John Lothian Newsletter: A Top Nasdaq Executive Steps Down; Jefferies Withdrawal Renews Questions on LME Ring Future; Europe Market Structure Debate Needs More Consensus, Katz Says

Nov 26, 2013

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Today John Lothian News premiers a new and improved front page of MarketsWiki, our online global markets knowledge base. We are introducing this updated look to MarketsWiki to incorporate improvements realized from the new website.

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MarketsWiki has seen about 12.5 million page views so far this year and currently sits at about 44.5 million page views since the site began in 2008.


CBOT Building Construction Ghost?
With the CBOT Building putting the final touches on unveiling its new lobby, I could not help but notice the artwork on the plywood wall in the Annex lobby. Is it me, or is the picture of the person walking through the lobby picture on the plywood artwork former CBOT CEO Bernie Dan? Mr. Dan is still with us, but this person pictured looks to me like it could be the now president of Sun Trading. If you are walking through the CBOT Building annex lobby, check it out and let me know who you think it is? BTW, the new CBOT Building lobby will be opening soon.


RBC Urges SEC to Test Overhaul of Exchange Business Model
Michael P. Regan – Bloomberg
The practice among stock exchanges of paying rebates to some traders puts long-term investors at a disadvantage and the Securities and Exchange Commission should consider eliminating the system, RBC Capital Markets said.

***** How about we start over and the SEC does what it is supposed to do?


Will financial innovation find a way?
Cardiff Garcia | FT Alphaville
Raise capital and liquidity standards. Force institutions to internalise the previously-socialised consequences of their sins. Curb Too Big To Fail. Increase transparency in markets that engage in maturity transformation. Backstop money-like instruments in exchange for closer regulatory scrutiny. Does any of it matter?

***** While they are at it, they should make water into wine.


Kim Taylor

What’s in a name? CME’s Kim Taylor Says Extra Cost
Clearinghouses are now considered systemically important to financial markets. But with that designation are new regulations and capital requirements. John Lothian News sat down with Kim Taylor of CME Clearing to talk about how a new requirement will raise costs for market participants. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulation 39-33, passed on November 15, is a capital requirement that is set to be implemented by the end of the year. It calls for US-based clearinghouses to be designated as qualified central counterparties (QCCPs), which ultimately would give them more favorable capital requirements under Basel III but tough capital US guidelines.

Watch the video »


DTCC Limit Monitoring To Provide An Early Warning System To Help Identify Unusual Trading Activity And Trading Limit Breaches
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) announced that National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) has filed a proposed rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide its members with a new tool designed to serve as an early warning system that alerts those firms to trading activity that is nearing defined trading limits.

***DA: We spoke with DTCC’s Bill Kapogiannis about the new tool, which will become available to DTCC member firms in mid-January, pending regulatory approval. It is based on a pre-determined dollar-value net notional exposure limit, and will generate messages as limits are approached and/or breached. He also said that, though the limits are being rolled out in the equity markets, they are adaptable to other asset classes, with equity options the next possible target. With Reg. SCI entering the pre-trade environment and this tool in the post-trade space, will this mean the end of fat finger crashes and Knightmares?


Speed Traders Meet Nightmare on Elm Street With Nanex
Michael P. Regan – Bloomberg
The nemesis of Wall Street’s high-frequency traders operates out of an apartment-sized office above the Bliss Salon — manicure/pedicure $45 — on Elm Street in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka. Staring at four computer monitors, Eric Scott Hunsader, the founder of market-data provider Nanex LLC, looks for hints of illicit trading hidden in psychedelic images of triangles dancing with dots that represent quotes to buy and sell U.S. stocks broken down by the millisecond.

***JM: Stripping away the drama, whether there is evil to be punished or not, it can be useful to have someone looking for trouble during a time when new processes are being put in place.

*****JL: There is not a bogeyman behind every corner, but there is data everywhere.


Don’t Shoot the Messenger
David Craig – TabbFORUM
Chat rooms and instant messaging have become ingrained in how business is conducted across the financial landscape. Banning them as a result of recent scandals would do more harm than good.

***** Without chatrooms and discussion forums I never would have met my COO Jon Matte.

***JM: I’ll go find that Beautiful Music cd, it’s around here somewhere…


Is the SEC’s New Enforcement Zeal for Real?
William D. Cohan – Bloomberg
Mary Jo White, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been on a charm offensive of late, hoping to prove that her agency is no longer the lap dog of Wall Street.

***** I don’t know about the securities world, but the futures world operations people are terrified by the amount of regulation and the fines coming from the regulators. This is not a way to live.


Hedging and the Volcker Rule
Philip McBride Johnson – FOW
The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 commanded a group of US financial regulators to adopt a prohibition against deposit-taking banks using their own money to place bets in the market (“proprietary trading”). Three years later, no such rule exists even after JP Morgan Chase showed the need by losing over $5 billion in just such a venture a year or so ago. The hang-up appears to relate to a single question: What is “hedging”?

***** Hedging is a spec trade that you have to hold overnight. Wait, that is a position trade. Sorry.


ISDA: Financial Transaction Tax: The Impacts And Arguments – A Literature Review
With continuing uncertainty over the potential plans for the introduction of a multi-jurisdictional financial transaction tax in Europe, PWC has compiled a literature review distilling the main points from a large body of literature that has been generated to date on the European Commission’s proposal for a harmonised FTT.

***** ISDA throws a FTT.


Gensler’s Last Stand on Swaps Has Street Calling Lawyers
Silla Brush and Robert Schmidt – Bloomberg
Wall Street banks reeling from a flurry of activity by departing U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler are considering taking the agency to court.

***** Did you see the commentary in the press about what happens when we have an excess of lawyers?


Gold Fix Drawing Scrutiny Amid Knowledge Tied to Eruption
Liam Vaughan, Nicholas Larkin & Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Every business day in London, five banks meet to set the price of gold in a ritual that dates back to 1919. Now, dealers and economists say knowledge gleaned on those calls could give some traders an unfair advantage when buying and selling the precious metal.

***** There have always been information advantages being in the ring, pit, or the unfortunately named “fix.” It is certainly fair to examine and update arcane market structures to insure increased fairness, integrity and transparency.


Ken Pigaga appointed Chief Operating Officer of ICAP
ICAP plc, a leading markets operator and provider of post trade risk mitigation and information services, announces that Ken Pigaga has been appointed Global Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Michael Spencer, ICAP’s Group Chief Executive Officer.



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Lead Stories

A Top Nasdaq Executive Steps Down
One of the top executives at Nasdaq OMX, Eric Noll, is leaving the company to lead the brokerage firm ConvergEx Group. Mr. Noll, who oversaw Nasdaq’s trading operations in the United States, was seen as one of the leading candidates to succeed Robert Greifeld as chief executive and was one of the company’s primary public faces.

**** I am sorry to see Eric Noll go.

Jefferies Withdrawal Renews Questions on LME Ring Future
Francesca Freeman and Anna Irrera – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Just 14 months after it first joined the London Metal Exchange’s historic ring-dealing community, Jefferies Bache is packing its bags. The futures-brokerage arm of U.S. investment bank Jefferies said Monday it has reversed its decision of a year ago and downgraded its LME membership, meaning its traders will leave Europe’s last open-outcry trading floor.

***** When they get down to 4 in the ring, is it a square? Or will it be a rhombus? Trapezoid sounds more sinister.

Europe Market Structure Debate Needs More Consensus, Katz Says
Nandini Sukumar – Bloomberg
Amid a public debate about whether modern equity markets are fair, reliable and transparent, the European securities industry’s key players must collaborate more on resolving differences, according to the new chairman of the region’s main lobbying group for exchanges.

Bats Global Markets says options trading disrupted
Bats Global Markets Inc. said its U.S. options market isn’t able to trade certain contracts because of an unspecified “issue.”

Comment: Broking faces change from ‘unbundling’ effects
Richard Balarkas –
The Financial Conduct Authority’s planned review of the practice of “bundled commission payments” was one of a series of recent announcements that hint at a concerted effort to “bootstrap” a UK financial services sector still mired in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It could yet have a profound effect on bank earnings.

RBS report author Andrew Large urges UK banks to review SME care
Andrew Bounds –
All banks should review how they treat small business customers in distress, according to the man who called for Royal Bank of Scotland to look into allegations it drove businesses into insolvency to seize their assets.

RBS reports ‘deeply troubling’: Bank of England’s Carney
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said he was concerned by reports that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) mistreated small businesses and said they needed to be investigated fully.

Another Day. Another U.K. Banking Probe
Max Colchester – MoneyBeat – WSJ
It’s a weekday. That means someone, somewhere in the U.K, must be probing a bank. Or publishing a report on a probe. Or probing a report on a bank. Or planning one. Check, check, check and check.


ASIC to report on dark pool curbs in new year
Michelle Price in Hong Kong – Financial News
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is to commence an analysis of its anonymous trading restrictions and expects to publish its findings in the new year, according to an individual familiar with the regulator’s plans.

ASIC Goes Live With New Surveillance System – First Derivatives
First Derivatives, a leading provider of software and consulting services to global investment banks, brokers, hedge funds and exchanges, today announces the successful implementation of its market surveillance system at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Capital Markets Regulatory Labyrinths Require Different Thinking
Senthil Radhakrishnan – Wall Street & Technology
Regulatory impact and related compliance changes can be thought of as labyrinths, and investment banks and other capital market firms are constantly playing catch up. In some situations, compliance adherence is controlled and methodical, while in others its ad-hoc and a scramble to meet deadlines.

Risk, complexity and the regulator
Tim Mortimer –
This is the first of three articles on the subject of risk and complexity, two themes that are forever occupying the minds of regulators who turn their attention to retail structured products. In the first of these, we outline the current position. We will look at risk and complexity in more detail in the subsequent articles.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

The Deal: Sense of the Markets: For Now at Least, Euronext May Stay Single
A planned initial public offering of Euronext has raised the possibility of a takeover of the pan-European exchange operator but potential trade buyers are likely to be wary. On top of that, political pressure from Paris, concerned about being financially sidelined by Frankfurt and London, may make a sale to a foreign bidder even more difficult.

Aquis Exchange Begins Trading European Stocks
Marina Daras – WatersTechnology
Newly formed pan-European equities trading venue Aquis Exchange started its trading operations today, Tuesday Nov. 26, hoping to shake up the exchange pricing model and bring more competition to the region.

SIX strengthens market for structured products in Switzerland
As of 1 January 2014 the brand identity of the exchange for structured products will be integrated into SIX and the Swiss Exchange business area. Backed by the strength of the SIX brand, the Swiss exchange for structured products will be able in future to address the special characteristics of the Swiss market and contribute to its continuing development.

Deutsche Boerse AG : Budapest Bourse to Launch Xetra Trading Platform Dec 6
The Budapest Stock Exchange will switch to the Xetra trading platform Dec. 6, a change aimed at boosting liquidity due to higher international access to the bourse, the BSE said Monday.

Hellenic Exchanges S.A.: HELEX 9M 2013 Financial Results

Hellenic Exchanges S.A.: 1st Repetitive General Meeting Of HELEX

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Carlyle to Buy Firm That Invests in Hedge Funds
Gregory Zuckerman –
Carlyle Group LP said it will acquire Diversified Global Asset Management Corp., a Toronto-based investor in hedge funds, as the firm continues to expand from private equity.

FCA tightens fund manager cash-for-access rules
Mark Cobley – Financial News
Asset managers should not use clients’ funds to pay bankers to arrange meetings with company executives, the UK’s market regulator said today, cracking down on a practice worth £500 million to the sellside in 2012.

The role of dark inventory in the commodities bull run of 2008
Izabella Kaminska | FT Alphaville
We’ve argued before that the 2005-2007 commodity bull-run could have been the product of an unwitting self-manufactured squeeze, as the industry rushed to monetise as much inventory as possible to benefit from higher than usual interest rates and as inventory levels dropped. (All pretty much unwittingly, of course.)

Small FoHF proves experience and nimbleness produce performance
Emma Cusworth –
Headstart Fund of Funds managed by Headstart Advisers has coped through different and challenging market environments. It now hopes to grow assets through a more diverse client base

Altor founding partner plots solo fund
Alec Macfarlane – Financial News
A founding partner of Nordic mid-market buyout firm Altor is planning to return to the market with his own fund, joining a string of senior executives who have chosen to brave a tough fundraising market for first-time managers.

Xetra/FWB: Subscription Launch For Hörmann Finance GmbH Corporate Bond

Banks & Brokers

Goldman Sachs: Masters of Suspense
Katie Martin – MoneyBeat – WSJ
It’s that time of year again: Goldman Sachs is sharing the wisdom. Last week, if you recall, the firm revealed its top 10 macro themes for the year ahead. Monday, it started releasing its closely-watched top trade recommendations.

The J.P. Morgan Settlement: Misconceptions Debunked
Francesco Guerrera – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Don’t fight the Fed. For the past few years, capital markets have lived by the golden rule of not pushing against the easy-money policies of the U.S. central bank. Following last Tuesday’s mortgage settlement between J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and the Justice Department, banks should abide by a slightly amended version of that maxim: Don’t fight the Feds.

Bank of Cyprus grabs 2nd ex-RBS banker for turnaround
Bank of Cyprus has called on a second former senior banker from Royal Bank of Scotland to lead its restructuring following this year’s international bailout of Cyprus.

Citigroup can’t block Abu Dhabi arbitration over $7.5 billion stake
A U.S. judge has rejected Citigroup Inc’s effort to block the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority from seeking a second arbitration over the sovereign wealth fund’s $7.5 billion investment in late 2007 to shore up the then-struggling bank.

Clearing & Settlement

Markit, HKEx connect for OTC rates & FX clearing
MarkitSERV, the global electronic trade processing service for over-the-counter derivatives, now connects customers to OTC Clearing Hong Kong (OTC Clear), the OTC derivatives clearing service established by OTC Clear started clearing interest rates and FX derivatives on November 25 2013.

Eurex Clearing: Zürcher Kantonalbank Joins EurexOTC Clear
Current Total Of 19 Clearing Members

Indexes & Products

The ETF professor: Nasdaq director takes indexing to the classroom
When Nasdaq OMX Global Indexes director David Krein was a business school student in the late 1990s, the term “exchange-traded fund” was little known to most of Wall Street, let alone a university classroom.

HKEx Welcomes First RQFII ETF from an Offshore Fund Manager
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) welcomes today’s listing of the Hang Seng China A Industry Top Index Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), the world’s first Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) ETF from a fund manager based outside Mainland China.

Bloomberg Feeds European Asset Swap Spreads Into New Benchmark
Nicholas Hamilton – WatersTechnology
Bloomberg Index has launched a benchmark that provides market-driven measurement of credit risk and funding rates of high-quality European banks

European stocks primed for protection and leverage
Yakob Peterseil –
Some investors fear this year’s stellar rally in European equities could run out of steam, but structured products and exchange-traded funds can still provide smart exposure that boosts returns and guards capital for those seeking targeted plays in a bull market.

Lyxor ETFs Begin Trading on BATS Chi-X Europe

New SPDR Equity Index ETF Launched On Xetra – ETF Tracks MSCI World Small Cap Index For The First Time


McKay Brothers Shaves Latency Off Illinois-New Jersey Colo Route
Ivy Schmerken – Wall Street & Technology
McKay Brothers, a provider of specialty microwave telecom services to the low-latency trading space, said it lowered latency between Illinois and New Jersey colocation centers again this week, appealing directly to latency sensitive trading groups and their CTOs.

Amid Upgrades, Fiserv Announces TradeFlow on Linux
James Rundle – WatersTechnology
Fiserv has announced that its post-trade processing TradeFlow product, recently upgraded with connections to MarkitSERV, will now be available on Linux.

Algomi Expands Into US Market By Hiring Veteran Market Infrastructure & Credit Specialist
Stephen J. Gallagher Joins As Head Of Algomi US, Based In Firm’s New York Office – Formerly Senior Executive At Marketaxess, Wachovia Securities, Bank Of America, Bear Sterns, Merrill Lynch

Banks Turn To Misys As Risk Technology Spending Expected To Rise To $28bn By 2014
Misys Global Risk Named As Category Leaders In Three Chartis Risktech Quadrants


Daniel Shak, Former Principal of SHK Management LLC, and SHK Management LLC to Jointly Pay $400,000 Penalty to Settle CFTC Charges of Attempted Manipulation of NYMEX Crude Oil Futures Contracts
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an Order filing and settling charges that Daniel Shak of Las Vegas, Nevada, and SHK Management, LLC attempted to manipulate the price of Light Sweet Crude Oil futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange and violated intraday spot month speculative position limits applicable to WTI futures contracts on two days in 2008.

Penny Stock Financier Agrees to Pay $1.4 Million to Settle SEC Charges
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a New York-based penny stock financier and his firms with violating the federal securities laws when they purchased billions of shares in a pair of microcap companies and failed to register them before they were re-sold to investors for sizeable profits.

FCA fines SEI Investments (Europe) Limited £900,200 for client money breaches
The Financial Conduct Authority has fined SEI Investments (Europe) Limited for failings in relation to its protection of client money. SEI is a provider of asset management and wealth management services.

NFA Regulatory Action: Franklin A. Van Beuren

Environmental & Energy

Markets Have ‘Deep Roots’ in UN Climate Process, IETA Says
Market mechanisms such as the European Union’s emissions-trading system still have “deep roots” in the United Nations climate talks after negotiators failed to adopt major decisions this year, the head of a trading lobby said.

Op-Ed: Climate Crisis: Who Will Act?
Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in The New York Times
The last-minute deal at the United Nations Climate Conference in Warsaw keeps hopes for a comprehensive successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto protocol alive. But let us be clear: Much more decisive action will be needed if we are to stand any chance at fending off the dangers of climate change.

Commentary: How rich countries dodged the climate change blame game in Warsaw
The Guardian
After sitting through the final week of the United Nations climate change negotiations in Warsaw, one thing has become abundantly clear. Rich countries are desperate to avoid taking the blame for the impacts of climate change on nations with a lot less money but an awful lot more to lose (like their entire country, for example).


Dalian Commodity Exchange Holds Discussion Meeting On Fiberboard, Plywood Futures Contracts, Rules
Recently, Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) held a discussion meeting on the contract rules of the fiberboard and plywood futures in Guangzhou. The representatives from the China National Forest Product Industry Association, the industrial enterprises such as Zhejiang Shenghua Yunfeng, Daya Technology and Dehua Group, the delivery warehouses, the quality inspection institutions and the DCE member units compared in-depth notes on the contracts and the draft rules of the futures of the two boards, providing their opinions and suggestions on further improving the contracts and rules.

OTC Clear Has Smooth Soft Launch
OTC Clearing Hong Kong Limited, a subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited established to provide clearing services for over-the-counter derivatives, announces that its soft launch of business was completed smoothly today.

Think Tank Says Korea Has Too Many Brokerages
Kanga Kong – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Korea needs to shut down half of its 62 securities brokerages, a leading think tank recommends, as 40% of them don’t make a profit. A typical Korean brokerage’s business is about 40% reliant on brokerage fees, and stock-trading volume has been weak in the past few years.

Ex-Goldman trader plans China, Japan hedge fund: sources
Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc trader Andrew Wang is preparing to launch an Asia hedge fund that will bet mainly on the coveted combination of Chinese and Japanese shares, people familiar with the matter said.

Japan Dismantles Rice Output Policy as Abe Targets Farming
Aya Takada & Chikako Mogi – Bloomberg
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government approved a plan to end a four-decade long policy that has helped to sustain the nation’s 1.2 million rice farms.

SGX and China Securities Regulatory Commission establishing direct listing framework
Singapore Exchange and the China Securities Regulatory Commission today announced they will establish a Direct Listing Framework for companies from China to list in Singapore.

SGX seeks owners of $68 million in unclaimed shares and dividends

Let a hundred moles be whacked
David Keohane | FT Alphaville
China, caught somewhere between futility and necessity, is attempting to once again regulate the whack-a-mole game that is its interbank market.

Shenzhen Stock Exchange Market Bulletin 25 November, 2013 – Issue 25

Frontier Markets

Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) Sets A New Open Interest Record For Oman Crude Oil Futures Of 24.4mn Barrels – Previous Record Was 23.4 Million Barrels On 26 March 2013
DME, the premier international energy futures and commodities exchange in the Middle East, announces today a new open interest record for its flagship Oman Crude Oil Futures contract of 24,391 lots, which is equivalent to 24.4 million barrels of crude oil.

Exclusive: Ecobank in row over anonymous email, hacking allegations
Pan-African lender Ecobank has sued a top executive who left the company this month, naming him in a civil complaint in Togo as the author of an anonymous email accusing Chief Executive Thierry Tanoh of mismanagement.

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