First Read

Connecting: HKEx’s Li Said It Will Help Connect To China’s Trillions

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is all about connecting. HKEx’s CEO Charles Li says his exchange is the linchpin that connects mainland China’s markets with the rest of the world.

Li, who spoke with John Lothian News editor-in-chief Jim Kharouf at the FIA Boca conference, said his exchange is about strategic positioning with China and taking advantage of the explosive growth it sees, especially with the London Metal Exchange firmly integrated into its business.

“Our job is to find a way to make that connection,” Li said, of China, “the largest pool of capital that is yet to be globally deployed.”
Watch the video »

Midweek Severe Weather Outbreak to Strike Central US
The worst severe weather outbreak so far this year will threaten lives and property across the Central U.S. Wednesday through Thursday.

***** Doug and I are headed to New York on Wednesday. My question is whether we will be able to get home. Anyone want to put us up for the weekend?


Paul Tudor Jones buys $71 million Palm Beach estate
Robert Frank, CNBC
Paul Tudor Jones, who last week warned of the rising wealth gap sparking a revolution, just spent $71 million on an estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

***** A Tudor should have a castle.


2015 Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship: Who Will Win the Big Game?
Carlton Chin – Quant Facts
A portion of our research studies factors related to sports psychology, including: big game experience, focus on fundamentals, leadership, and consistency. Over the past several decades, the factors we quantified have been related to winning championships about 65%-70% of the time. Since our “Who Will Win the Big Game” book came out several years ago, our published “quant fact” predictions have picked the winner of major sporting events 62% of the time, regularly picking underdogs. We have fared particularly well in the Final Four, where our quant facts have swept all three games (two semifinals games and the title game) several years. Let’s look at the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship “tale of the tape” between Duke and Wisconsin.

***DA: Carlton Chin is head of quantitative research and chief investment officer for commodity trading advisor Adamah Capital. A few years ago he was the Guinea pig for our CTA Profiles concept. I think Michael Lewis should step away from HFT and write “Moneyball 2” featuring Mr. Chin.


Another Shot Across the Bow for Proprietary Trading Groups, and By Association, HFTs and Algorithmic Trading Strategies
Thomas F. Cashman, Of Counsel and Michelle M. Comella, Partner at Ziliak Law, LLC
Banks have not been the only players in the regulators’ sights, however, when it comes to proprietary trading. This past week, on March 25th, the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) held an open meeting under the Government in Sunshine Act to consider a proposed amendment to Rule 15b9-1 of the Exchange Act. Rule 15b9-1, as initially promulgated, was designed to allow floor brokers and specialists to do limited hedging or other off-exchange activities ancillary to their floor based business. The proposed amendment is designed to close a regulatory gap that currently allows certain broker-dealers to engage in significant off-exchange proprietary trading without becoming members of a national securities association like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). The SEC’s position is that the proposed amendment to Rule 15b9-1 is needed to address certain consequences of an evolving market structure which has seen significant volume move away from floor based on- exchange trading to off-exchange venues.

***DA: For a summary of the rule, view the rule page on MarketsReformWiki. And be sure to read the above post by Cashman and Comella. HFT is in the regulatory cross-hairs. Tom is a member of the JJLCO Advisory Board.


Sponsored Content
Pegasys Trading Software – Beta Release and Launch Party

This Wednesday, April 8, Pegasys Trading will be holding a launch party to unveil our powerful trading software. Our Pegasys “Grid” system is a unique application that mines big data on all asset classes in cash and futures markets and identifies trading opportunities and probabilities.

Join us this coming Wednesday from 4 to 7 at the Trading Technologies Tech Tap. You must register to attend the event and space is limited. We look forward to seeing you.

To register for the event, email Ray McKenzie at

Be sure to Follow us on Twitter – @pegasystrading

For more information on Pegasys, please watch this short video explaining who we are and what we do.

content from:
Pegasys Trading Software


U.S. agency wants brokers held to higher standards
By Becky Yerak Chicago Tribune
Would new standards have helped Crystal Lake couple that lost $109,000 on bad investments?
Crystal Lake couple lost more than $100,000. Would new rules have prevented it? In September 2008, as the financial crisis emerged, a retirement account of Al and Karin Betz slumped in value to $130,000 from about $160,000.

****** Brokers should be held to a fiduciary standard.


CEOs Face Reputation Pitfalls If They Avoid Social Media
By Ben DiPietro, WSJ
Reputation and crisis management expert Shannon Wilkinson, chief executive of Reputation Communications, says CEOs face risks when they use social media, but stand to lose even more if they stay away. Ms. Wilkinson’s guide “How to Look Better Online: Online Reputation Management for CEOs, Rising Stars, VIPs and Their Organizations,” will publish in May.

***** What is your Twitter handle?


Corporate traders aren’t exactly saints, either
Brooke Masters, FT
Wheat allegations suggest corporates are no more immune to the thrill of rate-rigging than banks
Every few months now, it seems, another price manipulation scandal emerges. First, it was bank traders fixing Libor, the interbank lending rate, in exchange for steak dinners and bottles of Bollinger. Then, many of the same banks were accused of doing much the same thing to foreign exchange rates. From there, the investigations have spread to traders of precious metals. Critics say the burgeoning probes are proof positive that banks have a cultural problem.

****** Where does it stop? It never stops.


Lead Stories

Virtu seeks valuation of $2.59 billion
By Bradley Hope, Angela Chen, WSJ via MarketWatch
Virtu Financial Inc., one of the world’s biggest high-frequency trading firms, is seeking a valuation of about $2.59 billion in a public offering of its stock, according to a new filing.

Bank of America accused of ‘tarnishing’ Merrill Lynch
By John Aidan Byrne, NY Post
Merrill Lynch’s Thundering Herd is having a huge crisis of confidence. Bank of America’s integration of the prized brokerage empire is spooking many Merrill financial advisers, who are balking at CEO Brian Moynihan’s arm-twisting, corporate culture, people familiar with the company say.

Accused Goldman Code Thief Takes On Vance After Defeating U.S.
by Christian Dolmetsch, Bloomberg
The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. programmer accused of stealing the bank’s “secret sauce” beat back the federal government’s attempt to keep him in jail. Now he’s decided to fight state prosecutors to clear his name.

Risk officers rise in UK executive ranks
Caroline Binham, Financial Regulation Correspondent, FT
The increasing importance of managing risk by financial institutions in the wake of the crisis has been underscored by research showing that chief risk officers are paid as much as £2m as they oversee a small army of as many as 20,000 people.

Vexed questions on currency hedging
Stephen Foley, FT
Is it better to suffer the slings and arrows of short-term money moves?
To hedge or not to hedge? That is not the only question regarding the currency risks that come with investing across borders.

OCC Files Motion with SEC to Lift Automatic Stay of Approval Order of Capital Plan
Press Release
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today said it has filed a motion with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to lift the current stay of the approval order of its proposed capital plan. Under the SEC’s rules, the stay was instituted automatically after petitions were filed and is part of the SEC’s approval process.

In Greenspan Conundrum Redux, the Odds Are on Bond Traders’ Side
by Susanne Walker, Alexandra Scaggs, Bloomberg
The Federal Reserve faces another bond-market conundrum as it prepares to raise interest rates.

Once Over $12 Trillion, the World’s Reserves Are Now Shrinking
by Ye Xie, Andrea Wong, Bloomberg
The decade-long surge in foreign-currency reserves held by the world’s central banks is coming to an end.

Broken Bond Market Complicates Fed’s Plan to Raise Rates
The bond market is broken. Whether it is banks’ reluctance to commit to buying and selling bonds, shortages in the securities used as collateral in short-term money markets, or the disproportionate role of heavyweight issuers in the supply of U.S. corporate bonds, dysfunction is everywhere. As the Federal Reserve prepares to raise rates, this is raising questions about how well it can manage the credit creation process, the transmission mechanism through which it pursues its economic goals. It might also mean it is risking financial turmoil.


Not So Krafty?
Streetwise Professor
The CFTC has filed a complaint against Kraft and Mondelez Global, accusing the companies of manipulating the December, 2011 CBT Wheat Futures Contract. A few comments, based on what is laid out in the complaint (and therefore not on a full evaluation of all relevant facts and data):

Big-Bank Board Game Puts Shareholders in Second Place; As regulators pressure bank boards to take a broader view, shareholder interests may take a back seat
By John Carney
Banks are indeed different corporate creatures. Now, their boards are discovering that firsthand.

Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans

  • BYX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 4.3, Record of Written Complaints (Release No. 34-74645; File No. SR-BYX-2015-20; April 3, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • CME: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rulebook Provisions Establishing Decision-Making and Emergency Authority over Clearing House Matters (Release No. 34-74634; File No. SR-CME-2015-004; April 2, 2015)
  • NASDAQ: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Postpone Implementation of Changes to Rule 4751(h)(5) (Release No. 34-74637; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-028; April 2, 2015)
  • NASDAQ OMX BX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Rule 4751(h) (Release No. 34-74638; File No. SR-BX-2015-016; April 2, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • NSCC: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Amend Addendum A (Fee Structure) with Respect to the Alternative Investment Product Services (Release No. 34-74639; File No. SR-NSCC-2015-001; April 2, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • NYSE: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending its Price List to Specify that a Member Organization May Request that The Exchange Aggregate its Eligible Activity with Activity of the Member Organization’s Affiliates For Purposes of Charges or Credits Based on Volume (Release No. 34-74640; File No. SR-NYSE-2015-13; April 2, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • NYSE Arca: Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 6.35 to Refine the Appointment Process Utilized by the Exchange (Release No. 34-74635; File No. SR-NYSEArca-2015-17; April 2, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • NYSEMKT: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending its Price List to Specify that a Member Organization May Request that The Exchange Aggregate its Eligible Activity with Activity of the Member Organization’s Affiliates For Purposes of Charges or Credits Based on Volume (Release No. 34-74641; File No. SR-NYSEMKT-2015-20; April 2, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • NYSEMKT: Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 923NY to Refine the Appointment Process Utilized by the Exchange (Release No. 34-74636; File No. SR-NYSEMKT-2015-17; April 2, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
  • Phlx: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Move the Rule Text of Current Rule 1070, Customer Complaints, Into Rule 1028, Confirmations, To Accommodate an Upcoming Rulebook Reorganization (Release No. 34-74631; File No. SR-Phlx-2015-31; April 2, 2015)

FCA publishes its Business Plan for 2015/16 and announces details of new supervision and authorisation divisions
The Financial Conduct Authority has set out the key areas of work it will undertake in the forthcoming financial year with the publication of its Business Plan for 2015/16. It also confirmed the creation of two new Divisions that would be responsible for the FCA’s supervisory and authorisations work.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Intercontinental Exchange Reports ICE and NYSE Volume for March 2015; Energy Daily Volume up 16% over Prior March
Business Wire
Intercontinental Exchange, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today reported March exchange traded volume. ICE’s March 2015 futures and options average daily volume (ADV) declined 7% compared to March 2014. ADV for NYSE’s U.S. cash equities increased 6%, while U.S. equity options ADV declined 32% over the prior March. NYSE’s U.S. cash equities market share was 24.4% and NYSE’s U.S. options market share was 17.9%.

SGX sees volume growth in both securities and derivatives markets in March
Singapore Exchange (SGX) saw strong growth in trading volumes and market activities across securities and derivatives, and a 30% increase in bond listings. There were 22 trading days in March 2015 as compared with 18 days in February 2015 and 21 days in March 2014.

SIMON WATKINS: Financial markets are under-pricing political risk as election campaign gets underway
By Simon Watkins for the Daily Mail
The sight of seven political leaders vying for voters’ attention on Thursday night was unprecedented in modern British political history. This alone is raising fears in the City that the real drama will come not in the next five weeks of campaigning, but the weeks of horse-trading which follows. And in case there is any doubt, the word ‘drama’ is not a positive one as far as financial markets are concerned.

LSE Shares to Benefit from Frank Russell Deal
LSE’s success will ride in good part on its ability to capitalise on recent and planned acquisitions – in indexes and clearing – to help fuel growth, say equity analysts

ASIC suspends FX company’s licence
Following an investigation, ASIC has suspended the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of FX provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd (AGM).

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Pressure in Repo Market Spreads; Stresses amplify price swings in government bonds
By Katy Burne, WSJ
A shortage of high-quality bonds is disrupting the $2.6 trillion U.S. market for short-term loans known as repurchase agreements, or “repos,” creating bottlenecks for a key source of liquidity in the financial system and sending ripples through short-term debt markets.

S&P 500 Rallying 206% Beats Wage Growth by Most in Five Decades
by Lu Wang, Bloomberg
Being an American worker with no stake in the equity market has, by one measure at least, seldom been costlier.

Glencore’s Glasenberg bides his time on Rio Tinto
Neil Hume and James Wilson, FT
Ivan Glasenberg is not a chief executive short of opinions. But for the past six mon

Rising Demand Sweetens Sugar Prices;Raw-sugar futures rebound from a six-year low as refiners buy ahead of Ramadan
Sugar prices are climbing ahead of Islam’s holiest month, when demand for the sweetener rises.

Banks & Brokers

Merrill doesn’t hesitate to ax big producers, sending message
By Michael Wursthorn, MarketWatch
Merrill Lynch is shaking up the ranks of its 14,000 brokers with what appears to be a zero-tolerance message about breaking key company rules. The new, tougher approach is seen largely as a response to increased scrutiny from regulators and heightened oversight by the brokerage itself.

Big investment bank CEOs on Wall Street not earning what they once did
By Peter Rudegeair, MarketWatch
The pay slips of Wall Street’s rank and file are getting a little heavier. Less so for the big bosses.

Bank systems creak under weight of digital transactions
Emma Dunkley, FT
Pressure is mounting on the archaic technology systems that underpin some of the largest banks as they roll out online and mobile services to compete in the digital age.

Investors expect European banks to outperform, key survey finds
Laura Noonan, FT
European banks will beat other financial sector investments this year but valuations will not catch up to international peers until regulatory uncertainty fades and loan growth picks up, a survey of investors by Morgan Stanley has found.

Clearing & Settlement

CFTC Extends Portfolio Margining on ICE Clear Europe
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, in The National Law Review
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued an amended order authorizing futures commission merchants (FCMs) that are not clearing members of ICE Clear Europe Limited, but carry futures and options on futures positions cleared through ICE Clear Europe to commingle and hold in segregated accounts customer funds used to secure foreign futures and options, and to provide portfolio margining.

CalPERS boosts cash return through repurchase facility
Pensions & Investments
The one-year facility, created by the $301.7 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento — in collaboration with the Options Clearing Corp. and agency securities lending provider eSecLending LLC — would provide Options Clearing with the option of a cash draw from CalPERS, facilitated by eSecLending, if a counterparty defaults on a derivatives trade.

Faster payments: The need to upgrade current payment infrastructures
The Corner
Nowadays it is normal to receive immediately an e-mail sent from the other side of the world. Yet it still takes more than two days to transfer funds, even without being a cross-border transaction. The digital age demands an acceleration of payment processes.

China’s CIPS payment system to boost yuan use, hand foreign banks a share
South China Morning Post
China’s launch of its international payment system (CIPS) this the year should end the monopoly that China’s yuan clearing banks enjoy, giving foreign banks a share of the mushrooming yuan clearing business. Seven of the 20 banks selected to participate in the system initially are foreign, sources told Reuters.

Indexes & Products

Variety is the spice of life – and it’s essential for indices, too
S&P Dow Jones Indices
There are multiple markets globally, with regional preferences and different rules and standards governing each one. However, there are some common classifications that can be used to create comparable indices across regions. For example, every market does classify its components into large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap companies. While the market itself could comprise various sizes based on regional capabilities, there seems to be standardization and a clear trend on how this classification is done.

5 Reasons Investors Should Favor Index Funds, ETFs
Investors seem to have made up their collective minds in deciding that passive investing — index funds and exchange-traded fund that track the market benchmarks like the S&P 500 (^GSPC) — is preferable to actively managed funds, where stock pickers try to outperform the market averages.

The FX Disruptors: Why Russell Investments Built a Buyside FX Platform
With the foreign exchange markets shaken by the fallout from the 2013 FX rate fixing scandal, Russell Investments saw an opportunity to shake them up even further. While the industry explored ways to restructure the WM/Reuters daily FIX calculation window to minimize the possibility of manipulation by sellside brokers, Seattle-based Russell Investments began exploring a different model altogether.

China taking steps to open capital markets ahead of MSCI decision
Pensions & Investments
China’s regulators are taking more aggressive steps to open the country’s capital markets to foreign investors in the run-up to a midyear decision by MSCI Inc. on whether to begin adding China’s A shares to the firm’s benchmark equity indexes.


ASX Preps New Equities, Derivatives Feeds
The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is preparing to release a set of new binary market data feeds over the next 18 months in conjunction with its migration to a new trading platform for its equities and derivatives markets. In February, ASX announced that it would unify its equities and derivatives systems onto Swedish exchange trading platform and market technology provider Cinnober’s TradExpress trading system to provide customers with a common platform. At the same time, the exchange plans to consolidate…

BNY Mellon Explores Bitcoin’s Potential
By Clint Boulton, WSJ
Bank of New York Mellon Corp.BK +0.85% is experimenting with bitcoin, the disruptive digital currency, which it views as a potential new way to conduct financial transactions. But the bank is still working through the challenges of using the open source technology, whose decentralized architecture differs from the traditional computer systems businesses run today.

Boost for Uber as Brussels considers regulation of ride sharing
Duncan Robinson in Brussels, FT
Uber has received a boost in its struggle to overcome regulatory barriers after the European Commission gave the clearest indication yet that it is considering ways to regulate the ride-sharing service at a European rather than national level.


‘Fraudsters stole £80,000 from our accounts’;One elderly couple were caught out by criminals who had inside knowledge of their bank’s internal processes
By Nicole Blackmorem, The Telegraph
Banks and building societies must do more to warn their customers about the increasing number of telephone fraudsters posing as bank staff and police officers, who are scamming British savers out of millions.

Finra bars Tony Thompson from securities industry; The regulator said he misrepresented $50 million private offering that later went into default
By Bruce Kelly
Tony Thompson, the leading seller of private real estate investments known as tenant in common exchanges a decade ago before the real estate crash, has been barred from the securities industry.

Easley man banned for life from commodity-related activity
A U.S. District Court judge for the District of South Carolina signed an order last week permanently banning Robert Stanley Harrison of Easley from engaging in commodity-related activity.

Big Investor Involvement Could Boost Bitcoin;Major players could reduce volatility, increase acceptance of virtual currency
Some of the U.S.’s biggest proprietary traders and investors are testing the waters for a bigger move into bitcoin, giving a potential boost to the fledgling virtual-currency industry.

SEC Charges Friends With Insider Trading on Acquisition of Cooper Tire
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two longtime friends who illegally profited from insider trading on news of a proposed acquisition of Cooper Tire and Rubber Company by Apollo Tyres Ltd.

Environmental & Energy

Why Corporate America is reluctant to take a stand on climate action
By Marc Gunther – The Guardian
Many environmental groups consider the Obama administration’s plan to regulate carbon-spewing coal plants, which aims to cut carbon pollution by 30%, as one of our last chances to win the fight against climate change.

Fracking Operators Ran Up 2.5 Violations a Day, Study Shows
By Mark Drajem – Bloomberg News
Oil and gas drillers ran afoul of regulators on average 2.5 times a day in three energy-intensive states for mistakes such as wastewater spills, well leaks or pipeline ruptures during the boom in hydraulic fracturing.

China turns away more than half of carbon credit applicants to curb glut
China’s top regulator has ruled that more than half of the 54 mitigation projects that recently sought to register for carbon credits are ineligible, it said on Friday, amid worries that a glut of permits is undermining its pilot carbon markets.

Why China should make cutting coal power its No. 1 goal in the fight to limit global warming
By Mark L. Clifford – Financial Review
In the fight to limit global warming, no country matters more than China – a massive coal-dependent country, which is responsible for 30 per cent of global carbon-dioxide emissions. Fortunately, it is moving to improve its environmental record. But is it doing enough?


Trading volume for securities, derivatives markets up in March: SGX
Channel News Asia
The total trading value for securities was up 5 per cent year-on-year to S$25 billion, an increase of 19 per cent from a month earlier. Derivatives average daily trading volume also rose by 46 per cent year-on-year, and increased 15 per cent month-on-month.

China Bonds Expected To Default Tuesday. Another ‘Fake Failure’?
by Gordon G. Chang,
Thursday, Cloud Live Technology Group disclosed it did not have sufficient funds to make a bond payment due April 7. The Shenzhen-listed company, which had sold 18 Hunan-style restaurants in December to go into cloud computing, stated it had raised 161.4 million yuan, far short of the 402 million yuan owed this week. The expected default could be the first failure to repay bond principal in the history of the People’s Republic of China.

TOCOM Monthly Summary – March 2015; March Volume Averaged 89,084 Contracts per Day, Down 7.7% M-on-M
The Tokyo Commodity Exchange announced today that average daily trading volume for March 2015 was 89,084 contracts, down 7.0% from February 2015. On a year-on-year basis, it increased 11.2%. Crude Oil volume was up 1.7% to 12,395 contracts, but most other products decreased; Gasoline was down 34.2% to 7,627 contracts, Kerosene was down 24.9% to 1,712 contracts and there was a noticeable drop in agricultural product volume.

Frontier Markets

Small traders want brokers to participate in FTIL offer; According to proposal, every trader to receive 50% in three weeks; brokers have rejected suggestions
Dilip Kumar Jha, Business Standard
Abbey Rodrigues, an Ahmedabad-based trading client of the scam-hit National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), wants brokers to participate in the settlement offer made recently by the latter’s promoter, Financial Technologies India (FTIL), to clear the dues of small traders.

NSEL scam: Jignesh and Massey named accused in charge sheet
Business Standard
Financial Technologies India (FTIL) founder Jignesh Shah, Multi Commodities Exchange-Stock Exchange’s (MCX-SX) Joseph Massey and former National Spot Exchange (NSEL) Chief Executive Officer Anjani Sinha are among 68 persons named as accused in the chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the NSEL scam case.

Commexes may be allowed trading in currency derivatives
Shishir Sinha, The Hindu
Commodity Exchanges (Commexes) may be allowed to provide trading facility for currency derivatives after the merger of the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Argentine cenbank to send regulators to local Citibank HQ-media
Argentina’s central bank will send regulators to the headquarters of Citibank Argentina on Monday, the head of the monetary authority has said, the latest move between the bank and the state over defaulted debt.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This Story