Bits & Pieces
By John J. Lothian
Our good friend Ray McKenzie has left IntercontinentalExchange according to the update on LinkedIn, which says he is on garden leave. I hope he has an indoor garden, because it is cold and snowy in Chicago this morning.
Usually when I get back to Chicago from FIA’s Boca Raton conference the season has turned, the grass is greening and there is a hint of spring in the air. This year, much of the snow is melted, except for where the large piles were dumped, but nothing is green yet. The daffodils have yet to poke their sprouts out.
The baseball season is just a couple of weeks away, but we are not ready for it yet. We are ready for the end of the NCAA basketball season and the CBOT Building is having a big tournament party today.
John Lothian News and John Lothian Productions had quite a showing at the FIA conference. We continue to hear praise for the video John Lothian Productions produced for R.J. O’Brien & Associates’ 100th anniversary, which was shown before the Ted Koppel speech. We also produced a video for Trading Technologies for their new web based platform, Nextrader.
Lastly, one more plug for our demographic survey. Please take the 30 seconds to fill it out.
News Release Distributor to Stop Selling to High-Speed Traders
WILLIAM ALDEN – NYTimes.com
Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general, can count another victory in his quest to curb some of the advantages enjoyed by the fastest traders on Wall Street. Mr. Schneiderman’s office announced on Wednesday that Marketwired, a Canadian company that distributes news releases on behalf of public companies, had agreed to end its practice of selling its information feeds directly to high-frequency traders.
Speed Trader Sees Sisyphean Task in High-Frequency Crackdown
Sam Mamudi – Bloomberg
Mark Gorton knows what will happen on the day high-frequency traders’ computers get kicked out of the New York Stock Exchange. “All you’re going to do is have a data center that’s across the street,”
***DA: Or across the state line, or across the ocean, wherever one can find a friendlier regime. When you pick a fight with technological progress, you always lose eventually.
NYSE Liffe Sets Daily Volume Record In FTSE 100 Index Futures
IntercontinentalExchange Group, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced that NYSE Liffe reached a daily volume record of 862,468 contracts in FTSE 100 Index futures on March 18, 2014. The previous record of 822,496 contracts was set on March 17, 2009.
Exchange CEO Series – ICE Cover: Jeff Sprecher taking on “fierce competition” and hackers
Exchanges have never faced more challenges and opportunities than they do today.
John Lothian News sat down with six exchange CEOs at the 2014 FIA Boca Conference to talk about their views on four main topics: competition, regulation, growth and technology. Here’s what Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the IntercontinentalExchange Group (ICE), had to say about each.
“It’s interesting to me that regulators today are trying to introduce more global competition when in reality, for those of us who are in the business, we realize that competition has never been more fierce and more global,” Sprecher said. “And frankly, we are all trying to look at the same opportunity set and trying to use our current positioning like never before.”
Why you should care CME plans to cut B shareholder reps on board by half
In the latest CME Group proxy statement, CME management is asking B-shareholders to decrease their representation on the CME Board of Directors by 50%. We intend to vote no on this question, and desire to keep the B share representation at the current six board members.
***DA: When CME and CBOT members agreed to demutualize, we traded away our power for the expectation that a corporate board would work to maximize shareholder value irrespective of the diverse needs of brokers, locals, commission houses, etc. It has worked out quite well, but one side effect has been the gradual transformation of control from legacy shareholders to shareholders at-large. My advice would be to get used to the idea.
***JJL: The CME board remains a dysfunctional mess, with much too large of a board. Everyone is going to need to take some pain in order to get this right sized. I would have liked to have seen this happen at a much more rapid pace. Take an axe to it, not a scalpel.
Autilla establishes precious metal OTF with multi-asset solution from Cinnober
For the global precious metals marketplace, Autilla Ltd. today announces the selection of TESS Connect & Go from Cinnober Financial Technology as its platform to migrate its precious metals Over-the-Counter (OTC) broking onto a proven electronic trading platform.
Sebi orders FTIL to sell shares in MCX-SX and other bourses
The Economic Times
Capital markets regulator Sebi on Wednesday directed Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies India to sell its shares in MCX-SX and other exchanges within 90 days on the ground that it did not meet the ‘fit and proper’ criteria required for a shareholder of an exchange.
***JJL: And that is the end of that. Visions of IPO profits are long gone.
JLN/MarketsWiki 2014 Annual Survey – Please Give us 30 Seconds of Your Time
John Lothian News
You still have time to fill out our quick demographic survey and get in the running for your choice of an iPad Mini or a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort Noise-Canceling Headphones. The cost is a mere 30 seconds of your time. Answers will be kept confidential.
‘The Path Forward’ could lead to nowhere
Keyser Sose – FOW
One of the missing ingredients of regulatory reform was the global coordination of rules, despite – to be fair – best efforts from bodies such as IOSCO and the FSB. This led to a disparity in timelines and laws and an immediate fragmentation of liquidity.
***DA: From our vantage point, the “path forward” was about former CFTC chairman Gensler’s securing of his legacy. “Everything was in complete working order when I left.”
Fidelity Labs Launches Investing App for Smartwatch
Becca Lipman – Wall Street & Technology
Fidelity Watchapp for the Pebble Smartwatch tests the waters of wearable technology.
And the chart says: oh dear God no
Overall, our results indicate that individual investors who report using technical analysis are disproportionately prone to have speculation on short-term stock-market developments as their primary investment objective, hold more concentrated portfolios which they turn over at a higher rate, are less inclined to bet on reversals, choose risk exposures featuring a higher ratio of nonsystematic risk to total risk, engage in more options trading, and earn lower returns.
***DA: I use technical analysis as a visual proxy for the aggregate interpretation of what is happening fundamentally. In and of itself, there is little I see in the way of predictive value.
MarketsWiki Page of the Day
Mercuria Energy Group
MarketsWiki Recent Updates
Companies, Organizations and Groups
47,753,308 pages viewed, 7,854 articles, 180,647 edits
U.S. swaps regulator seeks help from markets to clean up data
The U.S. derivatives regulator on Wednesday asked market participants to answer a long list of questions it hopes will help it cope with a deluge of data on the $630 trillion market it newly regulates.
LSE proposes new intraday auction period
Philip Stafford – FT.com
The London Stock Exchange Group is planning to lure large block orders from off-exchange venues by holding a short intraday auction period for its most liquid stocks.
Trading Probe Breaks String of Gains for U.S. Exchange Operators
Gerrit De Vynck and Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Things had been improving for U.S. stock exchanges, with volume rising, the bull market entering its sixth year and investors coming back to the market. The run of luck was broken yesterday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is probing whether U.S. markets are giving high-frequency traders unfair advantages by offering faster access and data than is normally available to the public.
Bitcoin firms explore U.S. rules for derivative exchanges
Douwe Miedema | Reuters
Companies have inquired in the past month about regulations that would govern exchanges for bitcoin derivatives, a top U.S. regulator said on Wednesday, a sign such virtual currencies could become a more mainstream financial product.
Chatroom evidence questions BoE role in FX probe – sources
British regulators are examining evidence relating to a 2012 meeting of currency dealers and Bank of England officials which potentially challenges the central bank’s assertion it had not condoned sharing details of client orders.
Costs of forex manipulation could be worse than Libor
Fiona Maxwell – Risk.net
Probes into current market manipulation are gathering pace, and the findings are expected to be every bit as damaging as those relating to Libor rigging. But they may come with an even bigger price tag.
Most Big Banks Would Fail a Real Stress Test
This week, the Federal Reserve will present the results of stress tests designed to ensure that the largest U.S. banks won’t turn the next financial crisis into an economic disaster. There’s just one problem: If the tests were realistic, most of the banks would fail.
JPM deal propels Mercuria to elite club of commodity titans
The big three just became the big four. Mercuria’s purchase of JPMorgan’s physical commodities business marks the culmination of a 10-year journey for Swiss traders Marco Dunand and Daniel Jaeggi, two men who transformed a small trading house into an operation to rival the biggest in the natural resources business.
Britain considers changes to bank levy as proceeds fall short
Britain is considering changes to its three-year-old bank levy after failing to raise as much as expected from the tax, which some banks have said unfairly penalises lenders with big overseas operations and those that are not selling assets.
Jérôme Kerviel’s EUR4.9bn SocGen repayment struck down
Michael Stothard in Paris – FT.com
Rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel has been released by a French court from an unpayable EUR4.9bn fine slapped on him for unauthorised deals that brought his former employer Société Générale to the brink of disaster.
Fatca fatigue setting in, expert warns
Jessica Meek – Risk.net
Financial institutions are tired of dealing with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca) amid continued confusion over what needs to be done, one expert warns.
O’Malia: If OTC market has split, blame regulators
Peter Madigan – Risk.net
If non-US firms are refusing to trade with US persons, it means “we have screwed up in the regulation somewhere,” says CFTC commissioner O’Malia. He hopes arrival of European rules will remove motive for market to fragment
SEC contacted investment companies with Russian exposure – sources
U.S. securities regulators contacted public funds with investments in Russia to make sure they are properly managing risks and disclosing their holdings to investors as political tensions rose over Crimea, according to several people familiar with the matter.
SEC close to weighing possible action on proxy advisory firms
The Securities and Exchange Commission will soon review recommendations for possible regulatory action targeting proxy advisory firms, SEC Chair Mary Jo White said on Wednesday.
CFTC Requests Public Comment on Swap Data Reporting Rules
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) today approved for publication in the Federal Register a request for public comment on the Commission’s swap data recordkeeping and reporting requirements under part 45 and related provisions.
Hedge funds argue against tougher rules at CFTC roundtable
Kris Devasabai – Risk.net
Funds that are deemed systemically important could be regulated in much the same way as banks, but hedge fund managers used a CFTC roundtable yesterday to argue regulators should not constrain investor choices
EY hires former Goldman MD Judy Vas in Asia regulation push
Michelle Price – Financial News
Global auditing and advisory firm EY has hired a former managing director from Goldman Sachs as it continues to build out its global regulatory advisory business.
The Financial Conduct Authority publishes review into delivering ‘independent’ financial advice following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review
A thematic review published today by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shows that most advisory firms describing their service as ‘independent’ appeared to use the description accurately. The FCA is also clarifying certain issues to provide further support for those firms that remain unsure what standards they must meet to be able to call themselves ‘independent’.
[FCA] Supervising retail investment firms: delivering independent advice
In July 2013, we published our first set of findings looking at how firms and advisers were implementing the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). We have recently completed the second cycle of this work.
Statement Of Commissioner Scott D. O’Malia Request For Comment On Part 45 And Related Provisions Of The Commission’s Swap Data Reporting Rules
[AMF Canada] Warning – High-Yield Investment Programs
Exchanges & Trading Facilities
Warsaw Stock Exchange Receives Bull & Bear Award
The gala ceremony presenting the Bulls & Bears and Golden Wallet awards for 2013 took place at the lobby of Centrum Gieldowe on 19 March 2014. Gazeta Gieldy Parkiet was the organiser of the event.
CME Group Inc. Announces Date of First-Quarter 2014 Earnings Release, Conference Call
KBC successfully lists CRD IV-compliant Additional Tier-1 instrument for 1.4 billion euros on Euronext Brussels
Moscow Exchange: Rostelecom Share Trading To Be Suspended
TSX Markets: Top 20 Largest Consolidated Short Position Report – March 15, 2014
Dalata Hotel Group Raises EUR265m On Joining The Irish Stock Exchange
Hedge Funds & Managed Futures
Activist Hedge Funds Are Making Friends
Matt Levine – Bloomberg View
This DealBook article about the new alliances between activist hedge funds and long-only institutional shareholders is full of enjoyable oddities
Ex-IMF chief Strauss-Kahn-led hedge fund aims to raise $2 billion
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn plans to raise $2 billion in a macro hedge fund, his firm, LSK & Partners, said on Thursday, as investors continue to back a low-risk and rapidly growing investment strategy.
Spate of UK structured products deliver gross returns of 10%-plus
Vita Millers – Risk.net
Positive movements in the equity markets – notably the FTSE 100 – have meant a number of products from UK distributors have been kicking out or maturing to deliver double-digit returns in the first three months of 2014.
BlackRock adds to alternatives team
Sarah Krouse – Financial News
BlackRock has hired a former Pacific Investment Management Co vice president as it continues to build out the team working on its new credit alpha fund.
U.S. appeals court: Fidelity did not overcharge on float fees
Fidelity Investments did not improperly use money earned in overnight accounts while overseeing a retirement plan for a U.S.-based unit of Swiss manufacturer ABB Ltd., according to a U.S. appeals court decision released on Wednesday.
Odey lures tech research head from BAML
Matt Turner and Harriet Agnew – Financial News
Odey Asset Management has become the latest buyside firm to recruit from the research desk of a large investment bank in London.
Cargill expands European cocoa processing again
Cargill, one of the world’s top cocoa dealers, has boosted its cocoa processing in Europe to meet growing demand for premium chocolates, the company said on Wednesday, its second expansion of its chocolate operations in three months.
Banks & Brokers
Shadow Banking Deals Prompt SEC Plan to Cap Leverage for Brokers
Dave Michaels – Bloomberg
U.S. regulators concerned that banks and brokerage firms remain too dependent on risky types of short-term funding are weighing new rules designed to reduce reliance on parts of what is often called the shadow banking system.
Muriel Siebert’s Discount Brokerage Is Said to Seek Buyers
Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
Siebert Financial Corp., whose late founder Muriel Siebert was the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, is exploring a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Basel III battleground for primes
Luke Clancy – Risk.net
The leader board of prime broking is dominated by around half a dozen players. Although new entrants to the market focusing on niches are not unknown, the business has been cornered by the likes of Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
JPMorgan metals brokerage unit not part of sale to Mercuria – source
JPMorgan’s metals brokerage business, which includes its London Metal Exchange ring dealing team, will remain part of the U.S. investment bank, a source said on Wednesday.
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management And EDHEC Business School Join Forces To Advance Goals-Based Wealth Management
Clearing & Settlement
Euroclear Sweden extends funds universe via FundSettle
Euroclear Sweden, the Swedish Central Securities Depository (CSD), today launches a link to Euroclear Bank’s automated processing platform for cross-border and domestic funds – known as FundSettle.
Indexes & Products
Bucharest Stock Exchange: BET Index Family Indices Are Enhanced And New Ones Will Be Launched
What’s Behind Liquidnet’s Acquisition of Vega-Chi
Ivy Schmerken – Wall Street & Technology
Drawing on its relationships with global asset managers in equities, Liquidnet has acquired bond trading platform Vega-Chi to build an institutional size liquidity pool for corporate bonds.
Markit Bows Securities Finance Data Platform
Faye Kilburn – WatersTechnology
Markit has launched a new online securities lending data platform which combines Markit’s daily global securities financing data covering $15 trillion of securities in the lending programmes of over 20,000 institutional funds, short interest data and institutional fund activity across equities and fixed income with pending and intraday trades to support the workflow requirements of lenders and borrowers.
LEI Definitions: Closer to a Common Data Specification
Jennifer Costley, Ph.D
Working with disparate datasets is hard enough. To do it without a standard set of definitions is a nightmare.
Fundtech Successfully Brings 20 Customers Onto Global Compliance Plus – Fundtech Onboards Customers To Its New Compliance Filtering Solution
Traders of Tips Meet at Grand Central, and Eat the Evidence
Secret stock tips scribbled on Post-it notes and paper napkins. Illicit meetings held in broad daylight at Grand Central Terminal. Cover-up efforts that involved chewing, and even eating, damaging evidence.
CFTC Charges Ohioan Bradley A. Miklovich with Unauthorized Trading
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today charged Bradley A. Miklovich, a former senior commodities analyst with Rice Investment Company (Rice), a commodity brokerage firm registered with the CFTC as an Introducing Broker located in Maumee, Ohio, with commodity futures fraud. Miklovich resides in Stow, Ohio.
CFTC Charges Florida-Based Gold Distributors Inc. and Its Owner, Jordan Cain, with Engaging in Illegal, Off-exchange Commodity Transactions
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it filed a civil injunctive enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Defendants Gold Distributors Inc. (GDI) of Hallandale Beach, Florida, and its sole owner, Jordan Cain of Miami, Florida. The CFTC Complaint charges the Defendants with engaging in illegal, off-exchange financed transactions in precious metals with retail customers.
CFTC Charges South Carolina Residents Robert S. and Amy L. Leben with Commodity Pool Fraud for the Operation of a Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that, on March 14, 2014, Judge Terry L. Wooten of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina issued an emergency Order freezing assets under the control of Robert S. Leben and Amy L. Leben (Lebens) of Columbia, South Carolina, in connection with a commodity pool called Structured Finance Group Corporation (SFG).
SEC Charges Stockbroker and Law Firm Managing Clerk in $5.6 Million Insider Trading Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a stockbroker and a managing clerk at a law firm with insider trading around more than a dozen mergers or other corporate transactions for illicit profits of $5.6 million during a four-year period.
Ex-JPMorgan ‘Whale’ supervisor files claim against UK regulator
A former JPMorgan Chase & Co executive fighting U.S. extradition from Spain for allegedly helping to hide more than $6.2 billion in trading losses has filed a claim against Britain’s financial regulator.
FCA bans and fines trader £662,700 for manipulating gilt price during QE
Mark Stevenson, a bond trader with nearly 30 years’ experience, has been banned from the industry and fined GBP662,700 for deliberately manipulating a UK government bond (gilt) on 10 October 2011.
California lawyer sentenced to prison time in tax dodge case -U.S.
California lawyer Christopher Rusch has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for helping Americans hide millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes.
BCSC panel sanctions computer hardware company and two B.C. residents for illegal distribution
BCSC panel finds that two B.C. residents and two B.C. companies committed fraud and illegally distributed securities
Environmental & Energy
JPMorgan sells physical commodities unit to Mercuria for $3.5 billion
JPMorgan is selling its physical commodities business to Mercuria for $3.5 billion, the U.S. investment bank said on Wednesday, sweeping the fast-growing Swiss trading house into the top league of commodities traders.
Obama unleashing power of data on climate change
By SETH BORENSTEIN AP
The Obama administration hopes to fight global warming with the geeky power of numbers, maps and even gaming-type simulations.
Officials figure the more you know about climate change the more likely you will do something.
Osborne freezes carbon tax at 2015 levels
Britain’s carbon tax will be frozen at 2015 levels of 18.08 pounds per tonne, Chancellor George Osborne said on Wednesday, as a part of the government’s annual budget.
SGX: Commodity Derivative Volumes Up 70% In 2013
Last week Bloomberg reported that according to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) commodities trading jumped 23% last year.
South Korea Probes Four Foreign Banks
South Korean financial authorities said they are inspecting the local branches of three Chinese banks as well as Barclays BARC.LN +2.31% PLC, and people familiar with the situation said the probe concerns a surge in yuan-denominated deposits in the country.
China looks beyond commodity derivatives with equity options launch
Justin Lee – Risk.net
Commodities have been the mainstay of China’s derivative markets so far but the launch of equity options on two of the country’s main exchanges could see this dominance challenged
Japan Exchange Group: Notice Of Revision to Earnings Forecast And Dividend Forecas
Thai Bourse To Build Capital Market Learning Center Equipped With Cutting-Edge Technology
Shenzhen Stock Exchange Launches Mobile APP For “Easy IR” And Unveils Six Measures To Enhance Market Transparency – SZSE Serial Activities For Investor Education Held On 3.15 Consumers’ Rights Day
Tokyo Stock Exchange: Indicative NAV Published For New ETFs Through The FLEX Standard Service
After Tough Year for Emerging Markets, Fates of ‘Fragile Five’ Diverge
Matt Day – MoneyBeat – WSJ
The “fragile five” are going their separate ways. Seven months after Morgan StanleyMS +0.25% coined the term to describe five formerly fast-growing emerging markets seen at risk of an investor flight, their fates are diverging.
Dubai Plans to Set Up World’s First Shariah-Compliant Ex-Im Bank
Nicolas Parasie – MoneyBeat – WSJ
The government of Dubai is considering setting up an export and import bank, the first time such a body would be established according to Islamic finance principles, to further strengthen trade flows in and out of the emirate.
London Bonuses Seen Doubled in Dubai for Banking Analysts
Dale Crofts and Stefania Bianchi – Bloomberg
Junior bankers in the United Arab Emirates are reaping almost 36 percent more salary than their counterparts in London, with bonuses almost double those paid in the U.K. capital, compensation data provider Emolument said.
Moody’s Turkey Bank Rating Risk Puts Sovereign on Notice
Isobel Finkel and Benjamin Harvey – Bloomberg
Scrutiny of Turkey’s credit rating is increasing after Moody’s Investors Service put 10 banks on review for a downgrade, amplifying risks for investors as local elections loom amid a government corruption probe.
@GSElevator Gets a New Book Deal
MoneyBeat – WSJ
And elevators go back up. The man behind the Twitter handle @GSElevator, who lost a book deal two weeks ago after his identity was outed, has agreed to new deal with a different publisher that will sell his book “STRAIGHT TO HELL: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals.”
Former Goldman Chief Walks Among Warriors and Dragons
WILLIAM ALDEN – NYTimes.com
Two decades ago, Stephen Friedman navigated challenging markets as the head of Goldman Sachs. These days, he can be seen traversing a fantastical realm populated by bloodthirsty warriors and screeching dragons.