Back to Work
By John J. Lothian
I am back to work today. Today will be my first day back in the office after going under the knife for shoulder surgery. Of course, I will be taking tomorrow off, but that is only to get the stitches out.
Thank you for all the good wishes and prayers, not only for my surgery but also for the passing of my uncle, Thomas A. Lothian, II. They really helped me
Thank you to my great team for working so hard in my absence and JLN coming out without a hitch. You are a great group and I could not be more proud of you.
Now, back to work!
Why finance is too much of a good thing
Martin Wolf, FT.com
Is it possible to have too much finance? Harmed by the aftermath of financial crises, enraged by bailouts of financial institutions, irritated by the generous remuneration, aghast at repeated malfeasance and infuriated by the impunity of those responsible, most ordinary people would find it all too easy to answer: yes.
***** There is a strong belief in some quarters that we have too much finance and these powers are trying their best to shrink the industry. Of course, we are doing a pretty good job ourselves of doing the same thing.
What’s Hot in the Art World? Algorithms
In March, Daniel Benitez, a cinema executive in Miami, paid $2,500 for a necktie. It wasn’t just any strip of designer neckwear. Imprinted on the blue silk were six lines of computer code that once brought the motion picture industry to its knees.’ To the unschooled eye, the algorithm script on the tie, known formally as “qrpff,” looks like a lengthy typographical error.
***** If a taxi driver bought the tie, then I would worry.
Kilting for Quid; Kilting for Kids
Doug Ashburn – JLN
You may recall that at last year’s IDX dinner, FIA CEO Walt Lukken put on the kilt for Futures for Kids, and helped the organization reach a milestone – £2 million raised for the charity since its inception. He then passed the magic sporran to FIA Europe CEO Simon Puleston-Jones, who on June 10, 2015, will take his place among such illustrious Kilt Challenge alumni as Clive Furness, Simon Rostron, Jeremy Grant and, of course, our own John Lothian, who did the honor in 2011.
***** Please support Simon in his fund raising for this worthy cause. I had great fun wearing the kilt for kids back in 2011.
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Regulation alone will not restore faith in markets
Few mechanisms underpin modern life to quite the same extent as the wholesale markets that lie at the heart of the financial system. What may seem like arcane bits of financial plumbing, these determine the borrowing costs of households and companies, the prices at which currencies are exchanged and influence the cost of basic necessities such as food and raw materials.
***** It will take leadership. Make that LEADERSHIP.
Goldman tops 2015 City of London bank bonus charts
Bankers at Goldman Sachs received the highest bonuses in London’s banking industry this year but bonuses paid out by the top 10 banks were down overall compared to last year, a survey published on Wednesday showed. Goldman Sachs bankers received an average bonus of 194,000 pounds ($300,000), some 14 percent more than their peers at second-placed Morgan Stanley, according to salary benchmarking site Emolument.com.
***** Time to hit up your Goldman friends for a loan?
OCC Comments on S&P Reaffirmation of AA+/Stable Rating
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today commented on the reaffirmation of its AA+/Stable rating by Standard & Poor’s.
“We’re pleased with the reaffirmation of our AA+/Stable rating by Standard & Poor’s. The report reflects the outstanding work by the management and employees of OCC to strengthen the resiliency, risk management and capitalization of our company,” said Craig Donohue, Executive Chairman. “As a SIFMU, we understand the importance of continued vigilance and internal oversight in order to strengthen our role as the foundation for secure markets.”
**JK – To see a nice summary of changes at OCC, see our recent interview “Clearing Evolution: Michael McClain on the changes at OCC” at http://jlne.ws/1EQdd2l
High profile ‘spoofing’ cases put traders on edge
Lucy Ren – Medill Reports Chicago
Traders are on notice and looking for ways to avoid even the appearance of being market manipulators as prosecutors and regulators crack down on spoofing, an illegal practice that was blamed in part for setting off a “flash crash” in 2010.
Spoofing involves pushing a market price in one direction by entering large numbers of orders, then quickly canceling them. This tricks other investors into buying or selling at artificially high or low prices.
Nasdaq to step up blockchain trials
By Philip Stafford and Nicole Bullock in New York, FT.com
Nasdaq, the US exchanges operator, this year plans to increase the number of trials with the decentralised network that underpins bitcoin. The New York group expects to debut three or four trials of the ledger in trade processing in the next 12 months, in a move that Bob Greifeld, the group’s chief executive, hopes could radically reshape some of the US’s sometimes cumbersome and slow-moving market plumbing.
Deutsche Boerse Offers Yuan Products in Chinese Markets Venture
Deutsche Boerse AG is creating a joint venture with two Chinese exchanges to offer yuan-denominated instruments, giving European investors increased access to the world’s second-largest economy. The agreement between the German markets operator, Shanghai Stock Exchange and China Financial Futures Exchange will establish a Frankfurt-based venue for investors based outside China to trade renminbi-denominated securities, according to a statement on Wednesday. The venture, called China Europe International Exchange, will start offering cash instruments in the fourth quarter.
U.K. ‘Flash Crash’ Trader’s Lawyer Says Bail Conditions ‘Illegal’
A lawyer representing Navinder Singh Sarao, the U.K. trader arrested on charges of manipulating futures prices and contributing to the market “flash-crash” in 2010, said the £5 million ($7.7 million) bail set by U.K. judges was illegal because Mr. Sarao’s assets have been frozen. “As it stands, it is impossible and illegal to meet the [bail] conditions,” said solicitor Richard Egan, speaking to reporters after a court hearing in London on Tuesday. Mr. Egan said he would keep fighting for a review of the conditions set for the trader’s temporary release.
SEC fines Deutsche Bank for accounting irregularities in crisis
U.S. officials said Deutsche Bank misstated its financial accounts during the peak of the financial crisis and fined the bank $55 million to settle the long-running probe into the valuation of complex derivatives. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did not bring any cases against individuals, nor did the bank admit or deny allegations connected to trading “leveraged super senior” (LSS) derivatives dating back to late 2008 and early 2009.
More Swiss banks to settle with U.S. DoJ in near future – official
More Swiss banks are expected to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice “in the near future” to avoid prosecution on charges of helping U.S. account holders hide their assets from the tax authorities, a senior Swiss finance ministry official said on Tuesday.
Fed’s Lacker says letting banks fail will restore market discipline
Policymakers must ensure that financial industry creditors do not expect government bailouts and must be willing to let firms fail in order to restore market discipline, a top Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday.
CFTC admits it will miss deadline on swap dealer study
Delay raises questions about automatic cut to de minimis threshold in 2017 A delayed CFTC study is raising questions about an automatic cut to the de minimis threshold for swap dealer registration planned for December 2017
Two states sue U.S. SEC over JOBS Act public offering rules
Massachusetts and Montana have each filed legal challenges to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new “Regulation A” rules governing certain small public offerings, saying the rules wrongfully scale back their powers to police the deals
Lehman collapse shapes Bank of England’s trading test for lenders
Britain’s top banks will be tested this year for their ability to cope with the type of market mayhem that followed the collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, the Bank of England said on Tuesday.
Financial advisers’ to be put under ASIC scrutiny
The corporate watchdog will examine the internal working cultures at financial advice firms in an attempt to stop more customers being “fleeced”.
Remarks Of CFTC Chairman Timothy Massad Before The Natural Gas Roundtable (Washington, D.C.)
When it comes to managing market risk, I suspect there are few industries that have faced more challenge than the oil and gas industry in recent years. The changes in supply and demand that all of you must contend with have been significant. The shale revolution has had dramatic effects on price and changed fundamental assumptions about our domestic production capabilities. Five or six years ago, there was hardly any shale production in the Marcellus region, and in April it was over 16 billion cubic feet per day. And you have always faced the challenges created by the basic structure of the gas market, such as the fact that it is largely domestic and demand can vary significantly depending on the unpredictable effects of weather.
EBA Publishes Guidelines On Triggers For Resolution
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today its final Guidelines on the circumstances under which an institution shall be considered as ‘failing or likely to fail’ (triggers for resolution). These Guidelines aim at promoting convergence of EU supervisory and resolution practices in relation to how resolution should be triggered.
Exchanges & Trading Facilities
Shanghai Stock Exchange, China Financial Futures Exchange and Deutsche Börse agree on joint venture
Deutsche Börse Group – Press releases
The venture is designed to support the internationalisation of the Chinese currency; therefore, products will be offered in Renminbi (RMB). The company will be named ‘China Europe International Exchange’ and will commence market operations in Q4 2015. The initial scope of product development will cover cash market products for market launch.
What does the future hold for exchange-traded FX in Europe?
The Trade News
The push by exchanges to boost their FX volumes has continued in earnest in the last few years. FX on the CME is currently trading at around $108 billion of daily volume, still a drop in the ocean compared to over-the-counter (OTC) volumes, but it is growing to attract at least a small sliver of the market. Craig LeVeille, executive director, FX products, at CME Group, believes that the industry is looking for more structure, either through industry initiatives, or moving onto exchanges, because it can’t find the protection needed in the OTC market.
Euronext Brussels Officially Opens Its New Office
Euronext Brussels today officially inaugurated its new office in Brussels in the presence of the Belgian Minister of Finance, Johan Van Overtveldt. Euronext’s new office is located in the Marquis Building, Rue du Marquis, 1, in Brussels, next to the Central Station.
Dalian Commodity Exchange Actively Promotes Internationalization of Iron Ore Futures Market
Li Zhengqiang, Chairman of Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), said at the LME Week Asia 2015 held on the 20th that DCE is taking the opportunity of opening up the iron ore futures to vigorously promote the internationalization of the futures market based in Dalian.
DGCX’s MoU With Bank Of China Seeks To Increase Interaction Between UAE And Chinese Financial Markets
The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bank of China (BOC). The agreement creates a framework for both institutions to work together to enhance interaction and collaboration between the derivatives and financial markets of the UAE and China.
Performance Bond Requirements Coal Outrights and Interest Rates Intra-Commodity Spread Charges – May 26, 2015
CME Group Delivery Dates for June 2015
Hedge Funds & Managed Futures
What happens to your portfolio when (if) interest rates rise?
The Reformed Broker
We can’t know in advance. But we can try to get an understanding of what went down during previous hiking cycles. This will be the hysterical topic du jour in the financial media for the rest of the summer (trust me, I attend the planning meetings). My new article for Fortune Magazine, published today, encompasses all of the historical context you need to inure yourself (and your portfolio) from the noise.
Fed rate hikes may trigger global volatility: Fischer
When the Federal Reserve raises U.S. interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, it should weigh the effects on global economies and can expect some bouts of financial market volatility, a top Fed official said on Tuesday.
With Short-Term Goals, Go for a Bird in the Hand
A friend of mine recently sold his house. It will be a few years before he’ll buy another one. Because the house was worth a lot more than what he and his wife owed the bank on their mortgage, they are now sitting on a pile of money and wondering what to do with it.
Oil rally drives producer hedging
A rally in oil prices that has pushed WTI spot levels above US$60 has drawn a spate of hedging activity as producers look to lock in 2016 cashflows. California Resources Corporation, Cenovus Energy, EP Energy, EQT Corporation, Marathon Oil, Hess Corporation, Gulfport Energy, and Whiting Petroleum all initiated new hedges or added to existing hedges in the first quarter on the back of a US$10 rally from early January.
Banks & Brokers
Baby Boomer brokers face shrinking market to sell firms
Steven Dudash, like most brokers, spends a lot of time making it easier for his clients to retire. This summer, though, his plan is to make it easier for older brokers to retire. After starting IHT Wealth Management in Chicago in June with six brokers, Dudash says he will buy four businesses from retiring brokers in coming months. The acquisitions will boost the assets his firm looks after to more than $800 million.
Stock Trader KCG Emerges From Brink As Leaner Fighter
It’s been nearly two years since Knight Capital Group merged with white-knight rescuer Getco Holding, resulting in a new independent trading firm, KCG Holdings. A year before the merger, a computer trading glitch caused Knight to famously lose $440 million in less than an hour. Getco didn’t have the same name recognition as Knight, but it brought capital, high-speed traders and cutting-edge technology to the table. The merger and IPO were completed in July 2013.
Citi keeps top spot in FX trading as European banks slump: poll
European banks Deutsche Bank, Barclays and UBS have seen their market share in foreign exchange trading slump in the past year, as U.S. banks led by Citigroup (C.N) grabbed business, according to widely watched industry rankings.
Thomson Reuters Named Best Multibank and Independent Platform in Euromoney FX Poll for 13th Year
Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today announced that its dealer-to-customer trading venue, FXall, has again been named “Best multibank and independent platform” in this year’s Euromoney Foreign Exchange Survey for the 13th consecutive year.
SocGen deal for Bache illustrates commodity trading woe
Societe Generale is picking apart Bache – a commodities house and the last link to a historic Wall Street name – in another sign of how trading in raw materials has fallen on hard times.
RBS Seen Facing $4.5 Billion Tab to Settle U.S. Mortgage Lawsuit
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s largest taxpayer-owned lender, could pay as much as $4.5 billion to resolve claims of misconduct in its handling of U.S. mortgage securities, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Ex-Trader Is Painted as ‘Ringmaster’ at Libor-Rigging Trial
Tom Hayes, a 35-year-old former trader for Citigroup and UBS, was the “ringmaster” in a concerted effort to manipulate global benchmark interest rates to make as much money as he could, prosecutors said on Tuesday in a London court.
Clearing & Settlement
ESMA calls for modification of UCITS Directive
In the Opinion, ESMA calls for a modification of the UCITS Directive to take into account the clearing obligations for certain types of over-the-counter (OTC) financial derivative transactions under EMIR.
LCH extends FX clearing to European clients
Futures & Options World
London-based clearing house LCH.Clearnet said it has extended its foreign exchange client clearing offering to European accounts as planned and won the backing of four brokers for the new service.
Clearing brokers urged to “hang in there”
The Trade News
Clearing brokers considering exiting the market have been urged to weather the storm by one industry expert who can see the capital rules changing in the coming years. New capital intensive rules such as the supplementary leverage ratio is forcing intermediaries to reconsider their client clearing businesses. As a result, RBS, BNY Mellon and most recently Nomura have pulled away from offering OTC client clearing services.
First Options Trade registered via Straight-Through- Processing for clearing at ECC
On 18 May, for the first time an Options trade was registered at the European Energy Exchange (EEX) for clearing at European Commodity Clearing (ECC) via Straight-Through-Processing (STP). The STP service enables transactions concluded or registered at the exchange to be routed to the clearing house automatically without the need for further manual intervention.
Indexes & Products
FTSE Russell rolls out EM indices that include China A shares
FTSE Russell has paved the way for the inclusion of domestic Chinese shares in global benchmarks with the launch of two new emerging market indices, marking a further step in the opening of China’s financial markets.
Invesco PowerShares and FTSE Russell Expand Smart Beta Relationship with Complete Pure Style Portfolios
The PowerShares Russell Pure Style Portfolios include six ETFs that can be used as tactical tools to tilt an existing style allocation according to market dynamics. Unlike traditional style indexes that weight constituents based upon market capitalization, the Russell Pure Style Index methodology weights constituents based upon their relative style characteristics, delivering enhanced style precision and eliminating the overlap between growth and value stocks that is inherent in traditional methodology.
Deutsche Börse welcomes Van Eck Global as new ETF issuer ETFs based on global companies in the gold mining industry
Deutsche Börse Group – Press releases
Two exchange-listed index funds from the new issuer Van Eck Global are tradable on Xetra and Börse Frankfurt from Wednesday for the first time. Investors can choose between two Market Vectors ETFs that enable access to global gold mining companies.
STOXX Changes Composition Of Benchmark Indices
STOXX Limited, the market-moving provider of innovative, tradable and global index concepts, today announced the new composition of STOXX Benchmarks and their sub and sector indices, among them the STOXX Europe 600 Index, STOXX North America 600 Index and STOXX Asia/Pacific 600 Index.
41 stocks see outperformance on MSCI inclusion
Business Standard News
Though short-term investors can buy these stocks in a hope to make quick returns, long-term investors should look at company fundamentals before investing, say analysts
Tech Firms Seek Ways to Fend Off Activist Investors
When it comes to activist investors, Silicon Valley is still developing ways to defend itself. Activists like Carl Icahn and Jana Partners have rattled tech giants including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. in recent years, urging strategy shifts or financial moves to boost share prices.
FENICS renews its agreement to provide FX options data to ORE, a Leader in OTC option solutions
FENICS, a leading provider of FX options software, announced today that it has renewed and extended its agreement with ORE, a leader in retail-friendly OTC option solutions for web, mobile and MetaTrader4 platforms. Under the terms of the agreement, FENICS will continue to provide ORE with its composite feed for FX options data derived from its premier option pricing, risk management, and lifecycle management software.
S3 Launches Canadian Best Execution Quality Suite
S3 (“the Company”), a financial services software company that provides customized solutions to monitor and analyze trade execution, today from the 2015 TSX Equities Trading Conference announced the launch of its Canadian Best Execution Quality Suite (“the Suite”). The Suite, representing the Company’s international expansion as the first offering on its World View reporting platform, includes a number of components designed to offer traders sophisticated information on differing market conditions between the U.S. and Canada.
Acquiring proven entrepreneurs is a smart way to innovate
Nearly every company understands the urgent need for innovation. Technology and globalisation have so accelerated change that scale and power — once the greatest strengths — have become weaknesses because they impair an organisation’s ability to adapt. The problem is, the term “innovation” is used so broadly that it has become virtually meaningless.
Cost of data breaches increasing to average of $3.8 mln, study says
The cost of data breaches is rising for companies around the world as sophisticated thieves target valuable financial and medical records, according to a study released on Wednesday. The total average cost of a data breach is now $3.8 million, up from $3.5 million a year ago, according to a study by data security research organization Ponemon Institute, paid for by International Business Machines Corp.
Global Hedge Fund Whitebox Advisors Selects Options As Its Managed IT Provider
The firm, headquartered in Minneapolis, has migrated its entire technology stack to the Options platform
Options, the leading managed service and IT infrastructure provider to the global capital markets industry, has today announced that the Minnesota-based hedge fund, Whitebox Advisors, has selected Options as its new managed IT provider. The deal has seen Whitebox migrate its entire global technology stack, which was previously managed internally, to the Options platform, with the fund now leveraging the IaaS provider’s managed platform and managed application service offerings.
SEC Charges Deutsche Bank With Misstating Financial Reports During Financial Crisis
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Deutsche Bank AG with filing misstated financial reports during the height of the financial crisis that failed to take into account a material risk for potential losses estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $55 million penalty to settle the charges.
SEC Charges New York Lawyer and Two Promoters With Market Manipulation
The SEC alleges that Adam S. Gottbetter orchestrated promotional campaigns that touted the prospects of microcap companies and enticed investors to buy their stock at inflated prices so he and his cohorts could sell shares they controlled and reap massive profits. Gottbetter enlisted Mitchell G. Adam and K. David Stevenson to help him in the last of three schemes he conducted in a six-year period.
Supreme Court Rules on Whistle-Blower Case and Bankruptcy Judges
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of military contractors facing a whistle-blower lawsuit and expanded the power of bankruptcy judges to decide claims ordinarily litigated in other federal courts.
Statement By The UK Financial Conduct Authority On Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance Ltd
In November 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance Ltd (Plevin) that a failure to disclose to a client a large commission payment on a single premium PPI policy made the relationship between a lender and the borrower unfair under section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Environmental & Energy
Climate rule would bring power sector’s carbon to historic low
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
The Obama administration’s climate rule for the power sector would bring that industry’s carbon dioxide output to its lowest level in decades.
***LB: Also in this story “The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule would cut power plants’ carbon to about 1,500 million metric tons a year by 2025.”
EU carbon market prices expected to rise next year
By Devin Henry – The Hill
For the first time since 2011, traders in the European Union’s carbon emissions market expect the continent’s carbon prices to rise next year, according to a survey of market participants.
EEX, EPEX SPOT, Gaspoint Nordic and Powernext to launch REMIT reporting services on 7 October
As of 7 October 2015, the European Energy Exchange (EEX), EPEX SPOT, Gaspoint Nordic and Powernext – all members of the EEX Group – will offer joint services for the reporting of the Regulation on Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT) data. With this step, market participants will be enabled to delegate their reporting obligations to those companies.
Carbon Pricing Is Expanding: Initiatives Now Valued at Nearly $50 Billion
The new Carbon Pricing Watch compiles the latest data on formal carbon pricing initiatives around the world. Several carbon taxes and one of the world’s largest emissions trading systems started in the past year and a half, and more are planned in the coming years.
World Resources Institute Report Outlines US Carbon Pricing Alternatives
By Sandy Dechert – Ecosystem Marketplace
This May, the World Resources Institute, a global research organization spanning over 50 countries, released Putting a Price on Carbon: A Handbook for U.S. Policymakers, an important reference guide that addresses decarbonization and its interaction with many other policy priorities.
Financing Asian tycoons hits banking’s sweet spots
What can a bank offer the successful chief executive who has just listed his company and become a multimillionaire or billionaire? For financiers in Asia chasing closer ties to the region’s wealthiest people, the answer is proving simple enough: cash to bet on China’s soaring markets.
China Blows Its Debt Bubble Bigger
There are plenty of reasons one could argue China isn’t on the verge of a debt crisis: The country has $3.7 trillion in currency reserves, a closed financial system and ambitious leaders who claim to be on the case. And doesn’t the biggest rally in Chinese stocks since 2008 count for anything?
China Securities Regulatory Commission, Shenzhen Stock Exchange And Hong Kong Securities And Futures Commission Collaborate To Provide Infrastructure Services For Mutual Recognition To Cross-border Funds
Based on a good understanding of both markets, the Data Exchange Protocol for Cross-border Trading has been issued as the technical standard for the Mutual Recognition. The infrastructure services include data transmission for cross-border fund sales, fund-share registrar, nominee holding, cross-border capital settlement, information disclosure, online signing, floor trading, etc. http://jlne.ws/1EwZSZg
Thai Bourse Launches Integrated Online Resources, Moving Towards Digital Economy
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), moving towards a digital economy with an advanced digital exchange, has unveiled integrated online resources via its website (www.set.or.th) as well as new applications for smart phones and tablets to reach more investors.
MSCI-Multi years before UAE, Qatar indices to be upgraded again
A reclassification of the UAE and Qatar indices could be a multi-year process, that may take about 8-10 years depending on accessibility for foreign investors, Sebastien Lieblich, head of index research at MSCI told Gulf News.
Emerging Market ETFs Ride China Wave
Emerging market funds are in full bloom. Despite a looming rate rise by the Federal Reserve, a strong U.S. dollar and uneven performance among emerging markets, exchange-traded funds that track the space have sprung to life since the start of April.