The John Lothian Daily Update is a podcast turning the daily JLN hits and takes comments, our original content and the stories and quips in the top box of First Read into a daily podcast.
Hits & Takes
Former CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert will step down from the commission on Friday, after having served two years with the CFTC, 18 months as chairman, he wrote in a tweet from his soon to be decommissioned @ChairmanHeath Twitter account. Thank you to former Chairman Tarbert for his service.
Unfortunately, I will always remember him for his leadership during a time when Jitesh Thakkar’s CFTC civil case was continued after the DOJ lost their criminal case against Thakkar. Thankfully, the Thakkar case was resolved, but it should have just been dropped. For all his great leadership at the commission, he missed this opportunity to rectify this injustice the right way.
One of a very few things that Commissioner Heath Tarbert leaves undone is a conclusion to the long-fought federal futures market manipulation case, CFTC v Kraft and Mondelez, which dates from 2015. It was “all over but the shouting” in the litigation when Tarbert came to the commission. 45 days later Tarbert’s very public shouting about the CFTC’s settlement led a federal judge promptly to vacate the settlement agreement, which had gagged the commissioners. With two of the commissioners bucking the chairman – also very publicly – the episode presaged a number of substantive disagreements among commissioners during Tarbert’s chairmanship.
Former Acting CFTC Chairman and now FIA President & CEO Walt Lukken also has a message for the industry, this one in a video inviting you to attend this year’s FIA Boca-V. He personally invites you to join FIA for the virtual International Futures Industry Conference this March 16-18. Boca-V will also feature a celebration of the newest inductees into the Futures Hall of Fame, sharing their experiences in their own words in videos shot by FIA and edited by John Lothian Productions.
Diane Eastabrook, the longtime and now former Chicago bureau chief/correspondent for PBS Nightly Business Reports, is now a staff writer at Haymarket Media US, which covers home health care and hospital at home.
Chicago was founded 188 years ago on this day, March 4, 1844. I was born 128 years later in 1961. It is not surprising that I was born with big shoulders and live in Elmhurst, the town where Chicago poet Carl Sandburg lived.
Former Goldman Sachs futures powerhouse Michael Dawley catapulted the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign over the $30,000 mark on the GoFundMe.com website, giving me a very nice birthday gift. His donation takes us over the 10% level for the campaign on the website. Mike is a friend and longtime JLN reader and supporter. He served as FIA chairman for several years and terms, and was a driving force for the merger of the FIA and the FOA and the creation of FIA Global. He is a former chairman of the NFA board of directors and is still a member. When he retired from Goldman, he was honored at Boca with a video shot by John Lothian Productions at the conference. He is a man of many talents and interests and we thank him for his generous gift. Thank you to Mike and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.
I have an apology to offer. Gary Flagler of MexDer gave to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign sometime back and I missed mentioning it here. Gary is a longtime friend of JLN and former executive with JP Morgan. He is an omnipresent participant in industry events and an enthusiastic proponent of our markets, especially MexDer’s and their owners. He also happens to be a fellow Purdue University graduate and looks great in black and old gold. Thank you to Gary and my apologies for missing his donation.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Joseph Schifano of Eventus Systems has an article in TabbForum titled, “What’s Different About Trade Surveillance for Digital Assets? Same Game (mostly), Different Players,” in which he explores digital asset surveillance programs. Membership in TabbForum is required to read the article, but it’s free to sign up.~SR
On Episode 11 of Nasdaq’s TotalMarkets podcast, Nasdaq Chief Economist Phil Mackintosh speaks with Andy Nybo, managing director with Burton-Taylor International Consulting, about the state of market data, retail trading, and how proposed market structure changes may adversely affect investors. You can listen to the podcast here.~SR
Ripple is piloting a new private distributed ledger for central banks launching central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), according to a blog post published on their site yesterday. “The CBDC Private Ledger meets even the highest of security standards for Central Banks with each having complete sovereignty and ability to customize based on their own unique privacy and policy requirements,” the post said. It also mentions several times that Ripple’s private ledger has been running for 8 years “without incident,” and that the platform was used to launch Ripple’s own digital asset, XRP – the sale of which the SEC is currently scrutinizing in a lawsuit.~MR
Walt Lukken: Your personal invitation to Boca-V!
FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken personally invites you to join FIA for the virtual International Futures Industry Conference this March 16-18. Boca-V brings you three days of interactive programming including keynote sessions with acting CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam, FT columnist Rana Foroohar, EC Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, MicroStrategy chairman and CEO Michael Saylor, and Google Cloud vice president Derek White. Global exchange leaders from Cboe Global Markets, CME Group, Eurex, ICE, London Stock Exchange Group, Nasdaq, and SGX will also discuss trends and opportunities related to markets, innovation, and sustainability. Boca-V will also feature a celebration of the newest inductees into the Futures Hall of Fame, sharing their experiences in their own words. Learn more at FIA.org/boca and register!
No such thing as a free trade: How Robinhood and others really profit from ‘PFOF’—and why it harms the markets
Shawn Tully – Forbes
Doug Atkin and Bernie Madoff were engaged in a screaming match as two senior officials watched in wonder at the Washington, D.C., office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. On this day in 1991, the future Ponzi schemer was there to defend a new practice he had pioneered and that was attracting huge volumes of trades from retail brokers. It was called “payment for order flow,” known on Wall Street as PFOF.
*****Bernie Madoff was the initiator of Payment For Order Flow? That is not good.~JJL
Aquarius Financial Technologies partners with CQG; CQG’s strategic partnership will enable Aquarius to launch its first institutional grade cryptocurrency exchange in Q3 2021
Aquarius Financial Technologies Ltd.
Aquarius Financial Technologies Ltd. (Aquarius), a next generation trading technology provider, today announced a strategic partnership with CQG, a leading global provider of high-performance technology solutions for traders, brokers, commercial hedgers, and exchanges. The partnership will support Aquarius’ vision to launch an institutional-grade global cryptocurrency exchange using CQG’s proprietary technology.
*****Why would you do a deal with Aquarius during the sign of Pisces? It is fishy!~JJL
A Modern Power Grid Can Deliver More Than Just Resiliency
Vinson & Elkins
V&E Energy Regulatory Update
Texas has proven that a commitment to market solutions and diverse electrical infrastructure can be a recipe for success. Under the restructuring of the power market and initiatives like the competitive renewable energy zone, we saw investment take off and energy prices fall. Texas has greatly benefited from its competitive energy market with power prices consistently below the national average. Electricity rates were $0.003 per kilowatt-hour lower than the U.S. average between 2002 and 2017.1
*****More thought leadership from Allan Schoenberg’s new law firm employer.~JJL
Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Bloomberg’s A $21 Trillion Treasuries Mystery Is Bedeviling Global Markets, about last week’s “startling gyrations” in U.S. Treasury yields. Second was another Bloomberg story, Coinbase Is a $100 Billion Crypto Cult. Third was the Financial Times’ Hey Citi, your bitcoin report is embarrassingly bad.