis – NY Times
A governor wants to lead on green energy. The state’s utilities are nervously falling in line. Young entrepreneurs are buzzing, determined to be part of the generation that finally solves climate change.

California Braces for Unending Drought
LOS ANGELES — With California entering its fifth year of a statewide drought, Gov. Jerry Brown moved on Monday to impose permanent water conservation measures and called on water suppliers to prepare for a future made drier by climate change.


Japan’s financial regulator to scrutinize banks’ stress tests
The Japan Times
The nation’s financial regulator is stepping up oversight of its biggest banks while stopping well short of imposing the type of intrusive stress tests that have been adopted in the U.S. and Europe. Unlike the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, which conduct annual examinations of the large banks they supervise, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has no plans to impose its own stress tests on the country’s lenders. Instead, it is looking for ways to verify the banks’ own reviews.

What Japan Needs to Make Yen Intervention Work; Japan’s finance minister Taro Aso has further hardened his rhetoric on exchange rates
Decisiveness does not equal effectiveness. This is the conundrum facing Japan over what to do with its stubbornly strong yen.

Moody’s raises worries over China loans as Communist party paper calls debt load original sin
Moody’s Investors Service Tuesday flagged worries over China’s burgeoning debt load a day after a party newspaper branded high leverage in the economy as the “original sin”. Total debt in the world’s second-largest economy stands at 280 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), much of it owed by entities owned by or related to the government, potentially leaving Beijing on the hook for a portion of these loans, Moody’s said in a report.

Frontier Markets

MCX gets new managing director; Mrugank Paranjape joins as MD and CEO of the company
Business Standard
After two years of wait, Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) finally saw new Managing Director and CEO, Mrugank Paranjape, join the office today.

Brazil’s 30-Minute Dive Shows Markets at Mercy of Politics
For about a half hour, it looked like Brazil’s world-beating rallies were coming undone.
A few minutes before noon on a relatively calm trading day in Sao Paulo, the real suddenly plummeted by the most in four years and $16.5 billion was wiped off the value of the benchmark stock index. Within 30 minutes, both markets had mostly recovered.


Parents Tell Kids to Borrow More for College; Teens must take out bigger loans, a new survey shows, worsening the student debt crisis.
Polly Mosendz – Bloomberg
Parents coo and cheer as kids take their first steps, speak their first words, and eventually gambol through those schoolhouse doors. Lurking in the background though is a slowly building dread that culminates with another first: the college application, and the mountain of tuition bills it foreshadows.

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