First Read

Goldman Sachs files patent for virtual settlement currency
Jennifer Hughes in Hong Kong – FT
Goldman Sachs has made a patent application for a cryptocurrency settlement system in a move that underlines bank hopes that the architecture behind bitcoin can revolutionise global payments.

***** Move first, patent the technology, defend it to the ends of the earth, make the other guys innovate around you.


Why Tech is Better Than Barclays
By Edward Evans – Bloomberg
Jes Staley, the new CEO of Barclays, isn’t wasting time. Less than a week into the job, he reportedly approached former JPMorgan commodities chief Blythe Masters about taking charge of his British investment bank.

***** This story sends a terrible message about the opportunities in the financial sector versus tech. This is the challenge for the financial markets to attract the best and brightest. This is a big reason behind why we hold our MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education series. See the videos from the last 3 years of programs at


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NFA Board Update–November 2015 Meeting
NFA Chairman Chris Hehmeyer and President and CEO Dan Roth discuss highlights and other notable information from NFA’s November Board meeting, including technology enhancements, international examinations, and upcoming Member education opportunities.

***** Chris Hehmeyer’s last time in front of the camera as NFA Chairman.


Request for Public Director Nominations for NFA’s Board of Directors
In October 2015, NFA’s Articles of Incorporation (Articles) were amended to reduce the size of NFA’s Board of Directors from 37 to 29 Directors. The Board’s new structure reduces the number of Public Representative seats to 10. Pursuant to the amended Articles, the terms of all of NFA’s current Public Representatives—Andrea M. Corcoran, Ronald H. Filler, Douglas E. Harris, Jim Marshall, Michael H. Moskow, Charles P. Nastro, Ronald S. Oppenheimer, Todd E. Petzel, Susan M. Phillips, Michael R. Schaefer, and Jill E. Sommers—will expire at the Board’s regular annual meeting on February 18, 2016.

***** One can only hope that the stupidity of last year will not be repeated.


How a Wall Street Exec Became the Ultimate Burgundy Wine Collector
Elin McCoy – Bloomberg
Don Stott got the tip that pushed him into serious wine collecting in 1963, when most Americans thought high-end drinking meant soaking up very dry martinis.

***** This story is for someone riotously obnoxious. He who knows who he is.


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Chicago’s rich got richer last year
By ALLY MAROTTI – Crain’s Chicago Business
The number of millionaires in the U.S. is growing, and wealth among Chicagoans is growing right along with it. But the younger millionaires, many of whom are coming out of the technology sector, are changing the way that wealth is managed.


Mark Spanbroek, European Principal Traders Association – Financial Markets 2.0

“What trading is really about is finding an algorithmic, or systematic way, to analyze the market. And this is done with data.”

Mark Spanbroek’s trading career spanned the transition from the old world of trading pits to the new world of algorithms. He now serves as acting chairman of the FIA European Principal Traders Association (EPTA).

In this MarketsWiki Education presentation, Spanbroek showcases both worlds – Financial Markets 1.0 and 2.0 – from the pit trader in the multi-colored trading jacket to today’s trader, which he says is not a trader, but rather an engineer, and today’s trading strategy is more of a team effort than an individual effort.

Watch the video »

Lead Stories

Mario Draghi Is About to Become the World’s Market Risk Manager
Simon Kennedy, Jeff Black – Bloomberg
ECB seen adding stimulus Thursday as inflation stuck near zero
Fed counterpart Yellen could raise U.S. rates two weeks later
Mario Draghi is set to become the new first line of defense for the world economy, whether he likes it or not.

Wall Street Goes Short on Bond Traders
No longer masters of the universe, big banks’ bond traders are taking a back seat to counterparts working for hedge funds and mutual funds
The Masters of the Universe don’t all live on Wall Street anymore.

CME Group metals director Harriet Hunnable to leave company
CME Group Inc’s executive director for metals products, Harriet Hunnable, will leave the company on Dec. 11, a CME spokesman said on Wednesday.

Deutsche Bank to sift “big data” to get closer to customers
By Andreas Kröner – Reuters
Better, cheaper data improves analysis of customer needs; Deutsche, other banks see IT modernisation as priority
Deutsche Bank is embarking on a major computer systems upgrade that will help it to make greater use of so-called “big data” to provide a detailed picture of how, when and where customers interact with it, the bank’s chief data officer said in an interview.

Saudi Arabia throws down challenge on oil production cuts
Anjli Raval, David Sheppard and Neil Hume in Vienna – FT
Saudi Arabia has thrown down a challenge to big rival oil producers ahead of this week’s Opec meeting, saying it would back output cuts as long as they were supported by countries both inside and outside the cartel.

Crowdfunding: The Tinder of Future Finance?
Crowdfunding has been fantastic for sparking new business connections but big problems lie ahead, says Richard Goold.

Out-of-Bounds CO2 Clouds Emissions Tallying
Carbon dioxide from the air and shipping industries is difficult to count, especially outside nations’ borders
World leaders are hammering out ways to cut their countries’ carbon emissions in Paris. But what about all the carbon dioxide—from planes and ships—emitted outside any one country’s borders?

State Street launches fossil fuel-free ETF, cites climate worries
State Street Corp’s asset management arm on Wednesday launched its first fossil-fuel free exchange-traded fund, citing investors’ concerns over climate change.

Witness in Insider Trading Inquiry Sentenced to 21 Days
A federal judge has broken with what has been standard practice in the government’s multiyear crackdown on insider trading in the hedge fund industry by sentencing a major cooperating witness to spend time in federal prison as opposed to a probationary sentence.

IRS Loses Hundreds of Criminal Agents as Tax Cheats Take Heart
David Voreacos – Bloomberg
Brain drain as senior investigators retire amid budget cuts
Chief Weber frets about relevance as tax probes fall 32%
Tax cheats can breathe a little easier. The gun-toting Internal Revenue Service investigators who send felons to prison are retiring in droves and there’s no one to replace them.


Presentations from InfoNet: MiFID II/R Seminar on Indirect Clearing
The MiFID II/R seminar on indirect clearing began with a presentation from Clifford Chance’s Jeremy Walter, who explained the key issues with the requirements under MiFID II/R. A panel discussion followed, where participants representing legal, regulatory, infrastructure and practitioner views debated indirect clearing for ETD and OTC and the number of legal and operational complexities such as: territorial scope, account segregation options and longer chains as well as default management requirements which, for example, include porting and leapfrog payments.

Innovative Fintech Entrepreneurs Catch A Break From Regulator
Financial services regulators aren’t renowned for their willingness to be flexible – all the more so following the financial crisis, since when the watchdogs have taken a beating for falling asleep when they were supposed to be on watch. A new proposal from the Financial Conduct Authority that is designed to support innovation is therefore greatly to the organisation’s credit.

Fed’s Powell says clearinghouse governance ‘absolutely essential’
Neil Roland, MLex (Subscription Required)
The US Federal Reserve is in the early stages of helping develop an approach to clearinghouse governance, Fed Governor Jerome Powell said.

FCA to require insurance firms to publish details of last year’s premium
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published proposals to require general insurance providers to publish details of last year’s premium on renewal notices.

SIFMA Comments on FINRA’s Senior Investor Protections Proposal
Today,SIFMA submitted a comment letter to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in response to its proposal (Regulatory Notice 15-37) on the financial exploitation of seniors and other vulnerable adults.

FINRA’s Monthly Recap – November 2015
Revisit the latest FINRA Notices, compliance resources, and news from November 2015.

Don’t Go Holiday Shopping With Your 401(k)
When you’re shopping for the holidays, it can be tempting to abandon your budget and buy more than you planned for your family and friends—or for yourself. But what happens when the credit card bills start coming in? Or you realize that you don’t have enough cash to cover your everyday costs?

And the Winner Is… The SEC Touts Record Number of Cases for Its FY2015, and Highlights Innovative Firsts
by Michael Dicke,, Catherine Kevane | Fenwick & West LLP via JD Supra
The SEC’s enforcement numbers are in for its fiscal year ended September 2015, and to no one’s surprise, the agency filed a record number of enforcement cases. As announced on October 22, 2015, the SEC filed 807 enforcement actions – an almost 7% increase over the 755 enforcement actions filed in 2014. These actions resulted in approximately $4.2 billion ordered in disgorgement and penalties, which is up slightly from the $4.16 billion ordered in 2014. The release also highlighted several “first-of-their-kind” cases, as well as the SEC’s increasing use of cutting-edge data analytics to bring cases.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

HKEx chief: Time for investors to stop knocking China market
By Alec Macfarlane – Financial News
The head of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has called for western investors to stop criticising and start educating themselves on the idiosyncrasies of China’s A Share market.

HKFE Announces Revised Margins for CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF Futures
Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited (HKFE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), has announced that with effect from the commencement of trading on Monday, 7 December 2015, the minimum margins to be collected by an Exchange Participant from its clients in respect of their dealings in the following futures contract will be as outlined in the table below. The adjustments are based on the clearing company’s normal procedures and standard margining methodology

SGX gives 6-month extension to companies consolidating shares to comply with MTP
Singapore Exchange (SGX) is giving affected companies carrying out a share consolidation to comply with the Minimum Trading Price (MTP) requirement, a 6-month extension before they are reviewed for compliance with the MTP requirement.

Nodal Exchange Announces Launch of 40 New Power Futures Contracts to Serve Participants in the SPP Market
Business Wire
Nodal Exchange, LLC has introduced 40 new power futures contracts to support trading in Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The new contract offerings are based on 17 locations in SPP and one interface location between MISO and SPP.

Euronext picks ex-Tullett e-trading chief for fixed income push
By Bernard Goyder – Financial News
European exchange operator Euronext has recruited a senior fixed income practitioner as it seeks widen its range of non-equity trading services ahead of sweeping reforms to those markets.

Euronext Announces Monthly Trading Volumes for November 2015
Euronext (Paris:ENX) (Amsterdam:ENX) (Brussels:ENX), the leading exchange in the Eurozone, today announced trading volumes for November 2015.

BME Market Data announces the launch of a new real-time information dissemination service
A real time information service
BME Market Data announces the launch of a new real-time information dissemination service aimed at improving the transparency and international visibility of the companies listed on the Spanish markets operated by the BME Group.

Nasdaq Considering Changes to Its Shareholder Approval Rules
by Stephen M. Quinlivan | Stinson Leonard Street -via JD Supr
Broc Romanek of noted in this blog that “Recently, Nasdaq solicited comment on its shareholder approval rules. It’s a broad – and general – request since the rules haven’t changed much in the 25 years since they were adopted. Nothing specific is proposed – so this is sort of like a concept release.”

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Women CEOs Are More Vulnerable to Activist Investors Than Men
Laura Colby – Bloomberg
23% of male-run companies have provisions to fight activists
Just one female-led firm in S&P 500 has staggered board terms
Fewer female chief executive officers have the weapons corporations typically use to fight off hostile takeovers than their male counterparts. While that’s won their companies the approval of good-governance watchdogs, it’s made them more vulnerable to activist investors.

ECB Cuts Deposit Rate With Further Stimulus to be Announced
MoneyBeat – WSJ
The European Central Bank brought 2015 to a close with a bang today by announcing a cut to the deposit rate and an expansion of its already-huge stimulus program.
President Mario Draghi said the bank would cut the deposit rate to -0.30% from -0.20%. Mr. Draghi will detail further stimulus moves during a press conference later.

Loonie Bears Aren’t Nearly Bearish Enough, Morgan Stanley Says
Ari Altstedter – Bloomberg
Bank joins Macquarie calling for currency to fall to C$1.45
Cheaper Canadian dollar would bolster exports, manufacturing
Almost no one — from the Bank of Canada, to currency traders to Wall Street prognosticators — grasps how far the Canadian dollar must fall to revive the nation’s economy after the collapse in oil prices, according to Morgan Stanley.

Templeton Bond Guru Sees Pain Coming for Complacent Traders
Shery Ahn, Michael Patterson – Bloomberg
Hasenstab sees rising U.S. rates as top risk for many traders
Templeton has negative duration in U.S. as Fed liftoff looms
Franklin Templeton’s Michael Hasenstab says his bond-market peers aren’t prepared for higher U.S. interest rates.

Hedge fund investors keep the faith in macro bet; Average discretionary fund up 1 pct YTD, computer funds down; Weak performance has seen several big funds close; Investors to keep the faith as key global rates diverge
By Simon Jessop and Lawrence Delevingne, Reuters
A weak overall performance for hedge funds which bet on macroeconomic trends this year has not stopped some investors from gearing up to trust them with their money in 2016.

Banks & Brokers

JPMorgan’s Peculiar Partner
By Michael P Regan – Bloomberg
Sometimes our oh-so-efficient stock market can resemble an episode of the “Three Stooges.”

Ex-Barclays boss Antony Jenkins surprised at sacking
Julia Kollewe – The Guardian
The former chief executive of Barclays, Antony Jenkins, has spoken of his surprise at being sacked over the summer after just three years in the top job.

Some Merrill Brokers Could See Cut in Base Pay; The move is the company’s biggest compensation change since 2009
Some Merrill Lynch brokers will see their base pay trimmed by 2% to 8% next year unless they increase the fees and commissions they generate.

Goldman Sachs is over millennials — it’s time to talk about the larger, and more influential, Gen-Z
Myles Udland – Business Insider
Millennials are over, and it’s time to talk about Gen-Z.

Morgan Stanley FICC staff await job update; Morgan Stanley staff are waiting to learn if they will be hit by wide-ranging cuts reportedly being considered by the bank.
By Paul Walsh – The Trade News
Morgan Stanley staff are waiting to learn if they will be hit by wide-ranging cuts reportedly being considered by the bank.

iDealing launches commission-free trading in Euronext
Business Insider
iDealing, which has been around since 2000, is able to offer free trading by being lean and mean. The brokerage employs just 17 people and has developed software that can automate and execute as many processes as possible to cut down costs.

Clearing & Settlement

Clearing only a step on the path to derivatives reform
Financial News
A concrete date for clearing interest-rate derivatives in Europe has arrived – and been welcomed – but don’t be fooled: fully implementing the 2009 G20 agreement on over-the-counter market reform is still years away.

European swap clearing set to start in June
The agreement of a start date for European rates clearing will ramp up pressure on European regulators to recognise US clearing rules, amid a long-standing dispute over equivalence. Without recognition, European counterparties clearing through US CCPs will attract higher capital charges.

Eurex Clearing feels Autumn chill
Securities Lending Times
Eurex Repo saw its average outstanding volume fall by EUR52.4 billion in November, compared to the same time last year. The drop meant its monthly total in all markets dropped to EUR148.8 billion from the EUR201.2 billion achieved in November 2014

TrueEx targets buy side with post-trade spin-off
New company will offer automated clearing and reporting services alongside compressions, compactions and average pricing TrueEx is spinning off its post-trade processing services into a separate company. The new company – called TruePTS – will work with buy-side firms to simplify and automate the process of clearing and reporting derivatives trades executed on swap execution facilities (Sefs).

CLS and Markit extend FX settlement to cross-currency swaps
FX Week (Subscription Required)
The currency settlement utility and global provider of financial information services join forces to tackle the growing demand for clearing solutions in the swaps market CLS has announced the launch of a new foreign exchange settlement service for the cross-currency swap market in partnership with Markit, a global provider of financial information services.

FIA Releases SEF Tracker for October
In the month of October, trading volume on swap execution facilities averaged $430.17 billion per day, the highest monthly total since June. Rates trading averaged $363.76 billion per day, up 6.0% from September and up 15.2% from October 2014, driving mainly by an increase in the trading of forward rate agreements. In credit, an average of $33.24 billion was traded per day in October, down 14.1% from September but the highest amount so far this year for a non-roll month. In foreign exchange, non-deliverable forwards and FX options volume averaged $33.16 billion per day in October, down 4.2% from the previous month and down 16.3% from the year-ago month.

ESMA clearing confirmation gives asset managers a year to prepare; The technical standards for OTC interest rate swaps clearing have been included in the Official Journal, giving the buy-side a year to prepare for the new rules.
By Jon Watkins – The Trade News
The technical standards for OTC interest rate swaps clearing have been included in the Official Journal, giving the buy-side a year to prepare for the new rules.

Indexes & Products

Quarterly review signals upcoming changes to FTSE 100 ETFs
ETF Strategy
FTSE Russell, a leading index provider to the exchange-traded funds industry, has announced changes to the FTSE 100 Index, the principal reference for the largest stocks listed in the United Kingdom based on market capitalisation

State Street Global Advisors Launches First S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Free ETF
Business Wire
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the asset management business of State Street Corporation, announced that the SPDR S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Free ETF (SPYX) began trading on the NYSE Arca. This new addition to SSGA’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) line-up is designed to help investors seeking to eliminate fossil fuel reserves from their portfolio while maintaining exposure to the core of the S&P 500 Index.

S&P Dow Jones Indices Market Attributes: Correlation & Dispersion Index Dashboard
It was a relatively quiet month in U.S. equities. U.S. large-cap dispersion fell modestly in November to 5.6% as it continued to move within a tight range. U.S. small-cap dispersion remained high even in comparison to longer-term averages.

The Neutral Rate of Interest
Indexology – S&P Dow Jones Indices
Several Fed policy-makers are focusing their comments and analyses on the neutral rate of interest – a level of the real (inflation-adjusted) Fed funds rate that will neither slow down nor speed up the economy. If the Fed funds were set at this level, inflation and unemployment would be stable. The neutral rate changes depending on economic conditions and is ultimately unknown. Despite the measurement problems, it is useful in setting and evaluating monetary policy.

No changes to STI after quarterly review
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Singapore Exchange (SGX) and FTSE Russell announced today that constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI) will remain unchanged following the conclusion of the latest quarterly review.


Fidessa boosts platform with options analytics from Hanweck
Fidessa group plc (LSE: FDSA) today announced that it has integrated Hanweck Associates’ VoleraFEED into its award-winning sell-side equities trading platform to provide users with access to high-performance options analytics. VoleraFEED is recognized as the industry’s leading options analytics service.

More advances for FinTech: Robo-advisers can make wealth services stronger
The financial services industry has consistently digitised itself over the past two decades – it is over 15 years since newcomer online-only banks Egg, Cahoot and Smile were in fierce competition to capture market share. Online banking is now the norm, as is online sourcing of general insurance and loan deals. However, some sectors such as wealth management have moved at a slower pace when it comes to getting on-board with FinTech services.

Five reasons why fintech is at the forefront of the privacy revolution
Privacy, and related concepts trust, transparency, security and anonimity are the starting point for a whole slew of mostly start-up financial technology or “fintech” companies that are aiming to change the way that business is transacted online.


CFTC Orders Arya Motazedi to Pay a Civil Monetary Penalty and Restitution and Bans Him from Trading and Registration
According to the Order, between September 3 and November 26, 2013, Motazedi noncompetitively prearranged at least 34 trades between his former employer’s account and the personal accounts at prices which disadvantaged his former employer’s account, in that Motazedi caused the employer’s account to buy at higher prices and sell at lower prices in trades opposite the two personal accounts. The Order also states that Motazedi defrauded his employer by placing orders for the personal accounts ahead of orders he placed for his former employer’s account (a practice known as “front running”) on at least 12 occasions, and thereby generated additional profits for himself to the detriment of his former employer. According to the Order, Motazedi’s trading activity caused his former employer $216,955.80 in trading losses.

Grant Thornton Ignored Red Flags in Audits
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that national audit firm Grant Thornton LLP and two of its partners agreed to settle charges that they ignored red flags and fraud risks while conducting deficient audits of two publicly traded companies that wound up facing SEC enforcement actions for improper accounting and other violations. Grant Thornton admitted wrongdoing and agreed to forfeit approximately $1.5 million in audit fees and interest plus pay a $3 million penalty.

Audit firm Grant Thornton settles SEC charges over audits
By Suzanne Barlyn and Dena Aubin – Reuters
Audit firm Grant Thornton LLP and two of its partners agreed to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that they ignored red flags and fraud risks at two publicly traded companies, the regulator said on Wednesday.

Environmental & Energy

The $100 Billion Key to a Global Deal at UN Climate Change Talks
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
Developed countries pledged to deliver funding by 2020
Climate negotiators are deadlocked on what to do after that
A successful outcome to the United Nations global-warming talks under way in Paris rests on solving the money question: how will rich countries make good on a promise to deliver $100 billion a year of aid to poorer nations for climate-related projects?

U.S. Inflames Debate on Climate Finance With Plan for UN Talks
By Reed Landberg – Bloomberg News
The U.S. fired the opening salvo in the debate about financing the fight against climate change, suggesting the United Nations ask more countries to contribute.

Tax Me, Says Exxon Mobil, in Declaring Support for Climate Talks
By Alex Nussbaum – Bloomberg News
Exxon Mobil Corp., a favorite target of global warming activists, said Wednesday that it’s hopeful for a deal out of the climate-change talks in Paris and still thinks the best solution is a tax on carbon pollution.

New research finds that global warming is intensifying wildfires; A new study finds a human fingerprint in growing California wildfire risks
John Abraham – The Guardian
A new paper was just published which provides a glimpse into the future of wildfires. The paper is titled “Extreme fire season in California: A glimpse into the future?” It was published as the second chapter of “Explaining Extreme Events of 2014” which is from by the American Meteorological Society and it is available here. The lead-in summary to the article is very much to the point.

How Cheap Crude Stalled America’s Booming Oil Trains; It was a record year for oil train mishaps—and the year crude-by-rail hit the brakes.
Matthew Philips – Bloomberg
It’s been several months since an oil train accident grabbed big headlines—but not because there haven’t been any. A single weekend in November saw two trains derail in Wisconsin. The first spilled about 20,000 gallons of ethanol into the Mississippi River, followed a day later by a spill of about 1,000 gallons of North Dakota Bakken crude.


China: Ex-regulator calls for market reforms
By: Sid Verma – Euromoney
Gao urges SOE defaults; financial reform should precede capital liberalization.

MSCI Inclusion: Win-Win Situation For Baidu Inc (ADR) And Chinese Stock Exchange
China Business News
The news of addition on MSCI will surely put pressure on index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to purchase Chinese A-shares. Speculators are thinking of buying Baidu Shares, realizing that index funds would be purchasing it soon. The same ought to happen in China-exchanged stocks.

Indonesia to roll out tax amnesty plan
Indonesia plans to roll out a controversial tax amnesty plan this month, pulling in an annual Rp100trn ($7.2bn) by offering a discounted rate to taxpayers who declare their income. Efforts to expand the tax base — which came in at Rp1,143.3trn, or 70 per cent of total government revenues, last year — come as President Joko Widodo’s administration struggles to fund bold pledges made on building infrastructure and improving social welfare.

Double whammy: Singapore’s banks pummeled with weak lending activity and rising NPLs
Singapore Business Review
They won’t be matching their robust performance soon. Singapore’s banks are facing double haymakers in the gut as a tepid loan growth is further aggravated by non-performing loans (NPLs).

Frontier Markets

Argentina Suspends New Currency Futures as Weaker Peso Looms
Carolina Millan – Bloomberg
Opposition had said that central bank was `defrauding’ public
Onshore currency contracts may total $10 billion, Elypsis says
Argentina’s securities regulator put a moratorium on creating new currency futures as prosecutors probe allegations that the central bank was selling the derivatives at below-market rates to prop up the peso.

North Korea wants to open up its economy, and a small program in free-market Singapore shows how
The Washington Post
Innovation boot camps, social media marketing, chief technology officers. These are hardly the kinds of words expected from North Koreans.

Mongolia and Angola are most exposed to China, says Moody’s
Double whammy of dependence on commodities and falling demand puts both countries at risk


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