First Read

Mary Ryan, TD Ameritrade – TD Ameritrade U: Who, What, When, Where, Why & How

“By increasing the financial literacy in a risk-free environment, we can decrease the age of the average investor…which is going to bring more traders and investors to the marketplace.”

Mary Ryan of TD Ameritrade explains the TD Ameritrade U program, which serves to educate students on trading and the financial industry. Ryan discusses the types of tools used in the program, such as giving students access to actual trading platforms, market data and trading support. The goal is to give students the most accurate simulation so they can go out and begin trading in the real world. Ryan also explains the the thinkorswim Challenge, a contest where student teams make trades with a $500k portfolio for four weeks. Prizes are awarded to the students with the highest returns.
Watch the video »

CBOE Takeover Speculation Could Start Anew; A shift in VIX trading patterns prompts a profit shortfall and could renew speculation about a takeover.
By Steven M. Sears
CBOE Holdings has a structural problem in its all-important arsenal of volatility products that could depress earnings and intensify speculation about a takeover.
The exchange operator recently disclosed that the flattening of the VIX futures curve—a gauge of perceived risk in the stock market over a variety of time horizons—was hurting trading volume. This surprised many investors since CBOE’s overall daily trading volumes have been setting records. But changing trading patterns in late December hurt one of CBOE’s most profitable products.

***** My speculation has never stopped, but I don’t want to see the company butchered into bite sized pieces.


ICE delays opening of S’pore futures exchange
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has delayed the start of a new futures marketplace in Singapore, which was scheduled to open March 17, the Atlanta-based company said late yesterday (Feb 12).

***** On your mark, get ready…. wait a while longer.


Euronext announces partnership with Africa’s leading agricultural commodity exchange
Extension of flagship milling wheat contract to Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Euronext today announces that it has signed a license agreement with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (“JSE”) providing the JSE with the right to list the flagship Milling Wheat contract currently traded on Euronext. The aim of the agreement is to extend access to the global benchmark Milling Wheat contract by broadening its international exposure to a wider audience.

***** Wheat is the world currency.


Blair Hull – Getting the Edge: Blackjack and the S&P 500

“What you need to be is persistent and disciplined in your strategy.”

Blair Hull, founder and managing partner at Ketchum Trading, compares the similarities of playing Blackjack with trading the S&P 500. Hull is not only an experienced Blackjack player, but also has about 40 years of experience in the financial industry. He says that both Blackjack and trading can be approached using a similar strategy. Hull continues his explanation with diagrams and numbers to be aware of during the Blackjack and trading process and even correlates the deck of cards with amounts of dollars made per trade.
Watch the video »

Apple Gears Up to Challenge Tesla in Electric Cars; IPhone Maker Has 100s Working on Design of a Minivan Like Vehicle
By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Ramsey, WSJ
Apple Inc. has revolutionized music and phones. Now it is aiming at a much bigger target: automobiles. The Cupertino, Calif., company has several hundred employees working secretly toward creating an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter. The project, code-named “Titan,” initially is working on the design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan, one of the people said.

***** I will buy 2.0, not 1.0.


The Beginner’s Guide to Chartering a Yacht With a Crew
ADAM ROSENFELD, a lifelong Miami resident, needed a vacation, but he was struggling to persuade his wife to go anywhere with their toddler in tow. Gone were the days when the couple could jet around Asia, jamming as many things into a vacation as they wanted.

***** This is important stuff. As George Amberson once said, the only honorable thing for a man to be is a yachtsman. This is from the movie, The Magnificent Ambersons, directed and acted by Orson Welles.


Nutella creator Michele Ferrero dies at 89
Rachel Sanderson in Milan, FT
Michele Ferrero, creator of chocolate-like spread Nutella and Italy’s richest man with a fortune estimated at about $23.4bn, has died after a long illness just two months short of his 90th birthday.

****** Spread the word.


CBOE RMC, March 4-6 2015, Carlsbad California
Now in its 31st year in the U.S., the annual CBOE Risk Management Conference (RMC) is the premiere financial industry conference designed for institutional users of equity derivatives and volatility products. Hosted by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), RMC is an educational forum dedicated to exploring the latest products, trading strategies and tactics used to manage risk exposure and enhance yields. RMC brings together top traders, strategists and researchers, enabling participants to learn the state-of-the-art in investment risk management from true experts in the field.

***DA: CBOE has extended the early-bird special through today. Hurry.



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Harvey Goldschmid

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Blair Hull; Harvey Goldschmid; Ivers W. Riley; Candice Adam; Adrian Bell; Adam Toms; Hannah Sloane; Adam Kansler; Eberhard Scherkus; Werner Vogt; John Rogers; Jodi Kawada; Thomas Lant; John Parry

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Lead Stories

U.S. SEC gives go-ahead for sale of National Stock Exchange
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given the green light for the takeover of the shuttered National Stock Exchange by a group that plans to reopen the electronic stock trading venue, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Drexel, 25 Years After Its Collapse, Only Helps a Résumé
By William Alden, NY Times
Edwin Kantor, the onetime head of trading at Drexel Burnham Lambert, told The New York Times in 1995, “People used to be afraid to put Drexel on their résumé.”

Which corporate bond trading platforms are lost causes?
By Laura Benitez and Alex Chambers, Reuters
e-trading venues compete to fix liquidity problem
Large trades dwindle as bond issuance booms
Doubts whether technology can revive pre-crisis highs
Around 30 e-trading platforms are currently competing to address the liquidity crisis in corporate bond trading, but market players say most will fall by the wayside in the months ahead.

MCX Appoints B Venkataramani As Managing Director And CEO
Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) has decided to appoint Balasubramaniam Venkataramani as managing director and chief executive officer.

European hedge funds close at record pace as higher costs, poor returns bite
By Nishant Kumar, Reuters
About 40 pct of hedge funds closures globally in Europe
Europe funds lag U.S. peer performance for eighth year
Trend hits investor choice, fund service providers
Hedge funds in Europe are shutting down at the fastest-ever pace as rising costs, weak performance and a slowdown in the pace of new investment leads some embattled founders to bail out.

New Report Says Computer Criminals Stole Millions From Banks; Banks in Russia, U.S. and Eastern European may Have Lost $1 Billion, Report Says
By Danny Yadron And Emily Glazer, WSJ
A Russian-speaking gang of computer criminals has stolen millions of dollars since late 2013 from banks in Russia, Eastern Europe and the U.S., according to a report from Kaspersky Lab ZAO, a Russian computer-security firm.

Swiss banks trade Zurich’s costly charm for Polish provinces
By Marcin Goclowski and Wojciech Zurawski, Reuters
Swiss financial titans UBS and Credit Suisse are expanding their operations in provincial Poland in a cost-saving drive made more urgent by the surge in the value of the Swiss franc.

Gee, Ya Think? Supply Influences Price?
Tim Worstall, Forbes
I think we might want to keep this little story for when someone starts the “bad newspaper stories about economics” competition. The contention is that British house prices are high because there aren’t that many British houses available for people to purchase. Which seems rather likely to be true if we’re to be fair about it, but quite why this should make an interesting newspaper story is a bit harder to fathom. Because that’s how we generally think that markets work. There’s supply of whatever it is, there’s demand for that thing, and then prices move around so as to increase or decrease one and the other so that the market actually clears. Thus a lower supply relative to demand should indeed bid prices up. This isn’t some mystery, some unfathomable trick being played on us by the universe, this is just how it all works. So much so that we can look at prices, observe that if they’re rising then we think that there’s a bit of shortage of supply relative to demand.

SEC Announces Fraud Charges Against Purported Hedge Fund Manager
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a purported hedge fund manager in New York City with stealing money from his investors.

Noble rejects improper accounting claims
Jeremy Grant in Singapore, FT
Noble Group, Asia’s biggest commodity trader by sales, has rebuffed an attack on its accounting practices by an unknown research group, saying it “completely rejects” allegations that it exploits accounting practices to fabricate profits.

Markets display total recoil on Fed interest rate rises
Tracy Alloway — New York, FT
Investors betting on an easier rate cycle than forecast by the Fed
Cast your mind back to 2004: a fledgling social networking platform, Facebook, was launched; the television sitcom Friends completed a decade-long run; and the Federal Reserve embarked on what would eventually be a two-year tightening cycle of US interest rates.


Industry lobbies ahead of FCA verdict on research payments
By Tim Cave, Financial News
The UK’s markets regulator is this week expected to clarify its interpretation of controversial EU rules on the use of dealing commissions to pay for research, amid intensive last-minute lobbying by the fund management industry.

Banks not doing enough to overhaul forex business, says watchdog
Caroline Binham, Financial Regulation Correspondent, FT
Banks are not doing enough to reform in the wake of the foreign-exchange rigging scandal, a global regulator has said, warning that more regulation may be needed to force through improvements.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Eurex launched new single stock dividend futures contracts
Deutsche Boerse Group
Eurex: Eurex Exchange, the international derivatives market and part of Deutsche Börse Group, further enhanced its dividend derivatives product suite by offering additional futures contracts. To meet market demand, altogether 31 new single stock dividend futures have been launched at Eurex Exchange in two phases.

Property derivatives: Introduction of futures on the calendar year returns of four IPD® UK Quarterly indices (UK Quarterly All Property, All Retail, All Office, All Industrial)
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Zürich AG passed the following decision that will become effective on 9 March 2015:

CME Futures Seen by Traders Maintaining Current Settlement Times
By Naureen Milik and Joeseph Deaux, Bloomberg
CME Group Inc. will probably maintain current settlement times for commodity futures even after pit trading is halted for those contracts in New York and Chicago later this year, traders said.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Negative rates to shake up financial system, say experts
Ralph Atkins and Elaine Moore in London, FT
Falls in European interest rates into negative territory could profoundly affect the workings of the financial system and there is little chance of benchmark borrowing costs rising in the year ahead, top investment managers and strategists have warned.

Crush the financial sector, end the great stagnation?
Matthew C Klein , FT
Productivity growth in the rich world started slowing down around the same time that the financial sector’s share of economic activity started rising rapidly. A new paper from the Bank for International Settlements suggests a causal connection.

BlackRock launches trio of target-date funds
Anna Fedorova, InvestmentWeek
BlackRock is launching a new range of three target-date funds ahead of pension freedom reforms coming into effect on 6 April.

Time to start treating commodities as currencies?
Izabella Kaminska, FT
A few weeks ago, Michael Masters, of the eponymous US investment firm, made the point to FT Alphaville that bad things can happen whenever investors mistake the fruits of production for the means of production, and apply long-standing “long only” strategies (more suited to equity index markets) to assets like commodities.

German Economy Improving at Faster Pace, Boosted by Weaker Euro
Europe’s Largest Economy to Benefit From Economic Upturn in 2015, Says Central Bank
By Todd Buell, WSJ
The German economy has moved out of its soft patch at a much faster pace than previously expected aided by a weaker euro, leading to an improved outlook for Europe’s largest economy, the country’s central bank said in its monthly bulletin on Monday.

Asset managers’ pay set to beat investment bankers
Harriet Agnew and Laura Noonan in London, FT
Asset managers are set to be paid more than investment bankers by 2016, according to new research, illustrating a shifting balance in global capital markets following the financial crisis.

Banks & Brokers

Barclays fails to win dismissal of New York ‘dark pool’ lawsuit
By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
A New York judge on Friday rejected Barclays Plc’s (BARC.L) effort to dismiss state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit accusing it of defrauding clients about high-speed trading in its private “dark pool” trading platform.

Former HSBC chairman steps down from City lobby group after leaks
A former boss of HSBC, Stephen Green, has stepped down from his position with a financial services lobby group after allegations that the bank helped hundreds of people dodge taxes during his time in charge.

Former HSBC chairman steps down from City lobby group after leaks
A former boss of HSBC, Stephen Green, has stepped down from his position with a financial services lobby group after allegations that the bank helped hundreds of people dodge taxes during his time in charge.

Crédit Agricole to appoint Philippe Brassac as chief executive
Michael Stothard in Paris, FT
Crédit Agricole is set to appoint Philippe Brassac its new chief executive, as France’s largest domestic lender looks to turn the page on past failures and reconnect to its regional roots.

Clearing & Settlement

ESMA Publishes Annual Report And Supervisory Focus For CRAs And TRs
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today an annual report (Report) on its direct supervisory activities in 2014 regarding credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TR). The report summarises the key actions taken during 2014 and outlines ESMA’s supervisory work plans for both sectors for 2015.

DTCC nears filing for tri-party repo CCP
Within the next few weeks, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation’s subsidiary Fixed Income Clearing Corporation intends to officially file a rule with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve to provide central clearing for the institutional tri-party repo market.

BSP simplifies rules on forex transactions | Economy
GMA News Online
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has relaxed rules on foreign exchange (FX) as part of continuing efforts to have an appropriate regulatory framework for foreign currency transactions, the central bank chief said in a statement Monday.

Indexes & Products

Aussie ETF consultant joins MSCI
ETF researcher Tim Bradbury has been recruited by MSCI to head up ETF distribution for the US-based index provider, working with Australian financial advisers. Mr Bradbury will join as vice president of ETF client coverage, reporting to executive director Michael Anderson in Sydney.

MSCI reclassification offers promise of long-term gain
Financial News
Late in 2014, following their annual review of the Global Industry Classification Standard, index providers MSCI and S&P announced the creation of a real estate sector, which separates bricks-and-mortar stocks from purely financial services and will increase the number of GICS sectors to 11 when it comes into effect in 2016.

Smart Beta Funds: Are They Really Smarter Or Just Hype?
Smart beta funds are the new black. Just one question: What does “smart beta” mean? Trying to round up all the strategies that fall under the smart beta umbrella is a little bit like trying to herd cats. They’re all over the place, each with different notions on where to go and how to get there.

Russell Investments’ Transition Management service receives “Industry Innovation Award,” expands team to meet increasing client demand
Web Wire
Global asset manager Russell Investments recently earned its fourth consecutive CIO Magazine Industry Innovation Award. Specifically, Russell was recognized in the asset servicing category for its continued commitment to, and success in, transition management (TM) in 2014


FN Fintech Focus: All the cool kids are running hackathons
Hackathons aren’t just a thing for hip tech companies with guys in hoodies anymore. Even suit-loving financial institutions like running them now. After Citi, JP Morgan and Sungard, the latest to join the fintech funfest is Six Swiss Group, the company that runs Switzerland’s Stock Exchange. This week the group revealed on its website that it had opened up application for a fintech hackathon in Zurich in March.

The British Are Coming! With Their FinTech
Brett King – Huffington Post
Boris Johnson, who recently turned his hand to a humorous yet poignant biography of Winston Churchill, has become a big advocate of Tech and its role in job creation and investment in the London economy. Johnson and his team came to New York to pitch for greater collaboration between the two global Financial centers for the establishment of a platform for cross-border investment, technology sharing and resourcing.

Bancorp Founding Family Jumps onto Fintech Bandwagon with $100 Million Blank Check IPO
Forex Magnates
Bancorp Inc. founder Betsy Cohen and her son Daniel Cohen are launching their newest venture with the “Blank Check” IPO of FinTech Acquisition Corp. Formerly the CEO of Bancorp, Daniel Cohen becomes the CEO of FinTech Acquisition. His mother will hold the chairman of the board position after also having held the position of CEO of Bancorp, which she stepped down from in December 2014.


Federal Court Orders Scott M. Ross and his Companies to Pay More than $6.7 Million in Restitution and a Civil Monetary Penalty for Defrauding Investors in His Commodity Pools, Mishandling Customer Funds, and Failing to Properly Register as a Commodity Pool Operator
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court Order requiring Defendants Scott M. Ross, formerly of Gilberts, Illinois, and his companies, Maize Capital Management, LLC and Maize Asset Management, LLC, jointly to pay $5,402,818.89 in restitution to the participants in his fraudulent and illegal “Maize Fund” investment scheme, as well as a $1.3 million civil penalty. The court previously entered a Consent Order that imposes permanent trading and registration bans against all Defendants. Ross currently is incarcerated in Federal prison for his role in two other fraudulent investment scams.

Environmental & Energy

Draft Treaty Aims for Fossil-Free Future With Many Pages, Few Answers
By John H. Cushman Jr. – InsideClimate News
During a week of United Nations climate negotiations in Geneva, the draft of a new treaty got longer and more complex, rather than shorter and simpler as leaders had planned.

Judge dismisses Louisiana wetlands suit against big oil firms
A federal judge in Louisiana threw out a lawsuit Friday against more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies accused of collectively damaging the state’s coastline, according to court records.

Quakers self-impose tax in order to combat climate change
By Richie Davis – The Recorder
It dawned on Alan Eccleston as he was silently worshiping at the Mount Toby Friends Quaker Meeting one day: if the government’s not willing to tackle carbon-induced global warming, why can’t people impose a carbon tax on themselves?

UK carbon market plan would boost emissions price, report says
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
The European Union could have a higher, more robust and credible carbon price, if countries agree to adopt a fix to the scheme from 2017, rather than 2021, new analysis shows today.


Local investors regain largest share of HKEx’s securities market trading
Local investors have regained the largest share of securities market trading at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), according to the findings from HKEx’s Cash Market Transaction Survey 2013/14.

Will Investors Warm to a Shenzhen Connect?
by Gregor Stuart Hunter, WSJ
The tepid performance of a trading link between Shanghai and Hong Kong may make investors think twice about getting excited about adding new connections – notably to Shenzhen, China’s third stock exchange.

Frontier Markets

Azerbaijan prepares to drop currency peg to dollar
Jack Farchy and Tony Barber in Baku, FT
A oil worker works on a oil pump “nodding donkey ” at an oil field near Baku, Azerbaijan, on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. Since gaining its independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has become an important energy exporter and transport hub for Caspian Sea oil and gas. Photographer: Jeyhun Abdulla/Bloomberg News©Bloomberg
Azerbaijan is planning to abandon its currency peg to the dollar as the oil price tumble strains its energy-dependent economy, the central bank governor has told the Financial Times.

MCX, FTIL donations to charity come under the tax scanner
G Chandrashekar, The Hindu BusinessLine
The Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) is under investigation by the Income-Tax Department for making donations of a ‘non-genuine’ nature to a charitable trust.

Bahrain Bourse to Host the Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) Conference in April 2015
Bahrain Bourse (BHB) will host the Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) Annual Conference 2015 in partnership with Thomson Reuters , the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.



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