John Lothian Newsletter: CME Group Cuts Grain, Soy Futures Trading Hours; Goldman eyes Volcker workaround for buyouts; FSA says it was slow to react over Libor

Mar 5, 2013

CME Group forges forward to the past, as it unwinds most of a controversial extension in grain trading hours. Goldman Sachs appears to have found a way to handily circumvent the Volcker rule for doing buyouts. Over in London, the FSA releases a report on its behavior with regard to the LIBOR scandal, and concludes that it didn’t move particularly fast to identify and stop the trouble… which, in a way, is better than hearing, “Oh sure, we all knew about that for years; we just didn’t think anybody else really cared about it.”

First Read

New Restoring Customer Confidence Video
We’re back with an update on confirmations. This new video explains the NFA and CME Group’s electronic confirmation system for futures brokers.

Restoring Customer Confidence More ideas»
Confirmations: NFA and CME’s Financial

Confirmations: NFA and CME’s Financial

The fraud at Peregrine Financial Group was uncovered in July 2012 by the National Futures Association (NFA) which used an electronic bank account confirmation system. (See Confirmations: Plugging Into Electronic Confirmations)

In November 2012, the NFA and CME Group announced they would implement an electronic confirmation system for futures brokers. The system, operated by Alphametrics, provides a comprehensive check and match of what FCMs say they have in customer funds with what banks say they have.

Chris Hehmeyer, CEO of HTG Capital Partners and chairman of the NFA, says the new system will help regulators and customers assure such a fraud does not occur again.

Watch the video »


About the Restoring Customer Confidence video series
In the aftermath of the MF Global collapse, fraud at Peregrine Financial Group and high profile high-frequency trading shocks, John Lothian News asks – how do you restore customer confidence and bring traders back? Visit the video series page on


Travels and Corrections
Jon Matte, aka “The ‘Milton’ of JLN”
John and Jim and Patrick are off to see the sights in Washington today. It’s possible that they’ll also do some business while they’re out there; I hear the “Meet Popular Members of Congress” tour is over pretty quickly these days.

Along with providing today’s snappy comment (see the previous sentence), John asked me to justify an alleged lack of editorial oversight in yesterday’s commentary section, in which I allowed him to associate vampires and silver bullets. Evidently somebody had pointed out that silver bullets are for stopping werewolves and not vampires.

Let it always be said that here at John Lothian News, we take great pride in the sum of our knowledge, not just our coverage of financial topics. To the person or people who tried to get me fired for dereliction of duty, I offer the following brief list in response:
1. John wasn’t angry enough to fire me.
2. Bullets of any caliber and composition are adequate to slow a vampire, even if they won’t outright kill it. Remember, as with zombies, dinosaurs and pretty much any other supernormal predator, even if you can’t kill a vampire, you can slow it down enough to escape and let the monster find a new victim.
3. Silver IS in fact useful to cause damage to and ward off attacks from vampires, though it is not considered a completely effective mode for killing them. So in that sense, John’s comment was not, in fact, the casual non sequitur that it may have appeared to some readers.

I hope that I’ve been able to clear up this important matter, and you may now proceed with the financial news of the day.


Thanks From John
Oh, one more thing. John asked me to convey his gratitude (sincerely, this time) to all those who wished him well in light of his upcoming surgery. It’s a nontrivial event, and your good thoughts and support gave him a boost.


Ray Carmichael Opens New Chapter in Long Career
John Lothian
Longtime futures public relations executive Ray Carmichael is headed to school. Carmichael has shuttered Strategics, his public relations firm, and accepted a position with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as Director of Professional Schools Ministry.

Carmichael, who once worked for the Red Cross and later the Chicago Board of Trade, will be in charge of their professional schools program (graduate schools like MBAs, Medical, Dental, Law, Education and PhD programs). It is a job that combines his faith with his skills as a communicator.

We wish him the best in this, the next chapter of his career.


Volatility Revenue Up Futures Trade at CME
Jacob Bunge and Saabira Chaudhuri – Dow Jones
Derivatives trade at CME Group Inc. (CME) last month spiked to its highest level in a year and a half as volatility ramped up in stock and bond markets. Investors’ bets that baseline interest rates could begin to rise as the U.S. economy heals helped push business on CME’s markets to an average 13.7 million contracts traded per day, the most since September 2011 and 7% over year-ago levels, the exchange group reported Monday.


Securitization Lobby in Disarray After Most Directors Quit
Robert Schmidt & Jody Shenn – Bloomberg
The main trade association for the securitization industry is in turmoil after most of the board resigned in a dispute with the group’s executive director over governance and bonuses, according to six people with knowledge of the matter. The exodus at the American Securitization Forum puts the future of the group in question, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the dispute isn’t public.


Wall Street’s latest idea
Tracy Alloway –
For centuries, scientists and philosophers attempted to turn cheap base metals into the precious gold and silver used as ancient coinage. Now, bankers are endeavouring to achieve a Wall Street equivalent. Known as “collateral transformation”, this new business is emerging as a rare bright spot in the banking industry. On Wall Street, where new regulations and competitive pressures have hurt profits, there are hopes it will boost bank earnings.


Is Your CEO Worth $20,000 an Hour?
Rebecca Healey – TabbFORUM
Responding to reports in the Financial Times this week, the Financial Services Authority once again stated that commissions must be used for execution and research payments only – corporate access is no longer permissible, particularly when it costs $20,000 an hour.


PhillipCapital opens direct market access to India’s National Stock Exchange
Orc, a leading provider of technology and services for the global financial industry, today announced that PhillipCapital, India (PhillipCapital) has deployed Orc Access to meet the growing market demand for low-latency connectivity in India.


MarketAxess Announces Monthly Volume Statistics for February 2013
MarketAxess Holdings Inc., the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for U.S. and European corporate bonds, emerging markets bonds and other types of fixed-income securities, today announced total monthly trading volume for February 2013 of $52.1 billion, consisting of $33.2 billion in U.S. high-grade volume, $2.6 billion in eurobond volume, and $16.3 billion in other volume.


Insider Trading’s Smart Cheats
In the world of trading, it is often said there are three types of successful investors: smart, lucky and cheaters. But amid allegations of insider trading in options in connection with Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s $23 billion proposed acquisition of H.J. Heinz Co., there is a new, fourth category: the smart cheat.



MarketsWiki Page of the Day
Robert Urtheil

MarketsWiki Recent Updates


John Henry; Sara Stahl; W. Paul Ellis; Robert Urtheil; Satish Nandapurkar; Mike Forst

Companies, Organizations and Groups

Trading Technologies International; Archipelago Holdings; Woodbine Associates; Creditex Group Inc.; Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange; BP; MarketAxess Holdings Inc.


35,969,733 pages viewed, 7,423 articles, 155,741 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

Lead Stories

CME Group Cuts Grain, Soy Futures Trading to 17½ Hours
CME Group Inc. will reduce its trading day in grain and soybean futures to 17½ hours from 21 hours, largely undoing a controversial expansion done last year. The new schedule trims afternoon hours and creates a 45-minute pause in trading in the morning before open-outcry, or “pit,” trading begins, exchange officials said Tuesday.

Exclusive: Goldman eyes Volcker workaround for buyouts
Goldman Sachs Group Inc is trying to work around a financial reform regulation to keep investing in the profitable, albeit risky, business of buying and selling companies, three sources familiar with the new business said over the past week.

FSA says it was slow to react over Libor
Daniel Schäfer in London –
The City’s regulator was “too narrowly focused” on the financial crisis and did not respond quickly enough to suggestions that banks were submitting artificially low Libor rates, according to an internal review by the Financial Services Authority. While critical of the FSA’s performance in the rate-rigging scandal, the report cleared it of major regulatory failure on the scale that had been identified in its handling of the problems at Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Senate report may fault JPMorgan executives in trading loss: NYT
Reuters via Yahoo! News
A senate committee, which began an inquiry into JPMorgan’s multi-billion dollar trading loss last year, is expected to fault certain executives in its report for allowing the bank to build bets without fully warning regulators and investors, the New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the inquiry.

Irish to Seek Formal Approval of Bank Bonus Deal Opposed by U.K.
Ireland will seek backing from other European Union nations tomorrow for draft rules on bank capital requirements that include bonus curbs opposed by the U.K. and criticized by lenders as a threat to competitiveness.

Money-Laundering Suspicion Stalls Europe’s Latest Bailout
Cyprus’s newly elected government is bargaining for a E17 billion bailout from its euro-zone peers. But the little island won’t get a cent until it wrestles with a long-standing issue: money laundering. Cyprus’s reputation as a transit point for shady cash, and its unusual connections to Russia, are making many of its would-be rescuers nervous.

Euro crisis is breeding comics not fascists
Gideon Rachman –
Some months ago, I was discussing the euro crisis with a high-ranking US diplomat. “It’s back to the 1930s, isn’t it?” said my companion with a mixture of gloom and relish. “The extremists are on the rise.”


SEF Rule Delays Present Issues and Opportunities
Panelists at the 2013 FIX Protocol Limited (FPL) EMEA Trading Conference in London yesterday said that the delays over finalized rules for Swap Execution Facilities (SEFs) in the US are leading to over development on platforms and an uncertain regional direction for technology.

SEC Issues Risk Alert and Investor Bulletin on Investment Adviser Custody Rule
The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a Risk Alert on compliance with its custody rule for investment advisers and it also issued an Investor Bulletin about the rule, which is designed to protect advisory clients from theft or misuse of their funds and securities.

UK’s Financial Services Authority Publishes Its Internal Audit Report On: Review Of The Extent Of Awareness Within The FSA Of Inappropriate LIBOR Submissions
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published its Internal Audit Report (the Report) on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

Remarks Of CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler Before The Institute Of International Bankers

IOSCO Publishes Principles of Liquidity Risk Management For CIS
The International Organization of Securities Commissions published today the final report on

Thomson Reuters to Host Australian Regulatory Summit in Sydney
Thomson Reuters, the world`s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today announced that the inaugural Australian Regulatory Summit will take place in Sydney on 01 May, 2013 with participation of the principle Australian and New Zealand regulatory bodies of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, AUSTRAC, The Reserve Bank of Australia and the Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

CME Group Volume Averaged 13.7 Million Contracts per Day in February 2013, Up 7 Percent from February 2012 and Up 20 Percent from January 2013
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced that February 2013 volume averaged 13.7 million contracts per day, up 7 percent from February 2012, and up 20 percent from January 2013. Total volume for February 2013 was more than 259 million contracts, of which 88 percent was traded electronically.

ICE Reports February Futures Volume
ICE’s average daily volume (ADV) for futures and options was 3,640,377 contracts, a decline of 10% from the prior February. Total contract volume in February 2013 was 69 million. All prior period contract volumes have been adjusted to include the transitioned futures contracts, which previously traded in ICE’s OTC markets.

ASX Group Monthly Activity Report – February 2013
In February 2013 the average daily number of trades was 18% higher than the pcp. The average daily value traded was 1% higher than the pcp.

SGX Derivatives and Clearing Volumes Grow in February
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today said its derivatives and clearing volumes continued to grow in February but securities market activity declined.

Boerse Stuttgart Reports Monthly Turnover Of Around EUR 7.7 Billion – Leverage Products Up – Surge In Demand For Index And Participation Certificates
According to its order book statistics, Boerse Stuttgart generated turnover of around EUR 7.7 billion in February 2013, slightly down on the figure for January.

Burgundy Monthly Report – February 2013
Olof Neiglick, CEO of Burgundy, comments about the month: “Burgundy’s average daily turnover for the Nordic countries was EUR 93.6 (86.1) million, an increase of 8.7 percent, compared with January 2013.“

Warsaw Stock Exchange Derivatives Market in February 2013

European Power Exchange: Power Trading Results In February 2013 – New Record On French Markets

IntercontinentalExchange Sets Date of May 1 for First Quarter 2013 Earnings Announcement

The Moscow Exchange’s Derivatives Market Experiences A Liquidity Boost And Increase Of The Average Trade Size
On February 01, 2013 the Moscow Exchange announced the Clash of the Titans Competition on its Derivatives market. The competition aimed to boost liquidity on the market and improve the quality of the order book for derivatives on the Exchange”s indices. Leading clearing members (brokers) of the futures and options market took part in the competition.

New Members Of MEFF

[CBOE] Mini Options (on SPY, AAPL, GLD, GOOG and AMZN) Information and FAQ

ASX Compliance Monthly Activity Report – February 2013

SIX Financial Information Enhances StatPro Data Offering With Intraday Pricing Service

TMX Group Patron Sponsor of PDAC 2013

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Bond Pricing Service Shutting Down
Benchmark Solutions, a bond-pricing data provider, is winding down operations after losing support from private-equity backer Warburg Pincus, according to people familiar with the matter.

Jobs shake-out threat as poor fundraising begins to bite
Dan Dunkley – Financial News
Fundraising fortunes are beginning to have a direct effect on private equity jobs. Recruiters say that the tough fundraising market (widely expected to reduce management fees and funds under management) means unsuccessful firms face cost cutting while successful firms continue to manage succession planning to bring in new talent.

Abris shrugs off lack of exits to hit fund limit
Paul Hodkinson – Financial News
Central and Eastern Europe-focused buyout firm Abris Capital Partners has raised a fund at its upper limit of E450m despite not realising any of the investments from its previous fund.

Hedge fund firm Lansdowne says Ruddock to retire as CEO
Reuters via Yahoo! News
LONDON – Lansdowne Partners, one of the world’s best-known hedge fund managers, said Paul Ruddock is to retire as chief executive to focus on his work in the arts and on charity work.

Exclusive: Ackman’s hedge fund dips 0.1 percent in February
Hedge fund manager William Ackman’s flagship fund slipped only 0.1 percent last month even after two major holdings moved in the wrong direction, according to an investor alert from Pershing Square.

Principal Agrees to Buy 55% Stake in Liongate Hedge Fund
Principal Financial Group Inc. , the seller of life insurance and retirement products, agreed to buy a 55 percent stake in Liongate Capital Management LLP to expand in hedge funds and meet demand for alternative investments.

Rice Glut Expands With Farms Poised for Record Crop: Commodities
Luzi Ann Javier & Supunnabul Suwannakij – Bloomberg
Farmers are preparing to plant a record rice crop that will boost inventories held by the world’s biggest exporters to the highest ever.

Doug Kass: I’m Honored to Be Buffett’s ‘Credentialed Bear’
Wall Street Journal Blogs
Hedge-fund manager Doug Kass was just as surprised as the rest of the world when he learned this morning that he will be Warren Buffett’s “credentialed bear.”

The World’s Richest Billionaire Hedge Fund Managers And Traders
The world’s billionaires club now includes 40 men who have earned a significant part of their wealth from managing hedge funds. These hedge fund billionaires have profited by making big trades in financial markets and charging their investors high fees.

Banks & Brokers

Goldman Joins Citigroup in Expanding Cyber Threat Lists
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. stepped up warnings to shareholders about cyber attacks as the U.S. prodded banks and government agencies to bolster their defenses.

Citigroup Books $579M for Pay Plan Shareholders Panned
Citigroup Inc. executives stand to collect $579 million under profit-sharing plans that include the one shareholders voted against last year.

Citigroup arbitration win in $4 billion Abu Dhabi case upheld
Reuters via Yahoo! News
A Manhattan federal judge on Monday rejected a bid by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to overturn an arbitration panel’s ruling favoring Citigroup Inc in a dispute over a $7.5 billion investment by the fund in the bank.

Swiss bank Wegelin ordered to pay in U.S. tax evasion case
Reuters via Yahoo! News
NEW YORK – A U.S. court on Monday sentenced Wegelin & Co, the oldest Swiss private bank, to pay $57.85 million after it admitted to helping wealthy Americans evade taxes.

Chief European economist departs SocGen
Suzi Ring – Financial News
Two of Societe Generale’s top research figures – including its chief European economist – have left the bank, marking the latest exits at the French firm’s research division.

UBS hires O’Neill from rival BofA Merrill
David Thomas – Financial News
UBS has hired veteran research head Bill O’Neill from Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s wealth management business, whose non-US unit is in the process of being sold to Swiss private bank Julius Baer.

Clearing & Settlement

Indexes & Products

An Impressive First Year for Bill Gross’s ETF
Pimco Total Return ETF has churned out superb returns in its debut year — and has done so without using derivatives

Tokyo Stock Exchange: Indicative NAV Published For New ETFs Through The FLEX Standard Service

KBW Announces Change to KBW Mortgage Finance Index (MFXSM)


tradeMONSTER and Lumineye Team Up to Offer TrendLens Systematic Trading Software
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance
tradeMONSTER and Lumineye announced today tradeMONSTER customers now have access to the Lumineye’s TrendLens systematic trading software. TrendLens is an advanced application whose intuitive visual interface allows traders to easily build, test, and execute trading strategies using multiple time frames.

MarketAxess Completes Acquisition of Xtrakter
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance
MarketAxess Holdings Inc., the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for U.S. and European corporate bonds, emerging markets bonds and other types of fixed-income securities, has completed its previously announced acquisition of Xtrakter Limited, a leading provider of regulatory transaction reporting, financial market data and trade matching services to the European securities markets.

EClerx Appoints Alan Paris to Grow Global Financial Services Business
eClerx, a leading knowledge and business process outsourcing firm to the global financial services industry, today announced the appointment of Alan Paris as Principal in the New York office. In this newly-created role, Paris will manage financial services accounts and act as Global Consulting Lead. Paris will focus on growing new and existing accounts for the firm, while providing on-shore consulting services.

EDI Collaborates With Derivative Partners To Provide Independent Valuation
Exchange Data International (EDI), a well-established provider of Security Reference and Corporate Actions data, today announced its partnership with Derivative Partners, a leading provider of independent risk management and valuation services of structured products, to provide valuations for a wide range of structured products and complex derivative instruments.

Portware Wins Best Buy-Side EMS
Portware, the leading provider of global, multi-asset trading solutions, today announced that Markets Media has recognized Portware with the prestigious 2013 Market’s Choice Award for Best Buy-Side Execution Management System (EMS).

SimCorp Webinar to Address How Regulation Spurs Innovation
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance
SimCorp, a leading provider of investment management software and services for the global financial services industry, today announced an upcoming webinar in conjunction with TABB Group and Ernst & Young scheduled for March 7, 2013.


FINRA Fines Ameriprise and Clearing Firm $750,000 for Failing to Supervise Transmittal of Customer Funds to Third-Party Accounts
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has fined Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. and its affiliated clearing firm, American Enterprise Investment Services Inc. (AEIS), $750,000 for failing to have reasonable supervisory systems in place to monitor wire transfer requests and the transmittal of customer funds to third-party accounts.

A Spider Web Of Hedge Fund And Forex Ponzi Fraud
This is a somewhat long and convoluted tale, whose every twist and turn will likely turn you?re your stomach in disgust. With that warning, let?s go back to 2009, when George Sepero, Glen Rock, NJ, Carmelo Provenzano, Garfield, NJ, and Daniel Dragan, Hunterdon County, NJ, claimed to run a series of hedge funds in New Jersey.

Environmental & Energy

China Carbon Tax May Spur U.S. Climate Debate, CMIA Says
China’s potential carbon tax may spur U.S. lawmakers to consider climate protection more seriously, according to a trader representative.

**RKB — China may be “staking out” a position for the United Nations climate negotiations, which aim for some kind of new global deal by 2015, CMIA’s Prell said.

Little unity over California’s cap-and-trade program
Businesses and environmentalists remain deeply divided over California’s landmark carbon cap-and-trade program, with industry calling it a job-killing nightmare and clean energy proponents saying it has positioned the state as a global leader in tackling climate change.

**RKB — Manufacturing and food processors attending last week’s Sacramento conference said they would prefer the state simply tell them how much each facility can emit over the cap-and-trade policy as it is currently designed.

California Cancels Carbon Permit Reserve Sale After No Bids
California canceled a supplementary sale of carbon permits scheduled this week after receiving no expressions of interest from factories and power stations, the state emissions market administrator said.


Hong Kong’s SFC Bans Ex-Morgan Stanley Director For Life
Vinicy Chan – Bloomberg
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has imposed a lifetime ban on Du Jun, a former Morgan Stanley managing director convicted of insider trading.

Thailand Futures Exchange To Add 20 New Underlying For Stock Futures On March 18

EDHEC-Risk Institute Study Highlights The Inefficiency Of Asian Stock Market Indices
In a study entitled “Assessing the Quality of Asian Stock Market Indices,” researchers at EDHEC-Risk Institute have reported results for 10 major Asian stock market indices over the past decade.

HKFE Announces Revised Margins For Bank Of Communications Futures

Frontier Markets

Bursa Malaysia Securities Publicly Reprimands Carotech Berhad And Hovid Berhad And Fines Five Directors A Total Of RM400,000

Tehran Stock Exchange Hosts A Foreign Investment Delegation
A group of eleven foreign investors from the USA, India and Russia visited Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) in order to get acquainted with the Iranian capital market and foreign investment regulations.


Your Raise Is On The Front Page of The New York Times
I have a new client who hasn’t had a raise in seven years. Last year, she was promoted and given new job duties, making her one of millions who are working harder and longer for less.

F.C.C. Urges a Right to Unlock Cellphones
For a decade consumers have been able to keep their cellphone numbers even if they switched their wireless carriers. On Monday, the Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission said consumers should also be able to switch carriers and keep their actual phones.

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