First Read

On The Move: Vela Makes its second fintech acquisition in the last two months, acquiring Object Trading in addition to the OptionsCity deal that closed in June.
Sarah Rudolph, John Lothian News

Vela Trading Technologies has been on an acquisition binge since rebranding from its former incarnations as SR Labs and Wombat Financial Software – at least, if you can call two a binge. Less than a month after buying OptionsCity, the fintech company that provided electronic options and futures trading, Vela has announced it will acquire Object Trading, a global direct market access provider located in London.

According to Vela’s CEO, Jennifer Nayar, Vela is very strong in the market data space but not as much in direct market access, and the Object Trading acquisition helps Vela to be a “much more full-service provider” to its clients, giving it the DMA piece of the puzzle as well as pre-trade risk and analytics capabilities and post trade reporting.

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Ten Nominations Sent to the Senate Today; NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:
Rostin Behnam, of New Jersey, to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for a term expiring June 19, 2021 vice Mark P. Wetjen, resigned.

***** Actual nominations are a good thing.


Magnetar Capital Expands Energy Footprint with New Houston Office
Magnetar Capital (“Magnetar”), a leading alternative asset management firm, announced today the opening of a new office at Heritage Plaza in downtown Houston, Texas, to support the firm’s expansion of its energy franchise.

***** I hope they like heat.


Mack Takes Bitcoin Where Dread Pirate Roberts Feared to Tread
By Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Startup to help investors buy and sell digital currencies; Cryptocurrencies should be viewed as new asset class, CTO says
The Dread Pirate Roberts was never going to persuade Wall Street to love bitcoin. Maybe John Mack can.

***** This has ruined The Princess Bride for me forever.


Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code for techs in fight for talent
Olivia Oran and Anna Irrera – Reuters
Traditionally buttoned-up Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has relaxed the dress code for its computer engineers in a bid to attract tech talent with a more casual environment.

***** First one to see Lloyd Blankfein in cargo shorts and Simpsons t-shirt wins a prize.


New Lloyd, Same Goldman; The CEO survived the financial crisis and then cancer. Now he’s pushing a bold commitment to trading that’s out of favor in the industry.
By Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
“Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world.”

***** Doing God’s work in cargo shorts is so much easier!


Macron says European financial transaction tax must make sense
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday he would push for a European financial transaction tax (FTT) as long as it made sense and was effective.

***** Emmanuel, such a shame, you were off to such a good start too.


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top read story of the day on Thursday was about trader Todd Swenson, from Successful Farming called Farm Markets Trader Battles Cancer. The next two stories were all about the Brexit with Bloomberg’s Britain Is Shamed and Brussels Triumphant. But Is That Good for Europe? and Reuters’ How Brexit is set to hurt Europe’s financial systems. Have a nice weekend everybody.


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MarketsWiki Statistics


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Lead Stories

They’re The World’s Fastest Traders. Why Aren’t They Thriving?
By Annie Massa and Charlotte Chilton – Bloomberg
High-speed traders have hit the wall.
Even as critics of high-frequency firms have argued their speed and technology give them an unfair advantage, the traders are facing diminishing returns. For one thing, there’s been relatively little turbulence in this bull market, a challenge for high-frequency traders and other market makers because it restrains volatility and trading volume, curbing their profits.

Vela agrees Object Trading acquisition
Vela Trading Technologies LLC (Vela), a trading, market data, and analytics technology, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Object Trading, a global provider of a fully-managed Direct Market Access (DMA) platform, pre-trade risk controls, and analytics applications.

ICE Benchmark Administration to Become Administrator for the LBMA
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, and the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), today announced that ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) has been chosen as the new administrator for the LBMA Silver Price. IBA expects to assume responsibility for the LBMA Silver Price in Autumn 2017.

LME to re-boot electronic metals storage system after weak uptake
Eric Onstad and Melanie Burton – Reuters
The London Metal Exchange is trying revamp its digital metal storage system LMEshield, which registers material stored in non-exchange warehouses to guard against fraud, after scant uptake since it was launched over a year ago.

EU regulator rejects ‘letterbox’ relocations after Brexit; London trading venues must move significant operations into single market, says Esma
Philip Stafford – FT
London share and fixed income trading venues will have to set up extensive operations when they relocate activities to the EU after Brexit, Europe’s top financial market regulator has warned.

Britain is incapable of managing Brexit and calamity will follow; The UK government has failed to prepare for any of the necessary compromises
Martin Wolf – FT
The UK once had a deserved reputation for pragmatic and stable politics. That will not survive the spectacular mess it is making of Brexit.

This Is How Bad It’s Getting for Wall Street Traders; Five of the most interesting ideas of the week, and the stories behind them.
By Lisa Fleisher – Bloomberg
1) There’s Little Happening
Traders can play Nintendo and head off to Massachusetts for an afternoon of golf. Or while away the afternoons swiping on Tinder. Traders at some of Wall Street’s biggest banks have time on their hands, because not enough is happening on the global stage to persuade investors to get involved, Bloomberg’s Laura J. Keller reports.

Britain concedes it will have to pay EU exit bill; First explicit acknowledgment of liabilities likely to avert Brexit talks clash
Alex Barker in Brussels – FT
Britain has for the first time explicitly acknowledged it has financial obligations to the EU after Brexit, a move that is likely to avert a full-scale clash over the exit bill in talks next week.

Quantitative Brokers Completes Strategic Investment From Centana Growth Partners
QB Release
Quantitative Brokers (QB), an independent, global financial technology company providing advanced algorithms and data-driven analytics to clients in the futures and US cash treasury markets, today announced a $24 million strategic investment from Centana Growth Partners.

NEX Optimisation appoints Paul Busby as Global Head of Sales for ENSO
NEX Optimisation, which helps clients reduce complexity and optimise resources across the transaction lifecycle, announced today that it has appointed Paul Busby as Global Head of Sales for ENSO, its portfolio finance and centralised treasury management solution for the buy-side.

J.P. Morgan Reports Strong Earnings, Helped by Lending; J.P. Morgan, run by Jamie Dimon, is one of a trio of big banks kicking off second-quarter earnings season for U.S. financial institutions
By Emily Glazer – WSJ
J.P. Morgan Chase JPM 0.64% & Co. said its second-quarter profit rose 13% as a boost from lending alongside record profits in some businesses offset weaker trading results.

Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check
John Mannes – Techcrunch
IBM’s Watson unit is receiving heat today in the form of a scathing equity research report from Jefferies’ James Kisner. The group believes that IBM’s investment into Watson will struggle to return value to shareholders. In recent years, IBM has increasingly leaned on Watson as one of its core growth units — a unit that sits as a proxy for projecting IBM’s future value.

Hong Kong regulator forced to bare teeth after wild stock swings; City’s market watchdog says it will adopt a ‘front-loaded’ approach to protect venue’s reputation
Jennifer Hughes in Hong Kong – FT
Hong Kong’s watchdog is adopting a “front-loaded” approach to policing the city’s markets following a series of stock crashes and wild price swings that risk damaging the credibility of Asia’s most international capital-raising venue.

Here’s Why White-Collar Criminals Often Go Free
Jesse Eisinger’s The Chickensh*t Club on crime and no punishment.
By Timothy Lavin – Bloomberg
I don’t know quite how to characterize The Chickensh*t Club (Simon & Schuster), by Jesse Eisinger. It’s an absorbing financial history, a monumental work of journalism, a not entirely ­persuasive polemic. It’s a first-rate study of the federal bureaucracy. It’s also an expansive parable: of righteousness and compromise, overreach and underreach, excess, deceit, greed—the whole American show. It’s fun to read but a real downer to think about.

With Saudi Aramco in sights, FCA opens door to foreign listings; Some high-profile investors fear a weakening of safeguards for the UK stock market
Dan McCrum and Caroline Binham – FT
To most people in the market, rule changes proposed by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority on Thursday were transparent in purpose. “The FCA is rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Aramco”, says Daniel Simons, a partner for the law firm Hogan Lovells.

Asset Managers Face Moving More Senior Managers to EU on Brexit
By Julie Edde – Bloomberg
Local regulators should take into account a firm’s size: ESMA; Senior management must be based in member state domicile
Investment firms in the U.K. may have to move more senior workers to the European Union following Brexit after regulators said member states need to consider the size of an asset manager’s business when approving funds and subsidiaries.

Peter W. Smith, GOP operative who sought Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, committed suicide, records show
Katherine Skiba, David Heinzmann and Todd Lighty – Chicago Tribune
A Republican donor and operative from Chicago’s North Shore who said he had tried to obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing emails from Russian hackers killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room days after talking to The Wall Street Journal about his efforts, public records show.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Exchange Publishes Results of its Latest Review of Listed Issuers’ Financial Reports
The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the Exchange), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), today (Friday) published a report summarising key findings from its review of 100 periodic financial reports released by listed issuers (issuers) between February 2016 and April 2017*.

Market-Making: Inclusion of options on Metro-Ceconomy Basket in the Permanent Market-Making scheme
Resulting from the separation of Metro AG into the two independent companies Ceconomy and Metro Wholesale & Food Specialist AG effective on 13 July 2017, Eurex will include the options on the Metro Ceconomy Basket (MEOB, MEEB) in the Permanent Market-Making scheme as of 14 July 2017.

A. Single Stock Futures: Introduction of two SSFs B. Single Stock Dividend Futures: Introduction of one SSDF C. Equity options: Introduction of two equity options
Due to previous corporate actions, the Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Zürich AG took the following decisions with effect from 20 July 2017:

Award-Winning PUT Index Now Has 31-Year Price History with Strong Risk-Adjusted Returns
Matt Morann – CBOE
Over the past couple of years more investors have expressed interest in the cash-secured put writing strategy. The leading performance benchmark for this strategy is the CBOE S&P 500 PutWrite Index (PUT), an index that measures the performance of a hypothetical portfolio that sells one-month S&P 500® Index (SPX) put options against collateralized cash reserves held in a money market account.

Former officials share experience on 25th IDX anniversary
Anton Hermansyah Anton Hermansyah – The Jakarta Post
Former directors and commissioners of the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) were invited to the commemoration of the IDX’s 25th anniversary on Thursday to share their experience at the bourse in the early years.


Vela continues expansion with Object Trading takeover; Vela plans to use the acquisition to boost its market data products and enhance its electronic trading solutions.
By Joe Parsons – The Trade
Vela Trading Technologies has made its second prominent takeover in quick succession by acquiring Object Trading, as it looks to boost its listed derivatives trading technology offerings.

Capital Markets and DLT: Retrofitting Next-Gen to a Post-Trade Legacy?; Distributed leger technology remains one of the hottest fintech topics in the financial services industry.
By Gabriel Wang – Aite Group
The DLT proponents claim that DLT can bring much efficiency to current post-trade processes and can potentially shorten the settlement cycle. Many others in the industry view DLT as an immature technical attempt to cure the post-trade problems that have stemmed from issues other than technology. If the technology is to prove its competency in supporting relevant post-trade tasks, how will the role of DLT be properly inserted into the current post-trade landscape, with consideration of the incumbent market utilities and existing market practices?


GOP Activist Who Sought Hillary Clinton Emails Killed Himself; Body was found in hotel room located across the street from Mayo Clinic
By Shane Harris and Reid J. Epstein – WSJ
Peter W. Smith, a Republican political activist and financier from Chicago who mounted an effort to obtain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, died on May 14 after asphyxiating himself in a hotel room in Rochester, Minn., according to local authorities. He was 81 years old.

All Roads Now Lead to Kushner
Nicholas Kristof – NY Times
Jared Kushner at the White House in May. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
For a year, the refrain from the Trump camp has been a defiant mix of “Lock her up,” “but the emails” and “fake news.” Now it turns out that what was fake wasn’t the news but the Trump denials, that the truly scandalous emails were in the Trumps’ own servers and that the person who may have committed a felony is actually Donald J. Trump Jr.

Highlights of Reuters interview with Trump
Here are highlights of the Reuters Oval Office interview with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday.


Tighter rules unlikely to stem flow of dark trading to SIs; SIs under MiFID II will still be very attractive trading venues for investors even if EU stamps down on networking attempts.
By John Bakie – The Trade
Updated rules for the systematic internaliser (SI) regime are unlikely to prevent the venues from becoming major dark trading venues, according to Michael Horan, head of trading services at BNY Mellon Pershing.

FCA proposes new premium listing category for sovereign-controlled companies
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today launched a consultation on proposals to create a new category within its premium listing regime to cater for companies controlled by a shareholder that is a sovereign country.

EBA urges European banks to step up IFRS 9 preparations; Banks not yet in testing phase face 32 basis point extra capital hit, report finds
Philip Alexander –
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has used its second impact assessment on a new accounting standard to urge banks to step up their preparations ahead of implementation next year, or face a potential capital shock.

MIT scientist busted for insider trading after Googling about it
NY Post Staff
If you’re doing insider trading, you might want to avoid searching Google to brush up your technique.

Yellen Treads Carefully on Regulatory Issues in Senate Panel Appearance
The American economy is doing well enough that senators largely ignored the subject as they questioned Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, for two hours on Thursday morning.

ESMA is closed for Public Holiday on Friday 14 July
We will reopen on Monday 17 July.

When the Trading Stops—Trading Halts: Part I
Thousands of stocks are quoted and traded every day in U.S. securities markets. Trading in most stocks takes place without interruption throughout the day—but sometimes a stock may be subject to a short-term trading halt or longer-term trading suspension.

Maximizing Your Match: Retirement Isn’t Free—But a 401(k) Match Is
In this podcast, FINRA provides tips for making the most of your retirement savings and getting your full employer match each year.

FCA fines compliance oversight officer for pension transfer failings
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today fined David Watters £75,000 for failing to exercise due skill, care and diligence in his role as compliance oversight officer, firstly at FGS McClure Watters (FGS) and then Lanyon Astor Buller Ltd (LAB).

Extension of temporary restriction in short selling: Liberbank, S.A
The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) would like to draw the industry’s attention to the announcement by the Spanish Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) which extends the restriction of transactions under Article 20 (2) (a) and (b) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012.

Sebi orders Goldmine Agro to refund investors, bans it from capital mkts; The regulator banned the company from markets for 4 years from completion of refund
Business Standard
Markets regulator Sebi has asked Goldmine Agro Ltd (GAL) and its directors to refund investors’ money that the Kolkata-based company had raised illegally by issuing securities

Investing and Trading

The liquidity finder; AllianceBernstein’s global head of credit trading, Jim Switzer, is the man behind a landmark liquidity-finding tool that could soon become a standard technology in the investment management business.
By Sarfraz Thind – The Trade
Efficiency. That is the watchword for AllianceBernstein, says Jim Switzer, global head of credit trading, who believes it will cure the evil of illiquidity in the bond markets.

Young investors aren’t as smart as they think they are
By Robert Powell – MarketWatch
If ever you needed a reason to be a boring buy and hold investor, this just might be it. New research shows that young inexperienced investors tend to be overconfident when they first start buying and selling stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and the like.

Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb to Step Down; Money manager says investment chief Tim Buckley will take over in January
By Sarah Krouse – WSJ
Vanguard Group named a new chief executive who will have to confront a challenge most companies wish they had: intense growth.

A Hot Investment Style Looks Great in the Rearview Mirror; Investment vehicles designed based on past performance might just disappoint in the future.
By Barry Ritholtz – Bloomberg
The trouble is usually ahead of you. Photographer: Kiril Kukhmar/Tass/Getty Images
Our story thus far: After decades of expensive and often underperforming active fund management, the public has embraced low-cost, passive-index investing with a vengeance. The old chin-rubbing-this-company-looks-good school of stock picking has been hit with enormous asset outflows. Vanguard Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc. have captured trillions of dollars in new assets, tied to broad indexes, to the collective detriment of active money managers. 1

Yellen Leaves Markets With the Wrong Impression; It would be a mistake to interpret the Fed Chair’s comments as a dovish turn that puts in doubt the expected policy path.
By Tim Duy – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s prepared testimony for her semi-annual report to Congress made clear that central bankers are struggling to understand the recent downward trend in inflation. Still, it is important to remember that the path of monetary policy depends not just on inflation, but also on unemployment. Yellen knows this, and it would be a mistake to interpret her comments as a dovish turn that puts in doubt the Fed’s expected policy path for the remainder of this year and in 2018.

David Einhorn’s Hedge Fund Sheds More Than $400 Million in Investor Outflows;
Greenlight Capital fell 2% in the first half of the year, prompting withdrawals
By Rob Copeland – WSJ
Nearly half a billion dollars is out the door at David Einhorn’s hedge fund.

What causes a stock market crash – and are we headed for another?
Tara Cunningham – Telegraph
The dizzying ascent of global stocks has unnerved City analysts in recent months, as lofty valuations and the prospect of interest rate hikes threaten to spark a major sell-off.


At Goldman, He’s David Solomon. At the Club, He’s D.J. D-Sol.
On a sunny afternoon in the Bahamas this month, dozens of beachgoers mingled and danced to a soundtrack mixed by a man using a Pioneer sound system on a platform at the local tiki bar.

Commerzbank Banker Says He Was Told to Shut Up on Compliance
By Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Najam Khan sues bank for wrongful dismissal in London court; Khan says his bonuses were cut after he raised concerns
A former Commerzbank AG executive said in a London employment lawsuit that he was told to “shut up,” harassed and eventually let go after he blew the whistle on corporate misconduct at the German lender.

Big Five U.S. Banks Brace for 11% Dip in Trading Revenue; Slump in bond trading will likely hit Wall Street’s bottom line
By Laura J Keller – Bloomberg
After four straight quarters of rising income from trading, the biggest U.S. investment banks spent the past few months in a renewed slump. Shareholders will soon see how dull it’s been. Analysts estimate the five largest firms will say their combined revenue from trading dropped 11 percent from a year earlier to $18.4 billion — the smallest haul for a second quarter since 2012. The banks start posting results Friday.


Oil Discoveries Suggest Mexico’s Bet to Open Energy Sector Is Paying Off
When Mexico gambled on ending decades of state control of its energy industry, officials said they hoped the move would promote investment and give the country access to technical expertise. That wager now appears to be paying off.

How Europe’s Monster Gas Field Turned Into a Monster Headache
By Kelly Gilblom and Fred Pals – Bloomberg
Judge to consider demands to close Europe’s largest gas field; Groningen has contributed almost 300 billion euros to budget
Ebe Treffers’s dog was antsy for hours before the boom sounded and the house began to shake, scattering dishes across the kitchen floor.

Small Nations and Islands Are Winning the Digital Revolution Race; New Zealand, Singapore and Estonia top a ranking by Tufts University and Mastercard
By Andre Tartar – Bloomberg
Larger economies may be in danger of losing the digital race to smaller and more nimble nations.

U.S. Boost to Oil Drilling Will Barely Dent Russia’s Energy Monolith; With global oil and gas markets glutted, the Trump administration’s moves to boost U.S. drilling and exports can play only a marginal role
By Georgi Kantchev and Lynn Cook – WSJ
President Donald Trump is touting his policies to boost energy production and exports as a bulwark against Russia.


France Must Discourage Bank Data Theft, Macron’s Swiss Man Says
By Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Son-Forget elected by 75% of French voters in Switzerland; Swiss, French agreed on July 12 to resume information exchange
France should not follow Germany’s lead in endorsing the theft of banking data on its own citizens who have kept money abroad, according to the French parliamentarian who represents his 150,000 fellow countrymen in Switzerland.

Britain Puts on Paper There Will Be Financial Settlement With EU
By Alex Morales – Bloomberg
Brexit secretary acknowledges need for ‘financial settlement’; Progress needed on payment debate before trade talks start
The U.K. acknowledged for the first time on paper that it will have to pay money to the European Union when it withdraws from the bloc, seeking to damp down a row over the country’s so-called Brexit bill.

Brexit is clearly a terrible idea. But it has to happen; Those who still hope to stop us leaving the EU need to think harder about the repercussions: the politics of the referendum period could come roaring back
John Harris – The Guardian
Social media is awash with it. In a certain kind of company, conversation inevitably turns to it. Now, even senior broadcast journalists hint that it might be possible, triggering great surges of online excitement. Barely a year after the EU referendum and only three months since the Daily Mail’s triumphal “Crush the saboteurs” front page, you can almost smell it: a rising expectation that the nightmare of leaving the EU might somehow be averted, allowing the country to return to some kind of normal.

Brexit Clash Threatens U.K. Crisis as Scotland, Wales Revolt
By Tim Ross and Charlotte Ryan – Bloomberg
Nicola Sturgeon, Carwyn Jones vow to veto May’s Repeal Bill; Liam Fox tells rebels they’ll make ‘hard Brexit’ more likely
Theresa May unveiled a landmark draft law to take Britain out of the European Union, sparking a furious backlash from Scotland and Wales and fueling political opposition that could derail her plans for Brexit.

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