First Read

JLN Exchange Leader Series 2017: LSEG’s Hackett on a Clear Path Forward

In just a few years, LCH has doubled its headcount to nearly 500 employees. That’s just one indicator that this division of the London Stock Exchange Group is doing well across a variety of its operations.

Ali Hackett, USA Country Head for London Stock Exchange Group, spoke to JLN about the importance of the customer in continuing LCH’s expansion. Since the financial crisis, regulators have adopted rules that have pushed clearing and trading onto exchanges. But there is still a demand from clientele for innovative solutions in the realm of non-cleared derivatives.
Read the rest and watch the video »


Photography: A Gateway to Collecting; The lures of an art form that’s both lower priced and more accessible.
Stacy Perman – Barron’s
Collectors Richard and Ellen Sandor in the midst of their 2,600-piece photography collection. Bob Stefko
Just a few decades ago, the word “photography” alongside “fine art” and “collectible” provoked sneers and derision. No longer. In late 2014, Peter Lik’s photograph Phantom achieved a record-breaking $6.5 million in a private transaction. And then, last April, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opened its 15,000-square-foot Pritzker Center for Photography—the centerpiece of the museum’s $305 million expansion. This increased exposure, as evidenced by photography’s swelling presence on the global art-fair circuit and the proliferation of photo-only fairs and galleries, has helped spur a growing appetite for the art form, particularly among novice collectors.

***** I can never read enough about Richard Sandor’s photography collection.


Lloyd’s of London picks Brussels for European base; Belgian capital chosen because of local regulators’ understanding of insurance market
by: Oliver Ralph, Insurance Correspondent – FT
Lloyd’s of London has chosen Brussels for its new European base, selecting the Belgian capital over locations such as Luxembourg and Dublin because of the local regulators’ understanding of how the insurance market works and also the proximity to EU politicians.

**** They are also changing their name to “Barry’s of Brussels.”


Daimler Shareholder Demands Right to Be Naked at Annual Meeting
Elisabeth Behrmann – Bloomberg
Daimler AG’s annual meeting threatened to veer off course for a second year after a shareholder pontificated on his right to be naked.

***JB: Sounds like Daimler has the best shareholder meetings. In a previous one there was a fight over sausages.


BOE Risks New Outrage With Fix for Animal Fat in Banknotes
Lucy Meakin – Bloomberg
After causing outrage among vegetarians by using animal fat in new U.K. banknotes, the Bank of England is now attempting to dodge environmental criticism of its possible solution.

***JB: There’s no pleasing some people.


What’s in a name? For hedge funds, more money but terrible returns
Ryan Vlastelica – MarketWatch
Some of Wall Street’s most sophisticated offerings are being selected for the least sophisticated reasons: their names. According to a new study, hedge funds whose monikers exhibit “gravitas” — which the report defines as words “associated with weight, influence, authority, seriousness and good judgment,” or which come from the realm of geopolitics and economics — get substantially higher annual flows than the funds without those strength-projecting words, even though they also boast poor performance on a number of key metrics.

****SD: We’re guessing Fundy McFundface is not attracting much in the way of inflows.


Have a Donkey to Trade? China Has an Exchange for That; From livestock to flowers, exchanges are popping up everywhere in China. So is speculation.
Bloomberg News
Chances are, if you can buy it or sell it, China has an exchange for it. The latest example? The China Donkey Exchange. It’s one of more than 1,000 trading venues that now dot Asia’s largest economy, up from 300 in 2011, according to SunSirs, a provider of data and research on Chinese commodity markets.

**JK: Suddenly giving new meaning to the phrase, “losing your ass.”


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top read stories from Wednesday were led by The Trade’s EBS BrokerTec shuffles FX business structure. Second went to more scuttlebut from Washington, in The Huffington Post’s piece Donald Trump’s SEC Pick Deleted His Wall Street Bio. Here’s What It Said. It’s one of the few cases where someone downplayed their resume, rather than embellished it. The Trade’s piece Doomed to fail? A history of the exchange mega-merger took a look at failed exchange deals including Nasdaq and ICE’s joint bid for NYSE Euronext. Remember that?


MarketsWiki Stats
96,624,977 pages viewed; 22,397 pages; 204,578 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Singapore Exchange Said to Mull Tie-Ups as Deals Grow Harder
Annie Massa, Matthew Leising, Andrea Tan, and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
Even as regulators crack down on yet another round of consolidation among exchange operators, at least one major bourse is still keen to pursue deals.
Singapore Exchange Ltd., which runs Southeast Asia’s largest stock and derivatives market, has in recent months held exploratory talks about possible tie-ups with overseas exchange operators, people familiar with the matter said.
Discussions with parties including Nasdaq Inc. and CME Group Inc. have ranged from potential collaborations to the sale of a stake in the company or even a full merger, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

ICE warns clients global regulation could harm business; ICE outlines business concerns related to regulation in its latest annual report.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has said current regulations and the possibility of new regulations could ‘adversely’ affect its business and ability to compete in certain markets.

Leveraged Loan Market Moves Closer to Blockchain, Group Says
By Matthew Leising and Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
The antiquated $1 trillion U.S. leveraged loan market is one step closer to a major upgrade, according to a group of 19 banks, investors and fintech startups. A consortium led by Synaps Loans LLC — a joint venture of data provider Ipreo and blockchain startup Symbiont — successfully used blockchain digital-ledger technology to automate trading in the leveraged loan market, with the aim of reducing how long it takes to settle transactions, according to a statement Thursday.

SEC urged to review rules for equity market trading; Reg NMS credited with boosting competition but also creating fragmented market
Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
The US trade group for the securities industry is calling for a review of the rules governing trading in the world’s largest equity market a decade after their implementation.

Race for speed among algo traders hits peak; High-frequency groups need new ways to get an edge as competition reshapes industry
Gregory Meyer and Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
Speed was once a ticket to riches in financial markets. Now it’s the bare minimum.

German lawmaker warns U.S. exchanges against Deutsche Boerse bids; The plaque of the Deutsche Boerse AG is pictured at the entrance of the Frankfurt stocks
Anjuli Davies and Huw Jones – Reuters
U.S. stock exchanges should not attempt to buy Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE), the German exchange whose bid to merge with its London counterpart has just collapsed, a senior German politician said on Thursday.

London Stock Exchange CEO Watches His Biggest Merger Bet Die
by John Detrixhe – Bloomberg
EU antitrust watchdog says deal posed ‘de facto monopoly’; CEO Xavier Rolet says he’s postponing retirement from LSE
The biggest deal in former Goldman trader Xavier Rolet’s career is dead, and so are his plans for imminent retirement. While Rolet, chief executive officer of the London Stock Exchange Group Plc, has pulled off a string of successful deals, his quest to create a European champion exchange operator was a step too far for regulators. The European Commission on Wednesday dealt a final blow to Deutsche Boerse AG’s $14 billion attempted takeover of LSE, saying it would have created a “de facto monopoly.”

Brussels takes back control of Brexit; All the power lies with Europe and Britain holds no cards in the coming negotiations
Philip Stephens – FT
Until this week Brexit was about Britain. Now it is about Europe. A conversation largely focused on what sort of deal Britain would pitch for on its departure has become one about what the EU27 are willing to offer. To borrow a phrase, Brussels has taken back control.

LSE-Deutsche Börse collapse comes at dark time for City and EU
Philip Stafford – Financial Times
The symbolism of Brussels’ veto of the merger of the London Stock Exchange Group and Deutsche Börse hours before the UK formally began Brexit negotiations could hardly be bettered. A 14-month deal to link Europe’s two main financial hubs, London and Frankfurt, and create one of the world’s largest securities and derivatives markets operators, had been conceived as a hedge against the EU referendum and as a cover, as a senior Deutsche Börse executive noted last year, to ward off potential counterbids from US exchanges.

FinTech Studios and OpenExchange Inc. Sign Strategic Partnership Agreement to Integrate Video and News Content
OpenExchange Inc.
Agreement allows OpenExchange and FinTech Studios users in the financial services community to have more timely access to data, content, and management teams
FinTech Studios announced today a strategic partnership with OpenExchange Inc. to integrate their product offerings and provide distribution of each other’s solutions to existing clients. This unique partnership enables financial market participants to access both FinTech Studios’ financial content and big data analytics, and OpenExchange’s video conference capabilities, through a single sign-on process.

The Unintended Consequences of Uncleared Margin Rules
Chris Barnes – Clarus Financial Technology
Since the introduction of Uncleared Margin Rules six months ago, there has been an increase in Clearing across many markets.

Bond Heiress Says Ex-Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne ‘Manipulated’ Her
Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
Bond heiress Alexandra Lebenthal struck back at James “Jimmy” Cayne, claiming that the former Bear Stearns Cos. chairman “manipulated” her in connection with a $1 million loan that is the subject of a contentious court fight.

Kafka Is Alive and ‘He Works at Bank of America,’ Says a Bankruptcy Judge
Katy Stech – WSJ
A bankruptcy judge is taking Bank of America Corp.’s mortgage-handling business to task, saying the firm’s dealings with a California couple left them in “a state of battle-fatigued demoralization.” Judge Christopher Klein’s 107-page excoriation of the bank ended with a $45 million fine.

There’s a Party in the Stock Market and Banks Aren’t Invited; Equity trading revenue at U.S. banks is declining despite higher volumes and big index price swings
Telis Demos – WSJ
Stocks have set record highs over the past year, but the business of trading stocks is in a slump.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Euronext reiterates interest in LCH clearing business
Euronext Chief Executive Stephane Boujnah said on Wednesday that it was still willing to buy the LCH clearing business.

CBOE Holdings Announces First Stages of Technology Integration Plan
CBOE Holdings, Inc. (BATS: CBOE | NASDAQ: CBOE) today announced that the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) will be the first of the CBOE Holdings exchanges to migrate onto the Bats technology platform, with an expected switch-over on Sunday, February 25, 2018. The migration of the C2 and CBOE options exchanges will follow, with those dates to be announced later.

DTCC’s Omgeo ALERT Completes Enhancements to Become Industry’s SSI Utility, Increases SSIs by 15%
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced that its Omgeo ALERT (ALERT) solution, a global repository for storing standing settlement instruction (SSI) data, has completed enhancements to become the industry’s single and centralized ‘SSI Utility.’ With 6.6 million settlement instructions as of year-end 2016, an increase of 15% over 2015, DTCC remains committed to driving the industry towards automating and replacing onerous, manual processes.

Intercontinental Exchange 2016 Annual Report – Illuminating Markets
Our record results are detailed in this report, but I want to take a few minutes to highlight our performance on certain metrics. Adjusted net income attributable to ICE from continuing operations was $1.7 billion, up 23% over 2015, and driven by $4.5 billion in revenues, which grew 35% year on year. Consistent wit h our long-term strategic approach, we’ve delivered these results through both focused organic growth and strategic acquisitions.

E-mini Russell 2000
CME Group
The Russell 2000 returns to CME Group July 10.

London Metal Exchange hit by regulatory delay to plan to cut margins
Eric Onstad – Reuters
Regulatory delays to a proposal to slash initial clearing margins by the London Metal Exchange has dealt another blow to the exchange’s ability to fend off competition from U.S. rival CME Group (CME.O), whose margins are sharply lower.

Why has NSE ‘unfair access’ issue dragged so long?; A look at key sequence of events in the NSE unfair access issue
Samie Modak & Shrimi Choudhary – Business Standard
Sebi gets three complaints letters in January 2015, August 2015 and October 2015 highlighting flaws in the National Stock Exchange’s (NSE’s) algorithm trading systems. The letters also make allegations of “unfair access” to certain brokers at the exchange’s collocation facility. The letter says between 2011 and 2014, the set up at NSE allowed certain brokers (who connected first to the exchange’s system) received data ahead of others and thus were able to react to information before anybody else.

SGX files complaint with China authorities against Wu Xinhua, Executive Chairman and CEO of China Fibretech
Singapore Exchange (SGX) has filed complaints with authorities in China against Wu Xinhua, Executive Chairman and CEO of SGX-listed China Fibretech Ltd

Sebi, BSE at odds over CDSL board seats; Deadline for BSE to divest its holding in CDSL from 50% at present to 24% ends the coming Friday.
Shrimi Choudhary – Business Standard
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is at odds with the BSE stock exchange over board representation in Central Depository Services (CDSL).

Why Sebi’s silence in the NSE case is dangerous; The closure of the NSE algo-trading case is nowhere in sight
Mobis Philipose – LiveMint
The whistle-blower who put the spotlight on National Stock Exchange of India Ltd’s (NSE) algorithmic trading practices and policies is pleased with Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) action on the complaints.

BSE INX at GIFT City not exactly off to a rocking start; Aware of the situation at GIFT City, Sebi will now allow BSE’s India International Exchange (INX) to launch 4-5 financial products in the coming fortnight
Jayshree P. Upadhyay – LiveMint
Mumbai: BSE Ltd’s India International Exchange (INX), which was billed as an answer to Dubai and Singapore when it was launched at the Gujarat International Finance Tech (GIFT) City in January, hasn’t exactly got off to a rocking start.

Survey illustrates demand for increased CCO accountability for marketing KPIs
Nasdaq Corporate Solutions has released the findings of an in-depth survey that explored how communications leaders value analytics that measure success. Responses from more than 100 Chief Communications Officers (and CCO-equivalent titles) in the U.S., Canada, and Europe revealed that CCOs are taking a sophisticated look at how their public relations activity tracks against business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).

World’s largest corporate Masala bond starts trading on London Stock Exchange EXCHANGE
London Stock Exchange Group
HDFC’s Rupee denominated bond raises INR 33 billion ($504 million equivalent), with 7.35% annual yield; Offer is two times oversubscribed highlighting strong international investor demand; Follows landmark London issuance for HDFC in July 2016, the first ever Indian corporate to list a Masala bond; Bond issued under HDFC’s London listed $750 million MTN programme; Confirms London Stock Exchange’s position as leading international listing venue for Indian finance
London Stock Exchange today welcomes the world’s largest corporate Masala bond. The landmark bond issuance from Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC), one of India’s leading banking and financial services companies comes less than 12 months after HDFC’s INR 30 billion ($450 million) debt issuance in London, the first ever Indian corporate to list a Masala bond.

London Stock Exchange chosen as listing venue for first green bond from the Gulf region
London Stock Exchange Group
National Bank of Abu Dhabi becomes first green bond issuer from the Gulf region; London listed NBAD 5 year green bonds raises $587 million from global investors; Proceeds will support NBAD’s eligible projects identified in its Green Bond Framework; Joins number of landmark global green bond issuances from China, India, Japan and Finland on London’s markets
Underlines LSEG’s position as a leading international green and sustainable financing centre
London Stock Exchange today welcomes the listing of the first ever green bond from the Gulf region, issued by National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), a leading bank in the Middle East

ICE: Why Market Data Consumption is Trending Up
By Lynn Martin, President & COO, ICE Data Services
As president and chief operating officer of ICE Data Services, I’m fortunate to interact with many of the world’s biggest consumers of market data. From global asset management firms and wealth advisors to trading desks and risk management officers, over the last 2 years I’ve had the opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives from data users who all have one thing in common: they’re using more data now than ever before.


Verizon to resell Equinix colocation and interconnection services around the globe
Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Equinix, the global interconnection and data center company, today announced that Verizon has agreed to resell Equinix colocation and interconnection services.

As Passive Investing Grows Bloomberg Terminal Takes A Hit
Rupert Hargreaves – ValueWalk
It seems passive investing is even starting to hit the likes of the Bloomberg Terminal , which according to the Financial Times and research by Burton-Taylor International saw the number of its Bloomberg terminals drop by 3,145 in 2016, only the second time in history such a drop has been recorded. Morgan Stanley predicts that Bloomberg Terminal revenue could decline by billions over the next few years.

Exclusive: R3 and Hyperledger in talks over Corda migration
Global Trade Review (GTR)
Fintech company R3 is mulling moving its Corda solution to the Hyperledger blockchain platform.
In an interview with GTR, Brian Behlendorf, the executive director for open-source blockchain consortium Hyperledger, said the platform is “a neutral home for the technology and a way to turn it into a multi-vendor technology, rather than make it R3-specific technology”.

How states can still outmatch OCC over fintech
Brian Knight – American Banker
Fintech is going through its own version of college basketball’s March Madness.
In recent weeks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released its draft requirements for nondepository fintech firms to become national banks. State regulators oppose the charter. They fear the OCC will send them packing like a 16-seed school going against a powerhouse like the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Equinix (EQIX) Opens 5th IBX in Sau Paulo, Expands in Brazil
Yahoo Finance
Global data center service provider, Equinix Inc. EQIX recently announced that it has opened the fifth International Business Exchange (IBX) data center – SP3 – in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The new center will enable the company to meet growing demand for data center services in the region.

Opinion: What’s holding back artificial intelligence? Americans don’t trust it
By Jurica Dujmovic – MarketWatch
Not long ago, I wrote about artificial intelligence (AI), its capabilities and its future.
In that article, the chief technology officer of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, +0.15% one of the largest makers of microprocessors, provided intriguing insights into the topic.


In Rebuke to Trump Policy, GE Chief Says ‘Climate Change Is Real’; Jeffrey Immelt said he believes climate change should be addressed via multinational agreements
General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt defended efforts to reduce emissions and fight climate change, after President Donald Trump reversed rules that pushed U.S. utilities to use cleaner-burning fuels.


SEC Pick Jay Clayton to Get Senate Panel’s Green Light Next Week; Senate Banking Committee to sign off on Clayton’s nomination Tuesday; he would still need to be confirmed by full Senate
The Senate Banking Committee is expected to sign off on Jay Clayton, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Statement on SIFMA’s and Chamber of Commerce’s Endorsement of the Volcker Rule
March 29, 2017
Better Markets
Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets, issued the following statement following the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment hearing on the impact of the Volcker Rule:

ESMA tightens benchmark rules; Final benchmark regulatory text has been submitted to the European Commission for approval within three months.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has tightened rules around financial benchmarks to improve transparency and reduce manipulation.

EU Commission to address MiFID II systemic internaliser loophole; Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis outlines plans to shut down trading loophole under MiFID II.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The European Commission is to enter into a dialogue with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to figure out where potential loopholes through the systematic internaliser (SI) regime could be founded.

Jefferies banker fined for sharing info on WhatsApp; Former banker admitted sharing information on clients with friends via messaging app.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
A former investment banker at Jefferies has been fined £37,198 for sharing client information on WhatsApp.

ASIC reports on Sydney Stock Exchange’s listing standards
ASIC has today released its assessment report on the listing standards of the Sydney Stock Exchange Limited (SSX).

ESMA updates list of recognised third-country CCPs
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has updated today its list of recognised central counterparties (CCPs) based in third countries. Today’s update concerns the recognition of six non-EU central counterparties (CCPs).

ESMA publishes final rules to ensure integrity of EU financial benchmarks
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its final report containing the draft regulatory and implementing technical standards (RTS/ITS) under the Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). These contain the detailed rules to implement the new European regulatory framework aimed at ensuring the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks across the European Union.

SIFMA Releases Muni Issue Price Model Documents for Industry Comment
SIFMA today released draft municipal security issue price model documents in an effort to aid industry market participants in compliance with the new Treasury Department issue price rules for municipal securities, which become effective on June 7, 2017.

SIFMA Comments on Potential Revisions to Reg NMS
SIFMA today submitted to the SEC a set of recommendations for review of the SEC’s Regulation NMS, which governs trading of the equities markets. Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar has requested industry comments on Regulation NMS, and the SEC has established a public comment period in advance of the April 5, 2017 meeting of the Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee. SIFMA appreciates the opportunity to provide its members’ on-the-ground insight regarding potential revisions to modernize Reg NMS and address unintended consequences.

IIFM and ISDA publish Islamic Credit Support Deed

Investing and Trading

Pound ETFs see massive inflows—and sharp losses—since Brexit vote
Ryan Vlastelica – MarketWatch
The U.K.’s June vote to leave the European Union was a blow for the country’s currency, with the pound at one point plummeting to a multidecade low in the aftermath of the referendum. But the impending split has been good for the two exchange-traded products that track sterling, both of which attracted massive inflows over the past nine months.

Oil Traders Warn There’s a Supply Crunch Looming
Andy Hoffman and Agnieszka De Sousa – Bloomberg
The oil market is risking a supply crunch as producers cut spending on major projects to focus on short-term low-cost shale output in the U.S., some of the top crude and products traders said.

The Mullet Discount
Absolute Return Investing with Eric Cinnamond
I’m often asked if I meet with management of the companies I analyze. I typically do not. Given the large number of stocks I follow (300 name possible buy list), traveling the country visiting corporate headquarters simply isn’t practical. However, I will call management when I have questions. My questions are usually relatively simple and are meant to help me better understand the company’s profit cycle. While I’m sure one-on-one meetings with management has its benefits, there are risks as well. CEOs in particular can be very charismatic people. Many are simply enjoyable to be around and are likable. It’s often a reason they made it to the top of their organization, especially if the business has a strong emphasis on sales and marketing.

Bridging the Volatility Gap between IG and HY
Hong Xie – Indexology Blog, S&P Dow Jones Indices
The goal of the S&P U.S. High Yield Low Volatility Corporate Bond Index is to construct a high-yield bond portfolio with low credit risk and low return volatility by applying a low volatility factor. Does the index methodology truly deliver the effect of reducing volatility? The back-tested results of the 17-year period ending Feb. 28, 2017, show that the S&P U.S. High Yield Low Volatility Corporate Bond Index may offer an intersection that bridges the volatility gap between the high-yield and investment-grade bond sectors, with increased return efficiency.

BlackRock’s Larry Fink Is Now a Contemporary Art Exhibit; Installation focuses on economics of artists’ debt and how BlackRock and other financial institutions benefit from it
The fifth floor of a prominent New York art museum is currently home to a wall of bologna slices, a carousel of dolls orbiting an iPhone-like screen and the words of BlackRock Inc.’s BLK -0.32% Laurence Fink.

FT 400: what makes a top financial adviser?; Annual list shows most leading planners have worked through two bear markets
by: Loren Fox – FT
Uncertainty is the byword for investors dealing with the fallout from last year’s political surprises. When considering how long the ageing bull market will last, US savers must make predictions about the stability of the EU and the plans of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett joins Ariel Investments board
Gail MarksJarvis – Chicago Tribune
President Barack Obama’s former top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has been appointed to the board of directors of Chicago-based Ariel Investments.

After six decades, U.S. set to turn natgas exporter amid LNG boom
By Scott DiSavino – Reuters
The last time the United States was a net exporter of natural gas was in 1957, when Dwight Eisenhower was president. That should change in 2018 when the country is expected to become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Margin Debt Hit All-Time High in February; A rise in the amount investors borrow against their brokerage accounts is a bullish indicator but can also be a warning
Margin debt climbed to a record high in February, a fresh sign of bullishness for flummoxed investors trying to navigate the political and economic crosscurrents driving markets.


Ackman Is ‘Profoundly’ Sorry for $4 Billion Valeant ‘Mistake’
Cynthia Koons and Beth Jinks – Bloomberg
Bill Ackman “deeply and profoundly” apologized for his investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., a “huge mistake” that cost his firm $4 billion.

ITG integrates Commcise tech ahead of unbundling; ITG and Commcise have integrated their technology to provide an end-to-end unbundling service.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
ITG and Commcise have integrated their research payment and management tools for an end-to-end unbundling service.

BofA Shakes Up Merrill Lynch Leadership Under New Chief Sieg
by Laura J Keller – Bloomberg
More than a dozen executives are taking new roles or leaving; Sieg wants division to feel ‘smaller, more tightly integrated’
Bank of America Corp.’s new wealth management chief, Andy Sieg, is reorganizing his Merrill Lynch herd.

Fed’s Rosengren Says There Should Be Four Rate Hikes in 2017
Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said the central bank should be prepared to raise interest rates a total of four times in 2017 to guard against overheating the U.S. economy.

Legg Mason Cutting Jobs as `Disruption’ Hits Fund Industry
by John Gittelsohn – Bloomberg
About 30 positions affected on administrative side of firm; Investment staff at Western Asset and other units unaffected
Legg Mason Inc. is cutting about 30 jobs, or 3 percent of its administrative staff, to respond to the money-management industry’s shift toward lower-fee investing.

Central bank independence revisited
European Central Bank
Keynote address by Yves Mersch, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the “Symposium on Building the Financial System of the 21st Century: An Agenda for Europe and the United States”, Frankfurt am Main, 30 March 2017

Former Citizens Bankers Say They Faked Data for Customer-Meeting Program
Eleven current and former employees say some data related to the bank’s ‘Citizens Checkup’ program was fabricated
As part of its turnaround plan, Citizens Financial Group Inc. CFG -1.54% has touted a program that invites customers into branches for what the bank calls a financial checkup. It said 400,000 such meetings were scheduled last year.


Taiwan and South Korea are closer to being named currency manipulators than China
Alun John – South China Morning Post
China, South Korea and Taiwan are all on a US Treasury watch list for allegedly manipulating their currencies. As such, observers will be watching closely on April 15, when the Treasury issues its next report, the first of the Trump administration, where it may formally name one of the three a currency manipulator.

This Chinese Stock Soared 4,500% on Nasdaq and No One Knows Why; A thinly traded stock made it onto a widely followed index, but that’s probably not the reason its price surged.
by Lily Katz and Zeke Faux – Bloomberg
Investors who put money into U.S. index funds usually aren’t looking for surprises. Those who bought into the Russell 2000 recently got one anyway: a little-known Chinese stock that went crazy for no apparent reason.

Putin Exploits Europe’s Divisions in Bid to Dominate Gas Supply; A Swedish town is defying its national government, helping a Russian pipeline get built
This small port town offers a textbook case of how Russian President Vladimir Putin has thwarted U.S. and European efforts to rein in Moscow’s most powerful source of leverage and cash: energy.

China Energy to buy 20% stake in Cowen Group; US financial services company hopes deal will help drive overseas growth plans
by: Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
China Energy Company is to buy almost 20 per cent of US financial services company Cowen Group for $100m and provide a loan for $175m in what the two groups called a “long-term strategic investment”.


Banks to London staff: no panic as Britain launches EU divorce process
Anjuli Davies and Andrew MacAskill – Reuters
Banks in Britain have tried to reassure their London staff over possible Brexit disruption, including a shift in jobs to continental Europe, as Prime Minister Theresa May triggered formal EU divorce proceedings on Wednesday.

Rising Interest Rates – Boon or Bane for Pan Asian Dividend Strategies?
Utkarsh Agrawal – Indexology Blog, S&P Dow Jones Indices
In December 2016, the U.S. Fed raised the interest rate for the second time in the current rate hike cycle. Three more rate hikes were expected for this year, one of which took place in March. In a low interest rate environment, companies that have increasing dividends or offer high dividend yields look attractive to income-seeking market participants. But the yield offered by these companies may be considered less competitive in a rising interest rate environment. Exhibit 1 shows how various S&P DJI Asian dividend and REIT indices have performed in U.S. interest rate cycles since 2004.

Brexit minister to lay out plan for repealing EU laws; Davis plays down scale of task despite volume to be transferred into UK legislation
by: Kate Allen and George Parker – FT
The UK government on Thursday will publish a white paper setting out its plan for transferring the EU’s legislation into Britain’s law books through a Great Repeal Bill that will require up to 1,000 statutory instruments.

‘We already miss you,’ EU president Tusk tells U.K. after Brexit letter
Sara Sjolin – MarketWatch
Nine months after Brits voted to leave the European Union, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday fired the Brexit starting gun, triggering Article 50 and officially starting the divorce proceedings.

JPMorgan Said in Talks for Dublin Office That Holds 1,000
by Jack Sidders and Neil Callanan – Bloomberg
Bank told staff it has location and structure options in memo; Lenders may first move 1,000 workers on Article 50: analyst
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is in talks to buy a Dublin office building as the bank considers expanding in the Irish capital as one of its options for when Britain leaves the European Union, according to people with knowledge of the matter.


Taiwan and South Korea are closer to being named currency manipulators than China
South China Morning Post
China, South Korea and Taiwan are all on a US Treasury watch list for allegedly manipulating their currencies. As such, observers will be watching closely on April 15, when the Treasury issues its next report, the first of the Trump administration, where it may formally name one of the three a currency manipulator.

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