First Read

Bits & Pieces
By John J. Lothian

If you are going to sign up interns, newer employers, or are interested yourself in attending the New York sessions of MarketsWiki Education’s World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education Series, the time is now.

If you have had trouble registering because we used Google Doc Forms for the process, just email me at and give me the following information: names of interns, interns email addresses, which sessions they want to attend and to whom to send the invoice.

We have added James Gellert of Rapid Ratings and FinTech entrepreneur John Edge to our New York Summer Intern Series speaker list, rounding out the list of ten. Our lineup includes all segments of the financial sector – brokers, bankers, proprietary traders, exchange executives and more. As this is our first foray into New York, what we need now more than anything is attendees.

Please help us spread the word by sharing this information and registration page with everyone you know that may benefit – interns, college students and young professionals just entering the financial space. Actually, send anyone, including yourself, if interested. As an added enticement, our hosts at the NYSE have offered a limited number of spots for a tour of the trading floor in between sessions. If you have never set foot onto the floor, this may be your last chance.

Like everything we do, this is a grassroots effort, and that means we rely heavily on our friends in the industry to spread the word. While that list includes CME Group, global premier sponsor of the 2015 series, it could not be done without the word-of-mouth and email forwarding campaign with which we hope you will participate.

This weekend we celebrated the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the birth of the United States of America. Unfortunately, in Chicago as people were out in the streets celebrating that meant lots of shootings and 9 people killed, including a seven year old boy.

The biggest reason I started the Trading Tech 300 program with the Chicago Boy Scouts was to create something that had the potential to attract young people out of the culture of gangs, guns and drugs and into something that has a brighter future. No matter my bigger dreams for Chicago, it all starts with 30 firms and 10 individuals, the Trading Tech 300.

We still need about 5 firms to step up to be part of the program. We are asking for firms to give us 10 volunteers (or less) and to hold a one-day Boy Scout merit badge fair in their offices. We will train you and help you attract the participants. The program is open to boys and girls.

If you are interested in stepping up for Trading Tech 300 for 2015, please email me at


The Broker Who Saved America
by Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker
You know Hancock and Washington and Franklin and Jefferson. You might even know Greene and Knox, Henry and Hale. But it is very unlikely that you know the name Haym Solomon. This is unfortunate, because he’s the guy who arranged financing to keep the Continental Army alive during its darkest days, finding the money to keep the revolution going when many were ready to throw in the towel. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Bank of North America – the country’s first “national” bank. Solomon’s contributions to the war and the founding of the nation, though seldom discussed, were of major importance.

***** Nice timely story from the ever-interesting Josh Brown


Brussels cheese ruling grates with Italians
James Politi in Rome and Christian Oliver in Brussels, FT
The bright white balls of buffalo mozzarella soaking in water are among the main attractions at Volpetti, a gourmet delicatessen in the gentrifying Roman neighbourhood of Testaccio.

****** This wins the headline of the day award.


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America’s best brokers are far from Wall Street
By John Aidan Byrne, NY Post
Brokers at regional firm Edward Jones are among the happiest in America. Forget about the big guns at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, the archrivals that raid each other’s staffs for multimillion-dollar producers and talent, bruise egos and change employee comp plans, advisers say. Edward Jones, the sedate regional broker out of St. Louis, has just pulled off the highest ranking in the J.D. Power 2015 survey of employee adviser satisfaction, followed by second-place Raymond James and third-place Charles Schwab.

****** What about the best ex-brokers?


Raging Bull Markets: How Young Men’s Hormones Unsettle Finance
by Oliver Staley, Bloomberg
Want to calm financial markets? Add more women and older people to the young men on trading desks.

***** Right, give more heart attacks to older people. Good idea.


Bridging the Week by Gary DeWaal (Abbreviated Independence Day Holiday Version): June 29 to July 3 and 6, 2015 (Diva of Distressed; Uncleared Margin; Reg MAR Breakdown; China; FINRA Defamation)
By Gary DeWaal, Katten, Muchin Rosenman LLP
A shortened work-week in the United States because of the Independence Day holiday still saw a few important developments impacting firms in the financial services industry, including still yet another case regarding the location where the SEC should bring enforcement actions (i.e., federal court or administrative tribunal) and a CFTC proposal regarding uncleared swaps margin in cross-border transactions. As a result, the following matters are covered in this week’s abbreviated Independence Day holiday version of Bridging the Wee


(CTA) Call To Action: Bryan Johnson Calls For Strategic, Practical Marketing For Managed Futures

Marketing is one of the toughest parts of running a managed futures firm. It takes time, money and is often outside the skill set of most CTAs. Bryan Johnson of Johnson & Co. has spent the past five years helping and teaching fund managers about its importance and how to do it. He said CTAs may in the perfect spot right now to offer managed futures and expand their businesses.

“Marketing has become more critical than it been ever before,” said Johnson, who sat down with John Lothian News at CTA Expo New York. “There’s more noise and there are more people who are misinformed than are appropriately informed. And that’s all that marketing really is – communicating, educating and informing other people about not only your space but who you are, what your processes are and what your performance is like.”
Watch the video »

Lead Stories

How Chinese Stocks Fell to Earth: ‘My Hairdresser Said It Was a Bull Market’; Having opened millions of brokerage accounts to play a rally, Chinese investors face big losses
On a hot, humid Sunday afternoon in mid-June, around 600 eager stock investors packed the largest ballroom at the Grand Hyatt in Lujiazui, Shanghai’s equivalent of Wall Street.

Trillion-Dollar Stock Managers See Chaos on Greek ‘No’ Vote
by Lu Wang, Inyoung Hwang, Bloomberg
That’s the view of equity managers overseeing more than $3.7 trillion, who say the game of chicken between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and creditors threatens lasting damage to a European stock rally that earlier in 2015 added as much as $2.17 trillion to share prices.

Four-fifths of fund executives fear asset management iTunes
Chris Newlands, FT
Four-fifths of senior asset management staff expect the fund market to be disrupted by an outside participant in the same way Apple upended the music industry with the introduction of iTunes. According to a poll of 400 senior executives by State Street, the custodian bank, 79 per cent fear they will face direct competition from a non-traditional entrant to asset management.

Greeks Reject Bailout Terms in Rebuff to European Leaders
Greeks delivered a shocking rebuff to Europe’s leaders on Sunday, decisively rejecting a deal offered by the country’s creditors in a historic vote that could redefine Greece’s place in Europe and shake the Continent’s financial stability

Beijing liquidity move fails to spark equities rally
Patrick McGee and Josh Noble in Hong Kong, FT
Beijing’s latest efforts to prop up the stock market yielded mixed results on Monday, with surging blue-chips lifting the Shanghai market but sellers again dragging down Shenzhen.

China Freezes IPOs in Attempt to Stem Stock Market Bleeding
China is suspending initial public offerings, creating a market stabilization fund and telling investors not to panic in an effort to shore up its stock market, which has had the largest three-week drop since 1992.

China Moves to Stabilize Stock Markets; Initial Offerings Halted
Struggling to respond to precipitous declines on China’s stock markets over the last three weeks, the country’s biggest brokerage firms unveiled a government-endorsed plan on Saturday to buy shares starting on Monday, while both of the country’s stock exchanges suspended all further initial public offerings of stock.

Hong Kong stock exchange to introduce volatility controls from mid-2016
The operator of Hong Kong’s stock exchange said it will introduce new controls to rein-in volatility, in a long-awaited announcement that comes as Chinese shares see wild price swings, fueling fears of a mainland market collapse.

Oil options pit empties on eve of CME futures shutdown
Gregory Meyer in New York, FT
New York’s oil options pit, once a boisterous holdout against electronic markets, has become a sleepy seat of what might be called low-frequency trading. One day last month 317 crude oil options changed hands on the New York Mercantile Exchange floor — less than one a minute — where traders using shouts and hand signals previously executed 50,000 options daily. In June the pit accounted for just 2 per cent of options on West Texas Intermediate crude, the world’s most active oil options contract, down from 40 per cent four years ago.

SGX market activities grow in June
Singapore Exchange (SGX) reported growth in securities, derivatives and commodities activities in June.

Holder: big penalties changed bank culture
Lindsay Fortado, FT
Eric Holder, the former US attorney-general who oversaw the biggest post-crisis financial investigations in history, said the culture of banks improved during his tenure, as he insisted that prosecutors had been right to level “record-setting penalties” against institutions rather than “trying to make examples of people.”


Trading Places: Ex-CFTC Chairman joins Bitfury advisory board
By Yesenia Duran, Lauren Schmidt, Futures Magazine
BitFury adds former CFTC chairman James Newsome to advisory board
BitFury Group, a leading Bitcoin Blockchain infrastructure provider and transaction processing company added Dr. James Newsome, ex-Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and former CEO of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Hernando de Soto, the President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), to its advisory board.

Regulators Probe Marketing of Hot Private Tech Shares; Trading of such shares has boomed in recent months
Securities regulators have launched a broad investigation into whether hedge funds and other investors are improperly selling hot private technology stocks amid a boom in the trading of such shares, people close to the probe say.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Euronext N.V. Wins “Exchange of the Year” Award
Euronext, the primary exchange in the Eurozone, has won the Global Investor / ISF Investment Excellence Award for Exchange of the Year. The exchange was revealed as the global winner during the official award ceremony at the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London July 2.

Euronext Announces Strongest Six Month Trading and Listing Activity since 2011
Business Wire
Euronext, the leading exchange in the Eurozone, today announced trading volumes for June 2015 and enterprise-wide activity for the first half year. During the first six months of 2015, Euronext continued to assert its position as the largest Eurozone financing centre, posting the strongest six-month performance since the end of 2011 supported by favourable economic conditions.

New for Traders: CME traders fight for the pit
By Yesenia Duran, Lauren Schmidt, Futures Magazine
CME traders face uphill battle to delay pit closures
U.S. regulators will likely allow CME Group Inc to close most of its open outcry futures pits as planned next month, despite last-minute calls from a handful of traders and brokers for an extended review, industry lawyers said on Thursday.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

A Week’s Rally Undone as Europe Stocks Fall Most Since December
by Sofia Horta E Costa, Bloomberg
By itself, it was the worst week for European equities since December. Viewed another way, it was just a few days of gains unwinding — though more volatility is virtually assured.

Greek Vote Becoming Much Ado About Nothing Special for Euro
by Wes Goodman, Kevin Buckland, Bloomberg
The Greek vote is turning out to be much ado about nothing for the euro.

OECD warns pension funds over ‘excessive search for yield’
Chris Flood, FT
Pension fund managers and life insurance companies are increasing their chances of going bust if they undertake aggressive shifts into alternative assets to meet their promises to savers, warns the OECD.

Any “new drachma” would sink like a stone at first
By Reuters
If a ‘No’ in Sunday’s referendum eventually takes Greece out of Europe’s single currency, any “new drachma” or temporary payment unit could be worth as little as a fifth of the euro now in circulation.

Banks & Brokers

Credit Suisse CEO vows action for ‘impatient’ investors: NZZ
New Credit Suisse AG (CSGN.VX) Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam has told a Swiss newspaper he wants quick action to implement results of strategic review he is conducting at the Swiss bank.

New Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam Reins in Hopes for a Quick Fix; ‘Expectations have kind of run away,’ Swiss bank chief says
ZURICH— Credit Suisse Group AG’s new chief executive, who took over this week, is already playing down optimism he can quickly lift the Swiss bank out of its recent malaise.

BNP: Blockchains Will Destroy or Rebuild Securities Services
Blockchain technology will bring either doom or opportunity to securities services firms, according to European banking giant BNP Paribas. Writing in the bank’s magazine, Quintessence, research analyst Johann Palychata said the bank forecasts two scenarios: “total disruption” or new, improved services for the institutions who handle the world’s trades.

RBS leaves international transaction services
by Kimberley Long, Euromoney
The industry reacts to RBS’s decision to retrench its international transaction services operations, referring clients instead to BNP Paribas.

Currency traders head to work on Sunday ahead of Greek referendum
Roger Blitz in London, FT
Greece’s referendum on a proposed bailout package has prompted banks to beef up their currency trading desks for the reopening of markets this weekend in anticipation of strong client demand.

Deutsche Bank in legal wrangle over Argentine bond issue
James Shotter in Frankfurt and Joseph Cotterill in London, FT
Hedge funds are pursuing Deutsche Bank over its role in a bond issue by Argentina as the country’s smouldering dispute with holdouts over its 2001 default continues to entangle international lenders.

Tullett Prebon hires Michael McKell as head of real estate secondaries
The alternative investments arm of interdealer broker Tullett Prebon Plc appointed Michael McKell head of real estate secondaries to trade open-ended and specialist real estate funds.

Boutiques face existential threat as time runs out on MiFID II
Laura Dew, Investment Week
Smaller fund firms have been left in limbo as delays in finalising dealing commission regulations leave them unsure of the future of their businesses.

Clearing & Settlement

European clearing solutions head leaves JP Morgan
Futures & Options World
JP Morgan’s head of European derivatives clearing solutions Niamh Lane is to leave the bank, according to sources, marking the second senior clearing exit from the European division of the US bank in two months. Lane was JP Morgan’s London-based managing director, head of European, Middle East and Africa derivatives clearing solutions for futures, options and over-the-counter products until she stepped down from that role last week, according to sources.

Margin requirements for uncleared derivatives — implementation update
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in Lexology
With the release of a revised implementation timeline for margin requirements for uncleared derivatives (the “Basel framework”) in March, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“BCBS”) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (“IOSCO”) signaled that they have solidified the scope of uncleared swap margin regulations.

MAS proposes central clearing for OTC derivatives
AsiaOne Business News
Singapore plans to require central clearing for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, according to a public consultation by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The proposal will initially affect only Singapore dollar and US dollar interest rate swaps, although swaps denominated in the euro, pound sterling and Japanese yen are also under consideration.

ESMA proposes inclusion of ETDs in EMIR interoperability arrangements
FTSE Global Markets
The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued its final report on interoperability arrangements between EU-based clearing houses (CCPs) required under the European Markets infrastructure Regulation and related guidelines and recommendations. In its report, ESMA says it wants to extend the EMIR provisions related to interoperability arrangements to exchange-traded derivatives . A further extension to OTC derivatives will be assessed at a later stage.

TriOptima Eliminates 2.15 Trillion Australian Dollar (AUD) Notional In First Unlinked LCH.Clearnet SwapClear AUD Interest Rate Swaps Compression Cycle
TriOptima announces today that 20 financial institutions have reduced notional principal outstanding by AUD 2.15 trillion ($1.65 trillion USD) in the first triReduce compression cycle for unlinked, cleared AUD interest rate swaps in LCH.Clearnet’s SwapClear. This cycle reduced dealer to dealer AUD interest rate swap notional outstanding at SwapClear by almost 21%.

Indexes & Products

Commodity markets diverge as supply and demand come to the fore
Some $7.5bn flowed into passive index investments, almost as much as the first three months of the year, which saw $9.3bn in net inflows. But, ETFs suffered a $2.4bn in net outflows, according to Citigroup, with precious metal ETFs continuing their retrenchment which began in March.

ETF? Don’t you mean EFT?
Education, structural issues have hampered growth in local exchange-traded products.


PayPal on hunt for takeovers after eBay split
Leslie Hook in San Francisco, FT
PayPal is on the hunt for international acquisitions to drive growth and fend off predators, as it prepares to separate from eBay and become an independent company in the first of several big technology split-ups this year.

Firms Analyze Tweets to Gauge Stock Sentiment; Parsing Twitter and others to discern subtle trends is a new frontier
Every day, iSentium LLC, a little-known Florida-based technology company, analyzes one million tweets from traders, investors and market commentators to try to find out whether sentiment for a particular stock is generally high or low.

Regulators Probe Marketing of Hot Private Tech Shares
Securities regulators have launched a broad investigation into whether hedge funds and other investors are improperly selling hot private technology stocks amid a boom in the trading of such shares, people close to the probe say.


Hedge fund worker jailed for copying code
Lindsay Fortado, Legal Correspondent, FT
A London hedge fund analyst who admitted to accessing and copying “extremely valuable” computer code used in trading algorithms has been sentenced to four years in prison for fraud.

FCA fines top £800m so far in 2015
ByTim Burke, Financial News
Fines levied by the Financial Conduct Authority topped £800 million in the first half of 2015 – more than six times the amount charged in the first half of last year.

Environmental & Energy

Expensive Steaks Here to Stay as Drought Cuts Canada Cattle Herd
by Jen Skerritt, Bloomberg
From burger meat to prime steaks, the rising cost of beef from Canada shows no signs of easing anytime soon. To understand why, look no further than ranchers like Shawn Freimark who can’t afford to feed their cattle.

Get Ready to Weather the Price of El Niño; Forecasters in the U.S., Australia and Japan have confirmed El Niño is back
Fears that the El Niño weather phenomenon will wreak havoc this summer have sent prices of wheat, corn and soybeans higher in recent weeks, as commodity investors, farmers and traders prepare for low crop yields.

EU Eyes Setting Aside Carbon Permits for Production Increases
By Ewa Krukowska and Mathew Carr – Bloomberg News
The European Commission plans to propose earmarking a quota of permits in its carbon market after 2020 for companies entering the system and for potential production increases, according to a draft law.

Carbon tax repeal sparks jump in Australia’s electricity emissions
Australian Associated Press
A 4.3% rise in electricity emissions counters Australia’s credibility in the lead-up to the Paris climate talks, the Climate Council says.

Powernext publishes the French residual mix for 2014
Following a formal request from the Energy and Climate Authority (Direction Générale de l’Energie et du Climat or DGEC) relative to the tracking of renewable energy, Powernext, as the National Registry for electricity guarantees of origin, is publishing the French residual mix and releasing information about the consumption of renewable energy in France .


China Bulls Lured by State Support Are Already Sitting on Losses
by Kyoungwha Kim, Bloomberg
The biggest intraday surge in Chinese stocks since 2008 has turned into a money-losing day for investors who piled in at the height of a rally sparked by government measures to prop up prices.

Chinese Brokers Plunge in Hong Kong With Guolian Falling 31%
by Alfred Liu, Bloomberg
Chinese brokerage Guolian Securities Co.’s shares tumbled in the worst major Hong Kong trading debut since 2011, even after China rolled out emergency measures to stabilize the nation’s stock market.

Invisible Hand Meets China’s Fist in Stock-Market Meddling; How Do You Say ‘Whatever it Takes’ in Mandarin?
So much for China’s pledge to let markets play a decisive role in the economy. Amid the country’s worst stock slump since 1992, President Xi Jinping’s government is dusting off its Communist Party playbook and unleashing all manner of state interventions to halt the slide in share prices.

Chinese Tycoons Lose $34 Billion in June
by Jill Mao, Bloomberg
The worst monthly slump in Chinese stocks in two years wiped away more than $34 billion in combined net worth of the richest people in China and Hong Kong in June.

28 Chinese companies suspend IPOs – exchange statements
Twenty-eight Chinese companies planning to list on the country’s stock exchanges said on Saturday they would suspend their initial public offering plans.

China curbs IPOs, enlists brokers in all-out bid to end market rout
Beijing intensified efforts at the weekend to pull China’s stock markets out of a nose-dive that is threatening the world’s second-largest economy, with top brokerages pledging to buy massive amounts of shares and a report that the government has set up a market stabilization fund.

China freezes new share offers in bid to shore up plunging stock markets; Beijing has also set up a market-stabilisation fund, according to reports, as fund managers pledge to invest $19bn in the local share market
The Guardian
China has frozen share offers and set up a market-stabilisation fund, according to reports, as Beijing intensified efforts to pull stock markets out of a nose-dive that is threatening the world’s second-largest economy.

Commodities fall saves China’s blushes
Tom Mitchell in Beijing, FT
China’s economy would have grown at less than 6 per cent in the first quarter of the year were it not for the collapse in global commodity prices, according to data reviewed by the Financial Times.

China arrests man for suicide “rumours” amid stock market rout -state TV
Chinese authorities have arrested a man who allegedly spread rumours about people in Beijing jumping off buildings in response to a stock market crash, state television reported on Sunday.

Chinese hedge fund Shanghai Chaos closes out copper short
Henry Sanderson in London, FT
A Chinese hedge fund that made a huge bet against copper has closed out its entire position in the metal, as the sell-off in the country’s stock market forces investors to pull money out of other markets.

China’s “shadow lenders” line pockets even as bourses bomb
By Engen Tham and Shu Zhang, Reuters
China’s vast network of “grey market” lenders have reaped big profits from lending money to individuals and companies to buy stocks, but as markets slump their customers face heavy losses after borrowing up to 10 times their starting capital.

Frontier Markets

Ringgit Slides Through Mahathir’s Peg as Najib’s Finances Probed
by Simon Harvey, Y-Sing Liau, Bloomberg
A decade after Malaysia scrapped the ringgit peg to the dollar, the exchange rate is back where it began just as Prime Minister Najib Razak contests a report alleging the misappropriation of funds.

Turkey’s banking sector heads for consolidation
Martin Arnold in London, FT
Turkey’s banking sector is heading for consolidation as ING enters exclusive talks to acquire HSBC’s operations in the country and bidders circle a potential sale by National Bank of Greece of its Turkish operations.

Deutsche Bank’s $ one billion investment faces fresh probe
Business Standard
RBI, Sebi also reviewing their regulations for greater clarity in this area and to ensure there is no room for any ambiguity
With questions being raised about a USD one-billion debt market investment of Deutsche Bank and others, financial regulators RBI and Sebi are having a fresh look at the case to ensure compliance to their norms.

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