UBS, BNP, RBS Get Subpoenas in U.S. Treasuries Probe; Brussels set for power grab on London’s euro-clearing market; Tradeweb Launches All-to-All Corporate Bond Trading

May 2, 2017

First Read

You Look Mahvelous Dahling: “Mad Men” Ready to Walk the Exchange Red Carpet with Nasdaq
Spencer Doar – JLN

Fintech and regtech are firmly entrenched in the financial industry’s lexicon — if a new exchange has its way, “adtech” will be the next addition. The New York Interactive Advertising Exchange (NYIAX) plans to offer a guaranteed contract for digital advertising space on Nasdaq’s latest blockchain-enabled technology platform in Q4.

“The advertising world is … becoming more sophisticated with how it buys and sells inventory and there are a lot of challenges around trust and transparency — knowing the counterparties,” NYIAX co-founder Graham Mosley said. “There are a bunch of issues in the advertising world that [NYIAX] could potentially solve.”

Read the rest here.


Will Trump ‘Do a Big Number’ on the Big Banks?
Andrew Ross Sorkin – NY Times
For a brief moment, Wall Street stopped on Monday, as if time was suspended in an alternative reality. President Trump, for the first time as resident of the White House, said aloud that he was considering breaking up the nation’s biggest banks. Of course, he had said it on the campaign trail, but this seemed different.

***** I am wondering what number Trump will do. Whatever it is, it will be BIG!


Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Hires Chris Mead as its Chief Marketing Officer
PR Newswire
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG) today announced that Christopher E. Mead has joined the company as its new Chief Marketing Officer. In this role, Mead will be responsible for leading the company’s global marketing and communications efforts, reporting directly to Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr.

****** Former CME marketing whiz lands dream job.


A Pool Table in Philadelphia Shows Nasdaq’s Thirst for Talent
Brian Louis – Bloomberg
Nasdaq Inc. has traded places in Philadelphia, moving to a new skyscraper with a view and a pool table from an older office as it tries to lure recruits in part from local universities to double its staff in the city.

****** Do Millennials play pool?


Populism Is Great for Stock Returns
Ben Bartenstein – Bloomberg
Populist leaders reign over 155% average gain in three years; Over the same period, their dollar bonds were among the worst
If the last two decades of anti-establishment rule are any guide, the world may be on the brink of some monster stock rallies as it takes a turn toward populism.

****** I would be happier with lower returns.


Bank of Mum and Dad is ninth-biggest lender with £6.5bn loans; Help from relatives in buying homes soars 30% as prices keep climbing
James Pickford – FT
The Bank of Mum and Dad has unofficially become Britain’s ninth-biggest “mortgage lender” with loans and gifts from family or friends increasing 30 per cent this year to £6.5bn as house prices keep rising.

****** The collateral put up is among the most valuable.


Citadel’s Griffin says he fantasizes about bank breakups
Lawrence Delevingne – Reuters
Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin said he is encouraged by recent comments from U.S. officials that the government could move to break up the country’s biggest banks.

***** Ken, no one needs to know about your fantasies. For example, no one should know about mine about purple elephants on unicycles. No one!


Monday’s Top Three
“Bigger is better” makes for clickable material and yesterday’s top story, Trading Technologies Goes Big with TT Desktop, proved that. Second was a tie yesterday with both Singapore bourse offers to link up with Chinese futures trading venture and The psychological importance of wasting time getting the same number of clicks. Third went to Billionaires Convene at Milken Conference for Trump Report Card.


MarketsWiki Stats
99,345,950pages viewed; 22,467 pages; 205,566 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

UBS, BNP, RBS Get Subpoenas in U.S. Treasuries Probe
Tom Schoenberg – Bloomberg
U.S. also said to send subpoenas in April to RBS, BNP Paribas
Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed several banks as part of a criminal investigation into possible manipulation of the U.S. Treasuries market, according to people familiar with the matter.

Brussels set for power grab on London’s euro-clearing market; Plans seek EU policing or operators’ relocation for EUR850bn-a-day business
Jim Brunsden and Alex Barker in Brussels – FT
Brussels is rushing out proposals to impose EU control on the City of London’s lucrative euro-clearing market, forcing UK operators to either relocate or be policed by European authorities.

Tradeweb Launches All-to-All Corporate Bond Trading; U.S. Investment Grade and High Yield Volume Surpass $18.3 Billion in March
Tradeweb Markets, a leading global provider of fixed income, derivatives and ETF marketplaces, announced the launch of all-to-all trading on its U.S. institutional credit platform, following a successful beta period with over 140 active buy- and sell-side firms that resulted in more than $2.8 billion in inquiry volume. The introduction of blast all-to-all (Blast A2A) trading delivers increased flexibility in how market participants source corporate bonds on Tradeweb’s growing marketplace.

Bloomberg Interview: Trump Weighs Breaking Up Wall Street Banks, Raising U.S. Gas Tax
Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump said he’s actively considering a breakup of giant Wall Street banks, giving a push to efforts to revive a Depression-era law separating consumer and investment banking.

Citadel’s Griffin Urges Breakup of Big Banks, Echoing Trump
Simone Foxman , Katia Porzecanski , and Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Hedge fund manager says industry is going through retrenchment; His firm’s flagship funds returned about 3.5% this year
Ken Griffin, chief executive officer of Citadel, said he would be “really excited” to see a break up of big banks to increase competition and boost the economy.

Can Deutsche Boerse Build a Better Mousetrap?
Galen Stops – Profit & Loss
Having looked at the factors that led to CME Europe shutting its doors, eyes should turn to Deutsche Boerse, which listed FX derivatives contracts via Eurex around the same time as the CME Europe was launched. Over at Profit & Loss we’ve published a detailed analysis of Deutsche Boerse’s strategy, but here are a couple of highlights. The German exchange operator struggled to build liquidity on these contracts, leading to it “re-launching” them following the acquisition of 360T.

Bringing New Customer Diversity Into the Futures Markets
Doug Moneison – Medium
I spoke to several companies that have asked this same question and are each addressing it in their business plans in different ways. Trading Technologies (TT) has been one of the most successful ISVs as electronic trading grew over the past two decades, and they continue to innovate as the markets evolve.

**JK: A look at what TT, TastyTrade, QuantConnect and TopStepTrader are doing.

AllianceBernstein’s CEO, Independent Directors Ousted; No specifics given for abrupt management shake-up by French parent company AXA
Justin Baer and Sarah Krouse – WSJ
AllianceBernstein Holding LP fired its chief executive and removed nine of its 11 directors, the most dramatic shake-up yet among money managers under pressure to halt a flood of cash to cheaper rivals.

Top-Performing Bond Fund Thrives on Risks That Most Others Dodge
Natasha Doff – Bloomberg
Pioneer buys Turkey, Nigeria, sees assets outperforming peers; Bond fund has beaten 98 percent of rivals over five years
Bring it on. That’s Yerlan Syzdykov’s response to political and financial jolts that have whipsawed markets from Russia to Turkey in recent years, and it’s paid off for the portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management Ltd.

UBS pays $445 million over toxic mortgages, failed U.S. credit unions
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
UBS Group AG (UBSG.S) paid $445 million to settle claims that the Swiss bank sold toxic mortgage securities that helped sink two federal credit unions, a U.S. regulator said on Monday.

Citadel CEO Says Reducing Regulation Can Help Economy
Bloomberg Video
Ken Griffin, Citadel’s chief executive officer, comments on financial regulation during an interview with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker at the Milken Institute Global Conference

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

OCC Cleared Contract Volume Down Six Percent in April
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, announced today that cleared contract volume in April was 320,547,848 contracts, down six percent from April 2016 monthly volume of 339,522,257 contracts. Average daily volume at OCC is down one percent in 2017 with 17,027,383 contracts. OCC’s stock loan program reported strong volume numbers with April activity up seven percent and year-to-date activity up 17 percent.

Intercontinental Exchange Completes Acquisition of TMX Group’s Atrium
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today announced it has completed its all-cash acquisition of TMX Atrium, a global extranet and wireless information services business, from TMX Group. The transaction was announced in February and the terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The financial impact of the transaction will be immaterial and was included in ICE’s financial guidance for 2017.

Pershing Square Holdings Starts Trading on LSE
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange welcomes Pershing Square Holdings Ltd., a close-ended investment company, to the Premium Segment of the Main Market today. The listing demonstrates London’s attractiveness to international fund managers, particularly from the US.

Leucadia announces $130 million markdown on FXCM equity investment; Leucadia says, however, that it has nearly recovered the full amount of cash invested.
Finance Feeds
Leucadia National Corp. (NYSE:LUK) has posted its financial highlights for the first quarter of 2017, with our attention pinned on any mention of FXCM and the possible impact of the February events on Leucadia’s results.

LORD COPPER: LME’s Chamberlain can steer exchange on middle course
Metal Bulletin
It doesn’t really seem that long ago since the position that has now morphed into ceo of the London Metal Exchange was not much more than a bureaucratic role – it was almost secretarial in ensuring the smooth operation of the instructions given down by the board, at that time made up exclusively of member representatives.

Shareholders should ratify Deutsche Boerse board actions at AGM – ISS
Shareholders of Deutsche Boerse should ratify the actions of its management and supervisory boards at its annual general meeting next month, influential adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has said.

JCCH volume report for April 2017


Equinix completes $3.6 billion deal to buy 29 data centers from Verizon
Ron Miller – TechCrunch
Equinix, an international data center company based in Redwood City, California, announced today that it has completed the purchase of 29 data centers from Verizon for $3.6 billion. The deal was announced in December.

Credit Suisse has deployed 20 robots within bank, markets CEO says
Olivia Oran – Reuters
Credit Suisse AG (CSGN.S) has deployed 20 robots within the bank, some of which are helping employees answer basic compliance questions, the Swiss bank’s global markets chief executive, Brian Chin, said on Monday.

Broadridge Appoints Eric Bernstein as President of Investment Management Solutions; Bernstein to lead client and market-focused solutions and drive global buy-side business growth
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: BR) announced today that it has appointed Eric Bernstein as President of Broadridge Investment Management Solutions.


What difference does 100 days make?
Mary Fjelstad – FTSE Russell
The first 100 days of any US president’s first term in office has become a popular evaluation period for presidential effectiveness. Some see this initial period as a harbinger for the ensuing four years. As we pass the 100-day mark for the Trump administration, I thought it would be interesting first, to compare US stock market performance over Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office to the performance over the same period for the preceding five presidents.[1] Second, I was curious how US equity market performance over the remainder of the first term of each former president compared to the performance over their first 100 days.

US business leaders warn on impact of immigration restrictions; Speakers at Milken conference also give Trump tax and deregulation policies warm welcome
Hannah Kuchler and Lindsay Fortado – FT
US business leaders have warned of the damage tighter immigration rules could do to the economy while also welcoming President Trump’s moves towards deregulation and tax cuts.

Being a White House Insider Pays Back in Stock Price Gains
Jeanna Smialek – Bloomberg
Visiting Barack Obama’s White House came with major perks for some of America’s top companies. A new study from University of Illinois researchers looks at how access to the administration between 2009 and 2015 correlated with stock prices, government contracts and regulatory relief, and finds that companies benefited across a number of metrics after they went to see the President or his officials. It’s the lead item in this week’s economic research wrap, which also takes a look at how income distribution is shaping up for Americans over their lifetimes and tech price mis-measurement.

Volatile political situation a top concern for fund managers; Political worries from North Korea to Brexit are among the top issues discussed at Fund Forum Asia.
Charles Gubert – The Trade
Asset managers and service providers descended on the JW Marriot in Hong Kong last week to discuss some of the biggest issues affecting the industry. Global Custodian listened to a number of sessions and spoke to delegates about what they felt were the top issues of the day.

French Banks Cross Their Fingers for Macron
Fabio Benedetti Valentini – Bloomberg
Macron would be first ex-banker in 48 years at Elysee Palace; Questions remain over Macron’s ability to push through reforms
Emmanuel Macron, the frontrunner in the French presidential race, has been derided by his opponent as an ally of the banking industry. For investors, that sounds like an endorsement.


FIA and FIA PTG Oppose Overly Prescriptive Automated Trading Regulation
Today, in response to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking regarding Regulation AT, FIA and the FIA Principal Traders Group (FIA PTG) submitted comments opposing overly prescriptive regulation of automated trading.

Trump Preparing to Replace Top Banking Regulator
Ryan Tracy – WSJ
The Trump administration, looking to make its first major imprint on U.S. banking regulators, is preparing to replace Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry as chief overseer of federally chartered banks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why Paul Volcker fears Trump’s push to roll back Dodd-Frank
Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker said in an interview with MarketWatch that rolling back Dodd Frank would be a bad idea.

CME CEO Says Volcker Rule Should Be Changed or Eliminated
Bloomberg Video
Terry Duffy, CME Group’s chairman and chief executive officer, comments on bank regulation during an interview with Bloomberg’s Scarlet Fu at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Mercer’s White House connections hang over IRS’ attempts to collect $7 billion from his hedge fund
Scott Christianson and Greg Gordon – McClatchy Washington Bureau
The Internal Revenue Service is demanding a whopping $7 billion or more in back taxes from the world’s most profitable hedge fund, whose boss’s wealth and cyber savvy helped Donald Trump pole-vault into the White House. Suddenly, the government’s seven-year pursuit of Renaissance Technologies LLC is blanketed in political intrigue, now that the hedge fund’s reclusive, anti-establishment co-chief executive, Robert Mercer, has morphed into a political force who might be owed a big presidential favor.

Case of Ex-Jefferies Trader Looms Over Trial of 3 From Nomura
Peter J. Henning – NY Times
It is a standard rule of evidence that charges against one person cannot be used to prove someone else committed a crime by engaging in the same type of conduct, especially if the cases are unrelated. But what happens when the government wants to prove criminal intent by using a case that reverberated across Wall Street, so that traders at other firms should be aware that misrepresentations to customers can be fraudulent?

April 2017 Monthly Recap Podcast
Revisit the latest FINRA notices, compliance resources, and news from April 2017.

Semiconductor Company and Former CFO Settle Accounting Fraud Charges
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a South Korea-based semiconductor manufacturer and its former CFO have agreed to settle charges related to an accounting scheme to artificially boost revenue and manipulate the financial results reported to investors.

Exemptive Letter to FINRA re: Exemption Under Rule 608(e) of Regulation NMS under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from Certain Provisions of the “Plan to Implement a Tick Size Pilot Program”

SIFMA Finalizes Muni Issue Price Model Documents
SIFMA today released the final versions of its municipal security issue price model documents. The documents were developed 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 issued the documents for industry comment in March 2017 and is pleased to provide the final versions for broad industry use today.

Investing and Trading

Is Trump Making Commodities Great Again In His First 100 Days?
Jodie Gunzberg – S&P Dow Jones Indices Indexology
The short answer is no. The S&P GSCI (Spot) is down 4.0% since Jan 20, which is the 6th worst start of the 8 presidencies measurable by the S&P GSCI. Besides Trump, the data covers the start of the presidencies for Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama. However, not all the commodities and sectors have data going back to the start of Ford’s presidency but there are three sectors (precious metals only contained silver) and six single commodities with the full data set.

Mnuchin Says Ultra-Long U.S. Bonds Can Absolutely Make Sense
John Micklethwait and Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the first ultra-long bond issuance could “absolutely” make sense to help finance the U.S. government, while indicating he’d be reluctant to swell the federal budget deficit to pay for planned infrastructure investment.

Bitcoin skyrockets to fresh record high on a spike in demand from Japan
Evelyn Chang – CNBC
Bitcoin leaped to a fresh record high Monday, spurred by a jump in global trading activity. The digital currency briefly surged 5.5 percent to hit a high of $1,422.22 and was last near $1,415, according to CoinDesk. Alex Sunnarborg, a CoinDesk research analyst, pointed to a spike in global trading volume, especially from Japan and its bitFlyer bitcoin exchange.

Gap between gig economy’s winners and losers fuels populists; Bridging digital divide is key to sustainable economic growth
Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist
Technology can empower — but it can also enslave. Consider the daily work life of a typical taxi driver in New York, who might work for three or more companies at once: Uber, Lyft and perhaps even an unlicensed cab firm.

Wall Street’s fear gauge hits lowest level since before crisis; Vix volatility measure slides as tech stocks set new records
Eric Platt and Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge on Monday slid to its lowest level since before the credit crisis as the broad US stock market inched closer to a new all-time high and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed at a record.


John Paulson’s Fall From Hedge Fund Stardom
Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein – NY Times
John A. Paulson is one of the best-known names in the hedge fund industry. But these days, Mr. Paulson is having more success in the political realm than he is managing his business.

Hedge funds bolster staff despite performance worries
Oliver Ralph – Financial Times
The hedge fund industry is employing a growing number of people, in spite of investor concerns over its performance. The sector currently employs 115,000 staff, up 15 per cent compared to 2010, according to the Alternative Investment Management Association, an industry group, and Preqin, a data provider.

Goldman Sachs Embraces Banking’s Bland Side: Lending Money; The investment bank, seeking growth beyond its elite Wall Street turf, is moving to finance corporates
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 0.47% earned its elite reputation by dominating the glamorous end of finance—investment banking, trading and managing money for the wealthy.

Goldman’s Solomon Blames Market, Not Bad Bets, for Trading Miss
Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
Firm’s co-president says risk-management isn’t a problem; FICC revenue fell short of estimate by about $340 million
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s disappointing fixed-income trading results in the first quarter were caused by clients’ lack of conviction, not bad wagers by the firm, co-President David M. Solomon said.

350,000 Workers Benefit After Billions Pulled From Asset Managers
Sarah Jones – Bloomberg
U.K. rail pension fund is bringing billions of pounds in-house; The cost of running its main asset pool is now 50 basis points
Britain’s $32 billion railway pension scheme has halved the cost of running its biggest asset pool by moving investments in-house.

The $1 Trillion Guide to Nordic Banking
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
Negative rates, capital rules drive shift in business models; Total wealth management assets grew 11.5% in the first quarter
After years of world-record-setting negative rates and some of the planet’s toughest capital requirements, Nordic banks are doing less traditional lending and a lot more asset management.

When Barclays’s Jes Staley Went to Bat for an In-Law, a Powerful Client Cried Foul; The CEO interceded for brother-in-law embroiled in a legal battle with bank client KKR & Co.
Jenny Strasburg, Patricia Kowsmann and Max Colchester – WSJ
Barclays BCS 1.30% PLC Chief Executive Jes Staley is clashing with one of the bank’s most powerful clients, KKR KKR -0.42% & Co., after wading into a messy dispute between the private-equity giant and his brother-in-law, according to people familiar with the matter.

Morgan Stanley lowers commissions on ETFs, stocks in brokerage accounts
Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business said on Monday it is lowering the commissions that brokers earn on stock trades, exchange-traded funds and annuities amid pressure to lower costs for clients.

Libyan wealth fund trial against SocGen adjourned until Wednesday
Claire Milhench – Reuters
The start of a trial brought by Libya’s $67 billion sovereign wealth fund against Societe Generale has been adjourned until Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) said.


China’s Credit Slowdown Poses a Threat to Global Growth; China has tightened monetary policy and launched a regulatory assault on off-balance sheet and interbank lending
James Mackintosh – WSJ
China is making yet another attempt to rein in its overleveraged financial system, threatening to hamper the economy at a time when credit growth is already decelerating.

China’s banking watchdog vows to sort out ‘chaos’; There are signs that push to clean up nation’s shadow finance is being felt in markets
James Kynge – FT
“If the banking industry becomes a complete mess, as the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, I will resign!”

Emerging-Market Companies Shrug Off Trump Amid U.S. Debt Binge
Claire Boston – Bloomberg
Dollar-denominated debt sales jump 159% from this time in 2016; Return of 4% tops U.S. junk, investment-grade securities
Emerging-market companies are showing up to the U.S. debt market at the fastest pace ever, and finding plenty of appetite for their bonds.

Start Worrying About Emerging Markets
Satyajit Das – Bloomberg
For all the hand-wringing over when and how the Federal Reserve would begin tapering its massive bond-buying program, emerging nations appear to be relatively well-prepared for higher U.S. interest rates. Compared with the period before the 1997 financial crisis, many of them have ably shored up their defenses — freeing exchange rates, amassing foreign-exchange reserves and paring back their dollar-denominated debt.

Japan finance minister warns against yen instability on North Korea
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said the yen is vulnerable to rising political tensions over North Korea’s missile program and development of nuclear weapons, and warned against extreme instability in the currency.


May dismisses reports of frosty dinner with EU chief as ‘Brussels gossip’
Dan Roberts, Rajeev Syal and Daniel Boffey – The Guardian
Theresa May is fighting off accusations of a botched and humiliating start to the Brexit negotiations as claims emerged that the prime minister was told by the European commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, that there may not be any point in her even turning up to the first day of talks.

The Brexit Grandstanding Works in the EU’s Favor
Leonid Bershidsky – Bloomberg
Leaked details of a dinner conversation between U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggest that the Brexit talks won’t just be contentious — they’ll be brutal. At this point, the perception helps May as much as it does the EU leaders. After the June election in the U.K., however, May will be at a disadvantage.

EU give Brexit ultimatum to UK’s financial hub – ‘OBEY EU laws or lose MILLIONS of pounds’;
Vincent Wood – Express UK
The provocative plans, laid out in a draft seen by the Financial Times, could see London’s lucrative Euro-clearing business stripped of its autonomy in the wake of Brexit.


Wiki-journalism may be part of the answer to fake news; Wiki asks the right questions but it will take time to create a viable hybrid culture
John Thornhill – FT
During the Iraq war, the Los Angeles Times attempted to harness the collective wisdom of its readers by crowdsourcing an editorial, called a wikitorial, on the conflict. It was a disaster.

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