First Read

CME CEO Duffy isn’t worried about Trump
Lynn Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
Terry Duffy’s executive suite at CME Group, a few floors above the Chicago River, is lined with shelves of photos picturing him with politicians from both sides of the aisle. In one, the CME chief exec is flanked by former Republican President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb Bush on a Florida golf course last year. Shots of Democrats, President Barack Obama and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, have perches too. Noticeably absent: newly elected Republican President Donald Trump.

**JK: Bullish on derivatives.


WFE Market Highlights from 2016
The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) today published its 2016 Market Highlights.
Perhaps highlighting the somewhat exceptional nature of 2015, markets were more subdued in 2016, with most regions showing only modest increases on 2015 figures across the major primary and secondary market indicators, coupled with a number of more significant decreases:
Global market capitalisation was up 4.4%. Value of share trading and the number of trades declined by 26.9% and 15.5%.

**JK: Numbers are sometimes modest.


A Retired Business Professor Stashed $200 Million With Credit Suisse
David Voreacos – Bloomberg
Dan Horsky pleaded guilty to hiding $200 million from IRS; Most wealthy defendants in offshore tax cases avoid prison
A former client of Credit Suisse Group AG who pleaded guilty to hiding $200 million from U.S. tax authorities is at the center of a struggle between the Justice Department, which wants to send a stern message by sending tax cheats to prison, and U.S. judges, who have opted for leniency in past cases.

**JK: It’s not that he stashed it, it’s how he made it that’s of interest.


Goldman’s Abby Joseph Cohen, Famous for Bullish Calls, to Retire
Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Abby Joseph Cohen, who became one of Wall Street’s most prominent strategists with prescient calls on some of the biggest U.S. rallies, is retiring as president of the firm’s Global Market Institute.

**JK: She ought to do an advice column.


John Lothian News Spotlight

The Future of FinTech

Against the backdrop of a volatile global political and economic climate, we see technological advancement and adoption of disruptive mediums moving at an aggressive pace. Which technologies are “winners” and where should you focus your energy? Here are several outlined in this new whitepaper by Nasdaq.

Click HERE and fill out the short form for a link to the whitepaper



Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm
Robert Kolker – Bloomberg
On Aug. 18, 2010, a police lieutenant in Gary, Ind., received an e-mail, the subject line of which would be right at home in the first few scenes of a David Fincher movie: “Could there be a serial killer active in the Gary area?”

**JK: For all of those who don’t believe in algos. Here’s one you ought to look at.


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top read stories on Thursday were led by the FT piece, Deutsche Bank walks away from US swaps clearing. Second was Trump Preparing to Nominate Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Giancarlo as Chair. Third went to The Trade’s piece Soc Gen sees fixed income trading boom


MarketsWiki Stats
93,537,982 pages viewed; 22,337 pages; 203,593 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Republican plan would ease Wall Street rules, as party embraces deregulation
Patrick Rucker – Reuters
The Republican chairman of a key House of Representatives committee has laid out his plan to roll back Wall Street rules and consumer protections conceived after the 2008 financial crisis, a step that will largely define the financial deregulation debate in the Trump era.

How the Flash Crash Trader’s $50 Million Fortune Vanished; Nav Sarao made big money trading futures from his bedroom—then lost it all.
Liam Vaughan – Bloomberg
It took Navinder Singh Sarao a long time to accept that he might have been scammed out of $50 million. Stuck in London’s Wandsworth prison, wracked with anxiety and unable to sleep, the realization dawned on the man dubbed the “Flash Crash Trader” as slowly as spring turned to summer outside the barred window of his jail cell.

LME’s Chamberlain favourite to take wheel of metals juggernaut
Pratima Desai – Reuters
Acting head Matt Chamberlain is fast emerging as the frontrunner to permanently take the reins at the London Metal Exchange, with industry insiders saying he has the skills, experience and knowledge to resolve a conflict with members and grow volumes.

Nasdaq plans venture arm to invest in financial technology: sources
Anna Irrera – Reuters
Exchange operator Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) plans to set up a venture capital arm to invest in financial technology companies that can help grow its own businesses, two people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

Bond trading platform boom a challenge for regulators, says IOSCO
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Monitoring the recent boom in electronic bond trading platforms is presenting new challenges for regulators, according to the International Organisation of Securities Commission (IOSCO).

Greek Two-Year Bond Yield Crosses 10% Amid Creditor Dispute
David Goodman – Bloomberg
The selloff in Greek bonds amid the nation’s dispute with its creditors passed another milestone, with the yield on its two-year notes rising above 10 percent.

Germans Sent Gold Away to Keep It From the Soviets. Now Much of It Is Back.
Jack Ewing – NY Times
Germans who never really warmed up to the euro may be able to sleep a little easier. After decades of being safeguarded overseas, the nation’s gold reserves — a large part of them, at least — are once again safe in Frankfurt.

How Much Are You In For?; Topic: Alternative Investing
There is a recent post by Eric Nelson that uses AQR to make one really good point and then to, kind of oddly, pointedly not ask the next logical question. Here I ask and answer that question.

Deutsche Boerse warns against hasty changes to U.S. banking rules
German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) warned on Friday the United States should be cautious in any revamp of banking regulations to ensure the lessons of the financial crisis are not forgotten.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

London Stock Exchange Responds To ‘Investor Demand’ Launching ESG Reporting Guidance
Roger Aitken – Forbes
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has issued guidance, through its Global Sustainable Investment Centre, which sets out recommendations for “good practice” in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting. The global guide brought calls today from a member of the World Bank Group for other stock exchanges around the world to follow the bourse’s example and lead.

National Stock Exchange names IDFC’s Vikram Limaye as CEO
India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) named Vikram Limaye, the CEO of infrastructure lender IDFC Ltd, as its new chief executive as the country’s largest bourse gears up for a much-awaited initial public offering this year.

SIX Swiss Exchange
Trading turnover on SIX Swiss Exchange and SIX Structured Products Exchange totalled CHF 120.1 bn in January 2017. This corresponds to a 11.7% month-on-month increase and a 6.5% year-on-year increase. In January 2017, a total of 4’202’724 trades were conducted. This corresponds to a 10.3% month-on-month increase.

MGEX Reaches Best Open Interest In Its 135-Year History
MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), has reached its highest open interest total of all-time, closing the day at 91,935 and surpassing the previous record by more than 1,300.

NSE pulls plug on power exchange ahead of IPO
Business Standard
In what could potentially disturb the power trading market in the country, National Stock Exchange (NSE), with the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) has voted to shut down their power trading platform, the Power Exchange of India (PXIL).

EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis opens London Stock Exchange trading
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) today welcomes Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, EU Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, to London Stock Exchange to open trading and celebrate the Capital Markets Union (CMU) project.

Euro-OAT Futures hit records on election volatility
Open interest in futures contracts referencing French government debt hit record highs this week as a turbulent presidential election campaign drove yields on 10-year French OATs to their widest spread over German Bunds for more than four years.

TOCOM president says no plan to tighten regulations on rubber trade
The Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) has so far found no irregular participants or trades from position reports on rubber futures contracts that were submitted by its member brokers last week, the exchange president said on Thursday.

NSEL scam: Sebi readies action against brokers, sees no ponzi
In the high-profile NSEL scam, capital markets regulator Sebi is readying to act against five brokers found to be involved in irregular activities even as it has ruled out any ponzi-angle or collective investment scheme in the trading model of the erstwhile spot exchange.


FIS’s Acquisition of SunGard Is Key Growth Driver
By Rebecca Keats – Market Realist
In 2015, Fidelity Information Services (FIS) acquired SunGard, expanding its top line nearly 50.0% and entering the capital markets and asset management businesses (XLF). The acquisition, which closed in November 2015, isn’t expected to hit net profitability for some time due to the debt load created by the deal.

Leading Global Banks Cut Counterparty Risk as AcadiaSoft and Quantile Pilot Risk Optimisation Service
Following the announcement of their partnership in November 2016, Quantile Technologies Limited and AcadiaSoft Inc. have successfully completed their first large-scale risk reduction pilot exercises.

****SD: More from The Trade here

Alphabet opts to spell out its stock options
Richard Waters – Financial Times
Google is about to go cold turkey on Silicon Valley’s favourite financial drug. Issuing mountains of stock to employees — and then turning a blind eye to the impact on profits — has been a not-so-secret dirty habit of the US tech industry for years. But the times are changing. In a little-noticed announcement, the internet company’s parent, Alphabet, let slip on its last earnings call that it is about to alter its treatment of stock-based compensation — a $6.7bn cost last year. From this quarter, it will stop presenting a view of its earnings that ignores stock costs.


Treasury Nominee Vows No Tax Cut for Rich. Math Says the Opposite.
Patricia Cohen – NY Times
The newly christened “Mnuchin rule” — the assurance given by the Treasury nominee Steven T. Mnuchin that “there would be no absolute tax cut for the upper class” — seems as if it was made to be broken. Mr. Mnuchin initially made the statement during an interview on CNBC in November, after President Trump chose him for the cabinet.

Consumer Watchdog Faces Attack by House Republicans
Alan Rappeport – NY Times
The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee will move forward on legislation to neuter the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its power to crack down on predatory business practices, according to a leaked memo that emerged on Thursday and infuriated Democratic defenders of the bureau.

Donald Trump’s Cabinet Won’t Include Chairman of CEA; Diminished stature for the CEA means president will likely rely more heavily on other advisers
Josh Zumbrun – WSJ
The White House Council of Economic Advisers is being demoted by the Trump administration, which said in a statement Wednesday that the president’s cabinet won’t include the chairman of the CEA, an official that President Donald Trump also has yet to name.

How Congress might gut Dodd-Frank; Consumers would lose; big banks would win.
John Patty – VOX
Running alongside the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce financial regulation is House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), who is reportedly proposing to dramatically reconfigure the structure and powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Investing and Trading

World’s Biggest FX Trader Calls Trump Currency Talk Hogwash
Lananh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Hogwash. Hot air. That’s what Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup Inc., makes of the Trump administration’s comments on exchange rates. The world’s largest foreign-exchange trading firm sees the dollar rising this year even as the president talks the greenback down and blasts some of the nation’s biggest trading partners for currency manipulation.

USDA cuts wheat, corn stocks view on firm exports, ethanol output
Mark Weinraub – Reuters
U.S. wheat supplies were seen shrinking below market estimates as the export outlook brightened despite ample global stocks and a firm dollar that had been seen as a brake on overseas demand, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday.

Commodity Revival Continues
Tim Puko – WSJ
Investors that pumped money back into commodities last year are still at it. They put another $6.8 billion into passive, commodity-index investments in January, adding to massive inflows from 2016, according to data compiled by Aakash Doshi. The inflows coupled with big price gains pushed total commodities assets held by retail and institutional investors up […]

Bitcoin price, February 9, 2017
Jonathan Garber – Business Insider
Bitcoin was down by 8%, or $85, at $975 a coin as of 4:06 p.m. ET on Thursday after at least two of China’s biggest bitcoin exchanges announced they were blocking customers from withdrawing their bitcoins. The announcements followed Wednesday’s meeting between the People’s Bank of China and the bitcoin exchanges.

U.S. investors more willing to place wagers on uncertain Europe
Trevor Hunnicutt – Reuters
A spate of elections this year that threaten to change Europe’s course and rattle the continent’s largest political bloc and currency is normally the sort of uncertainty that scares away international investors.

Hedging demand perks up even as volatility craters
Saqib Iqbal Ahmed – Reuters
Soaring U.S. share prices and plunging market volatility measures may paint a picture of optimism, but there are signs in the equity options market that investors have started to question how long this goldilocks period can last.

This Man Wants to Sell Republicans on a Carbon Tax; Ted Halstead hatched a plan to get climate change back on the agenda. It’s been 20 years in the making.
Eric Roston – Bloomberg
Not everything went perfectly for Ted Halstead this week.


Derivatives house of the year: Citi
Excuse the language – a treasury source at one of the world’s biggest interest rate swap end-users is speaking his mind. “When we need to trade, two or three banks will be there. Of those, Citi is number one because of its consistency. Others, if they don’t have an axe or a clear way of getting out, will give a ‘fuck-you’ price,” he says.

Bridgewater co-CIO Bob Prince on culture and performance
Richard Feloni – Business Insider
Bob Prince, co-CIO of the world’s largest hedge fund, correlates its longterm investment success with its unusual and demanding culture.

T. Rowe Stock Manager Ignores Trump Mania Delivering 24% Returns
Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Wallack picked as Morningstar’s fund manager of 2016; He sees opportunities in defensive and apparel shares
Tune out the noise.

Opinion: The bigger banks get, the harder we will fall; Financial industry deregulation could trigger another global banking crisis
Satyajit Das – MarketWatch
The rally in U.S. banking stocks hinges on expectations that the Trump administration will relax or even remove regulations imposed on the sector in the wake of the 2008-09 global financial crisis. The danger is that since big banks are still not too big to fail, deregulation, both in the U.S. and globally, could trigger another financial shock.

Blackstone Said to Get $1.5 Billion to Seed New Hedge Funds
Devin Banerjee – Bloomberg
Firm has raised $5 billion since 2007 to give startup capital; BAAM unit also manages $3.3 billion fund buying equity stakes
Blackstone Group LP gathered about $1.5 billion to provide startup capital for new hedge fund managers, people with knowledge of the matter said, as the alternative-asset giant continues to make bets on the industry’s growth.

Once ‘King of Hedge Funds,’ College of Wooster Becomes a Skeptic
Janet Lorin – Bloomberg
Small college endowments are toughest in cutting hedge funds; School funds say they’ll keep cutting allocations, survey says
Hedge funds once seemed crucial to helping the College of Wooster boost the value of its endowment. Not anymore.


Putting Clients Second
John C. Bogle – NY Times
The Trump administration recently announced that it intends to review, and presumably overturn, the Obama-era fiduciary duty rule that is scheduled to take effect in April. The administration’s case was articulated by Gary Cohn, the new director of the National Economic Council.

Republican outlines sweeping reforms proposed for banks
The Republican leader of the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday proposed paring back a consumer protection agency and easing national accounting standards in a banking reform package.

ESMA Revises MiFID Standard On Position Reporting
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published today a revision of its draft Implementing Technical Standards (ITS) on position reporting under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II).

ESAs consult on Packaged Retail and Insurance-Based Investment Products with Environmental or Social Objectives
The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) launched today a consultation on a proposal to set minimum requirements, which manufacturers of packaged retail and insurance-based investment products with environmental or social objectives (EOS PRIIPs) should comply with to ensure that credible products are offered to retail investors. This consultation is in response to a European Commission call for advice.

Hong Kong’s Securities And Futures Commission Reprimands And Fines Forex HK Limited $1.6 Million
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has reprimanded and fined Forex HK Limited (GMOHK) $1.6 million for deficiencies in its order execution and slippage handling procedures, and failures in its electronic trading system for leveraged foreign exchange contracts (Note 1).

Remarks at SIFMA Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Conference
Susan F. Axelrod – Executive Vice President, Regulatory Operations – FINRA
Good morning. It’s great to have this opportunity to be with you today to talk about anti-money laundering (AML), an area of significant regulatory focus both for the industry and regulators alike.

FINRA Promotes Marcia E. Asquith to EVP, Board and External Relations; and Jennifer Piorko Mitchell to VP, Corporate Governance
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that its Board of Governors has approved the promotion of Marcia E. Asquith to Executive Vice President, Board and External Relations. Jennifer Piorko Mitchell was promoted to Vice President, Corporate Governance.

BoE issues its largest ever fine to Japan’s biggest bank; PRA levies £26.8m after bank fails to inform it of action by US authorities
Caroline Binham – FT
The Bank of England handed out its largest ever fine after Japan’s biggest lender failed to inform it of action by US authorities over the watering down of a report into historic sanctions breaches.


An Energy Giant Bigger Than Exxon in the Shadow of Saudi Aramco
Qatar Petroleum is the hidden giant of the global energy industry, overshadowed by its neighbor Saudi Aramco. Yet, the country’s colossal natural gas resources allow the state-run company to pump more oil and gas than Rosneft PJSC or Exxon Mobil Corp.

Emerging markets: are they the alternative to Trump tweets?
FTSE Global Markets
As the optimism that welcomed Donald Trump’s accession to the US presidency shows signs of dampening, as the flurry of tweets emanating from the presidential office hint of an administration somewhat at sea.

What’s the Difference between Emerging and Frontier Markets?
Will Ortel – CFA Institute
Here’s the thing about labels: They always tell you more about the people who apply them than what they are applied to. Take “emerging market.” It is one of the few terms that applies uncontroversially to both India and China.

RMB trade slowdown prompts treasury sophistication
Kimberley Long – Euromoney Magazine
The latest Swift RMB Tracker showed that the renminbi was the sixth most-used currency for international payments in the month of December 2016. The result marks a decline for the RMB, which ranked fifth in the same month the previous year. Its share of international payments has fallen to 1.68%.

As Brazil Debt Mounts, What’s Next?
Dimitra DeFotis – Barron’s
The level of Brazil’s federal public debt rose 10% in 2016, and is expected to climb again this year, meaning improved credit ratings are unlikely for now.

How Low Can You Go? Deposit Rates Hit 0.00% at Japan Megabanks
Gareth Allan and Shingo Kawamoto – Bloomberg
Two of Japan’s biggest banks are now paying almost nothing to look after their customers’ savings.

Economies Can Recover Without Credit, Just Ask Latvia
Aaron Eglitis – Bloomberg
Loan droughts became a familiar sight after the global credit bubble popped in 2008. But one euro-zone nation’s has stretched longer than the rest.

China Widens Wind Power Lead Over U.S., World With Another 23 GW
Bloomberg News
China’s total wind power capacity doubles that of the U.S.; Global Wind Energy Council says growth rates may slow
China installed almost three times more wind power than the U.S. last year, continuing its clean-energy investment blitz to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase air quality.

Bitcoin trading shrivels under Chinese government’s glare
Brenda Goh – Reuters
Trading volumes at China’s three largest bitcoin exchanges have plummeted after the central bank put the virtual currency market under sharper scrutiny a month ago in a move that coincided with official efforts to stem capital outflows.


Brexit Bulletin: Bad Tempers in Brussels; Theresa May’s Brexit strategy appears to have increased the risk of a bitter Brexit negotiation.
by Simon Kennedy and Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
European Union governments are bracing for a bust-up after Theresa May fleshed out her Brexit plans.

Brexit Means Markets Turn Bearish on U.K.
By Matthew A. Winkler – Bloomberg
When U.K. voters decided last June to leave the European Union, global investors anticipating the opposite result wiped out billions of pounds in the currency market. Sterling plummeted a record 8.05 percent to a 31-year low.

Brexit: London to lose status as ‘gateway to Europe’ for banks, warns top German banking regulator
Josie Cox – Independent
Andreas Dombret said that Brexit fits into a trend towards “renationalisation” which he said he strongly believes “negatively affects the well-being of us all”


Reuters makes changes to industries and companies beats
Chris Roush – Reuters
Tiffany Wu, Americas managing editor at Reuters, sent out the following announcement on Thursday: “Colleagues – We have made a series of appointments in recent weeks to bolster our coverage of companies and industries in North America, as we look to better serve buy-side clients by producing stories that offer investable news, information and insights.”

Economist Gregory Mankiw explains why his class is the most popular at Harvard
Abby Jackson – Abby Jackson
For the fourth year in a row, “Economics 10b: Principles of Economics” is the most popular spring class at Harvard, The Harvard Crimson reported. The class, taught by renowned economist Gregory Mankiw, is actually a full-year course, where the fall term teaches microeconomics concepts and the spring term teaches macroeconomics.

Thomson Reuters’ earnings beat forecasts but raise questions about coming quarters
Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.N)(TRI.TO) reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday but its revenue missed forecasts and investors showed concern that one gauge of future demand from financial clients declined for the first time in almost three years.

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