John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

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

JLN Staff

Gary Gensler has been sworn in as the chairman of the SEC. – (Bloomberg), (SEC)

The World Health Organization warns of a global surge in COVID cases and deaths with the world approaching the highest rate of infection. Brazil and India are particularly affected. – (ABC News)

Robinhood Financial, LLC was hit with an order from the SEC that found that from 2015 through September 2018, Robinhood made material misrepresentations and omissions relating to its revenue sources, specifically its receipt of payment from certain principal trading firms for routing Robinhood customer orders to them, and relating to certain statements about the execution quality Robinhood achieved for its customers’ orders. The Commission also found that Robinhood’s customers received inferior execution prices compared to what they would have received from Robinhood’s competitors, caused in large part by the high payments for order flow resulting in Robinhood’s failure to satisfy its duty of best execution. Robinhood was fined $65 million, which went into a newly created “fair fund” so the fine can be distributed to harmed customers. The charges were originally brought in December 2020 – (SEC)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is holding a financial services symposium on May 4, 2021. The virtual free conference is “designed for executives and professionals in the financial services industry seeking new strategies to drive business transformation.” – (AWS)

The World Federation of Exchanges is holding its 37th Clearing & Derivatives Forum this week. It is a virtual event. – (World Federation of Exchanges)

FlexTrade has a timely entry on their FlexAdvantage Blog by Ivy Schmerken titled “Converting Capital Markets to Cloud.” – (Flextrade)

The CME Group is holding a webinar on Tuesday, April 27, at 10 a.m. CT titled “Bitcoin for Institutions: The New Normal.” The webinar will explore the factors driving institutional interest and participation in bitcoin. Speakers will include Christine Sadler, head of sales of marketing for Fidelity Digital Assets, Tim McCourt, managing director and global head of equity products and alternatives investments, Michael Sonnenshein, CEO of Grayscale Investments, and Michael Moro, CEO of Genesis. – (CME Group)

Journalist Erin Arvedlund has a great commentary in Vanity Fair titled “20 Years After I First Questioned Bernie Madoff’s Success, the Great Villain of the Financial Crisis Is Dead.” – (Vanity Fair)

The Block announced via a blog post by The Block CEO Michael McCaffrey, “the successful close of a management buyout to form the only employee-owned firm in crypto research, news and information services.” – (The Block)

Katten partner Lance Zinman has been named to The American Lawyer’s 2021 Midwest Trailblazer’s list, recognizing him as an “agent of change” in the financial services industry. – (Katten)

DRW is looking for a compliance officer in their Chicago office to assist in the oversight of all North American-based compliance, including surveillance, monitoring, developing and enforcing compliance policy and procedures, and providing compliance education and counsel to internal futures trading businesses. – (DRW)

Curve Global CEO Andy Ross has a big grin on his bearded face these days as they just had their best quarter ever and they announced BNP Paribas is now live for their house STIR traders. Also, their “fee free” trading period continues until the end of September.

HSBC is letting U.S. interns pick between in-person and virtual work schedules for its 10-week summer program. – (Insider)

We had no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Remember, the next $17,300 in donations will be matched dollar for dollar by Trading Technologies. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaigns.

Today we have the first of a two-part video interview with Tom Ascher, executive chairman of Quantitative Brokers, for the Open Outcry Traders History Project. Later this week we will release videos of bond trader Jim Marzano and former CME Group CIO Jim Krause for The History of Financial Futures and The Path to Electronic Trading series, respectively.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


First Read

Tom Ascher – Open Outcry Traders History Project – Part One

Tom Ascher was interviewed by John Lothian News over Zoom for the Open Outcry Traders History Project. Ascher traded at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and after getting into exchange politics he rose to vice chairman of the CBOE board. He later served as the CEO of Nasdaq-Liffe and had a long run as the chief strategy officer of the International Securities Exchange. Today, he is the executive chairman of Quantitative Brokers, which is majority owned by Deutsche Boerse.

Watch the video »


Options traders make gargantuan VIX options bet; FINRA gently reminds members to exercise “reasonable diligence” – The Spread

This week on The Spread, traders make a $40 million bet on VIX options, FINRA reminds its members to vet options trading accounts appropriately, MIAX announces a new partnership, and more.

Watch the video »



Episode 9 of STA Trading Views: An Exchange with a View, features Ronan Ryan, president and co-founder of IEX, and John Ramsay, chief policy officer, IEX.
Our conversation includes the ability for exchanges to compete in today’s regime; what a Gary Gensler chairmanship means for the SEC’s priorities and the backstory on IEX’s popular podcast, Boxes + Lines.

****This ISDA podcast to listen to.~JJL


The High Cost of the Slow COVID Vaccine Rollout
Michael Blanding – Harvard Business School
Aggressive investment in COVID-19 vaccine production earlier on could have saved lives and prevented $700 billion in global economic losses, says research by Scott Duke Kominers and colleagues.

*****The faster the better. The faster, the more money we save.~JJL


There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing; It’s the neglected middle child of mental health, and can dull your motivation and focus. It may be the dominant emotion of 2021.
Adam Grant – NY Times
At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure” again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends. It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

*****I can relate. It is difficult to have goals when your horizon is hazy.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
The top-read story on Friday was from CNBC, There’s a single New Jersey deli doing $35,000 in sales valued at $100 million in the stock market. The second most widely read story was a profile of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, by the Wall Street Journal, This Vegan Billionaire Disrupted the Crypto Markets. Stocks May be Next. The third was from Bloomberg, ‘Dramatic’ Round of Regulation Seen Coming for Cryptocurrencies.

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