Why the good times are unlikely to last for exchange groups

Aug 13, 2019

First Read

Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

This morning John Lothian News sent out a Special Report about the launch of Ameribor. The entire report is built into a Microsoft Sway page, which you can find HERE. Ameribor launches on Friday, August 16, which is the 42nd anniversary of the launch of the 30-year Treasury Bond launch at the Chicago Board of Trade.~JJL

This report brings together several pieces JLN has done around the Ameribor launch and Libor. We begin with a Q&A in which Jim Kharouf speaks with Dr. Richard Sandor about the launch of the new contracts and the evolution of the interest rate benchmark space.~JJL

We also have a piece by Thom Thompson on the other alternative reference rates being introduced as Libor replacements, particularly as the bases for OTC swap contracts.~JJL

A special episode of our video series “The Spread” with Spencer Doar explores the history of Libor and the fallout from the manipulation scandal as well as what the future holds for interest rate benchmarks. There are other stories and information in the report as well.~JJL

Thank you to the Special Report sponsors, RPM Financial Markets Group and Connamara Systems.~JJL

This is from JLN friend Gary Flagler: “There is a first-class opportunity for international traders to come to Mexico City and participate in the “FUN, FINANCE & RUNNING” 11KM / 5.5KM Race celebrating the Mexican Stock Exchange’s 125th Anniversary on September 1st, 2019, which includes cash prizes for the top three finishers. Traders can also use this opportunity to meet with the management team of the Mexican Stock Exchange group – Bolsa Mexicana de Valores and the Mexican Derivatives Exchange on September 2nd. The Special Entry Price until August 18 is MX$ 550 (US$28) at Fun, Finance & Running. There are also a number of Free Passes (not eligible for race prizes) available for international traders traveling to Mexico City. For more information please contact Gary Flagler by August 25th at mailto:agary@grupobmv.com.mx“~JJL

Yesterday, cattle futures dropped by their daily trading limit after a fire seriously damaged a Tyson Foods cattle processing plant that handles some 5% of the total industry, per JPMorgan. ~SD

FIA will be holding FIA Forum: Frankfurt 2019 on September 24, 2019, which is a one-day forum to explore current European regulatory developments.~JJL



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MPs must save the UK from Johnson’s no-deal Brexit folly; The first priority is to delay Britain’s EU departure date of October 31
The editorial board – FT
Boris Johnson insisted during his Conservative leadership campaign that the UK’s chances of crashing out of the EU without an agreement were a “million to one”. Now he is prime minister, the mask has been tossed aside. A no-deal Brexit is the default option. The government is preparing for it, and making the civil service do the same. Indeed, its unrealistic attitude towards reworking Britain’s withdrawal deal with Brussels makes the dash for no-deal appear less like a negotiating tactic and more like Downing Street’s preferred plan. The UK is careering towards the precipice, with dire implications for its economy, security, and the union of nations it comprises. It is now parliament’s duty to prevent the British government from visiting a calamity on its own country on October 31.

*****The FT Editorial Board with some straight talk about the risks of a no-deal Brexit.~JJL


A Danish bank is offering mortgages with negative interest rates ó why you shouldn’t wish for that to happen in the U.S.
Jacob Passy – MarketWatch
It’s safe to say that mortgage rates have never been lower in Denmark.
In fact, they’re now negative. Denmark’s Jyske Bank JYSKY-20.24% is now offering a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage at negative 0.5%. Additionally, Finland-based Nordea Bank announced Wednesday that it will offer a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage in Denmark that charges no interest, and the bank is preparing for the possibility of home loans up to 30 years in duration having negative rates. Currently, the rates on 30-year fixed mortgages average just 0.5% in Denmark.

****Oh I dunno…I am looking to buy a home and I think I could be ok with the bank paying me to take a loan.~JB


Monday’s Top Three
Our top story of the day on Monday was the FT piece, Trading floor culture remains a barrier for senior female staff. Second was Bloomberg’s What Negative Interest Rates Mean for the World. And third was the top story from Friday, Yahoo Finance’s Why Virtu Financial Stock Plunged Today


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Lead Stories

Why the good times are unlikely to last for exchange groups; Steady accumulation of assets across the trading spectrum raises risks
Philip Stafford – FT
Shares of CME Group and Intercontinental Exchange are at record highs, underscoring investors’ enthusiasm for companies that run the infrastructure for global markets. With equity capitalisations of $77bn and $52bn, respectively, the US duo are the most highly-valued of the clutch of trading venues specialising in stocks, bonds, futures, derivatives and foreign exchange. Over the past decade, the Dow Jones Global Exchanges index has produced total returns of 163 per cent, more than double the 79 per cent return for the MSCI World Banks index.

Former NYU Business School Standout, New to Wall Street, Charged With Insider Trading; Bill Tsai, 23-year-old analyst at RBC Capital Markets, arrested on criminal securities-fraud charges
Dave Michaels – WSJ
A new arrival to Wall Street and former student-body president at New York University’s Stern School of Business was charged with insider trading tied to a $1.7 billion buyout. Bill Tsai, a 23-year-old analyst at RBC Capital Markets, was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal securities fraud, according to federal prosecutors in New York. The Securities and Exchange Commission also sued Mr. Tsai Monday on civil claims.

SEC Delays Cryptocurrency ETF Decisions Amid Market Concerns
Vildana Hajric and Olivia Rinaldi – Bloomberg
Regulator asks for additional comments on Bitwise crypto fund; Bitcoin remains lower after announcements on fund delays
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission again delayed a decision on approving two Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, dealing another blow to those in the cryptocurrencies community holding on to the belief that a favorable decision was imminent.

CFTC Charges International Enterprise with Operating a $103 Million Fraudulent Binary Options Trading Scheme
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois charging five entities and four individuals with fraud relating to a global retail binary options enterprise that targeted and victimized U.S. residents. As alleged in the complaint, the defendants executed their unlawful scheme through internet websites using fictitious trade names such as BigOption, BinaryBook, and BinaryOnline.

Argentina’s 48% Stock Rout Second-Biggest in Past 70 Years
Sarah Ponczek – Bloomberg
Only Sri Lanka has suffered a worse single-day drop since 1950; South America nation endured similar one-day sell-off in 2002
The surprise outcome in Argentina’s primary vote roiled the nation’s financial markets, sending the S&P Merval Index plunging 48% in dollar terms.

Fears of Argentina Default Loom Large as Traders Dump Everything
Sydney Maki and Aline Oyamada – Bloomberg
Credit-default swaps spike as bond yields soar into distress; Peso drops to record, stocks plunge on Macri’s primary debacle
Argentina is once again on the cusp of a full-blown financial crisis. In the wake of President Mauricio Macri’s stunning rout in primary elections over the weekend, investors dumped its stocks, bonds and currency en masse, leaving much of Wall Street wondering whether the country was headed for yet another default.

Airport Cancels Flight Check-Ins: Hong Kong Update
Annie Lee, Yvonne Man and Sebastian Chau – Bloomberg
Demonstrators stage fifth day of sit-ins at busy terminal; Leader Carrie Lam warns city risks sliding toward ‘abyss’
Hong Kong’s airport halted check-ins for remaining departures for a second straight day, as embattled local leader Carrie Lam warned that the city risked sliding into an “abyss.”

Near Completion, World Trade Center Still Loses Money; Port Authority had envisioned ‘peace dividend’ benefiting bridges, tunnels and airports
Konrad Putzier – WSJ
New York City showed resilience when it rebuilt the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but the project was also supposed to generate profits that could go toward bridges, tunnels and airports.

After Crushing the London Whale, a Hedge-Fund Star Lost His Way
Hema Parmar and Nabila Ahmed – Bloomberg
Andrew Feldstein’s BlueMountain Capital is sold to an insurer; Weak performance including a PG&E flop led to big redemptions
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, hedge-fund titan Andrew Feldstein was hailed on Wall Street as one of the big winners.

Hong Kong’s Next Crisis May Be Economic as Protest Fallout Grows
Enda Curran, Jeanny Yu and Alfred Liu – Bloomberg
Anti-government demonstrators shut down the airport on Monday; City’s reputation as a premier financial hub is at risk
Hong Kong’s deepening political crisis now risks becoming an economic one. After protesters brought the city’s airport to a standstill on Monday, investors and business leaders are growing increasingly alarmed by the fallout from 10 weeks of anti-government demonstrations that show no sign of letting up.

Volcker Revamp to Ease Banks’ Trading Rules, Path to Investments
Jesse Hamilton and Benjamin Bain – Bloomberg
Votes on long-awaited parts of rule could come within days; Agencies also to propose pro-Wall Street tweaks on fund limits
Wall Street watchdogs are poised to take a major step toward overhauling Volcker Rule limits on banks’ ability to trade with their own funds, according to four people familiar with the effort, moving to ease post-crisis safeguards reviled by the industry.

Even in Death Jeffrey Epstein Haunts Les Wexner and His Former Wall Street Circle
Anders Melin, Tom Metcalf, and Katherine Burton – Bloomberg
Federal investigation continues, former associates brace; No expectations the Epstein scandal ‘will quietly disappear’
By the time Jeffrey Epstein died, the rich and powerful he’d courted for decades had finally abandoned him.

Israeli Firm Stole Millions Using Bogus Options, CFTC Says
Janan Hanna – Bloomberg
Four Israeli citizens and the financial firms they owned or operated were sued by U.S. securities regulators for allegedly using bogus swap and option trades to steal about $80 million from investors, including some Americans.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Eurex expands its global footprint together with Barclays
Barclays has joined EurexOTC Clear to support Eurex in expanding its distribution network in the U.S. In so doing, Barclays is the first European bank to offer Eurex’s OTC clearing services through its U.S. registered futures commission merchant (FCM) to U.S. clients. The first transaction has been already successfully cleared.

Some Stock Prices Delayed as Glitch Hits NYSE-Run Data Feed; Issue marks the latest in a series of tech problems for exchange
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
A key stock-market data feed run by the New York Stock Exchange suffered a technical glitch on Monday, leading to delays in releasing the end-of-day values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.

CurveGlobal and the curious case of the lost open interest; One-third short sterling plunge in open interest on CurveGlobal may signal more capital-sensitive times
Helen Bartholomew – Risk.net
For upstart exchanges, breaking into the futures market is no easy task. Incumbent bourses have a stranglehold on trading, creating clearly defined liquidity pools and leaving newcomers to fight for scraps as they struggle to establish critical mass. Earlier this year, recent entrant CurveGlobal seemed to be on its way to building momentum in three-month sterling Libor futures.

The World Federation Of Exchanges Responds To CPMI-IOSCO Paper On CCP Default Management Auctions
The purpose of the discussion paper is to facilitate the sharing of existing practices on default management auctions, and to foster dialogue on the key concepts, processes and operational aspects used by CCPs in planning and executing default management auctions.


Itiviti Partners With B3 To Expand The NYFIX Network In LATAM
Itiviti, a leading technology and service provider to financial institutions worldwide, has partnered with B3, the Brazilian stock exchange. This partnership will ensure reliable connectivity between global firms and B3 members.

Tradition partners with Numerix for FX data expansion; Interdealer broker Tradition is looking to expand FX data services due to increased client demand.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Interdealer broker Tradition has teamed up with analytics specialist Numerix to expand the quality and depth of its FX market data services.

FlexTrade Partners with ACA Technology to Provide Data On-Demand for Trade Surveillance – Integrates ACA’s Trade Surveillance Technology into FlexNOW EMS
FlexTrade (@FlexTrade) today announced it has partnered with ACA Technology Solutions (@ACACompliance) to help mutual clients manage their trade surveillance and compliance needs using ACA’s Decryptex surveillance technology and FlexNOW.

A FIX to the Post-Trade World
Tom Jordan – President & CEO at Jordan & Jordan
At the FIX Trading Community event in Chicago on July 25, 2019 hosted by Itiviti at The Library at 190 South LaSalle, a panel of five professionals from a large asset management firm, a large bank and technology providers were surrounded by 50,000 volumes of law books, flanked by soaring Palladian windows that frame dramatic views of Lake Michigan and the majestic status of Ceres. How could a panel on Post-Trade stand-up in that environment? Well, the panel did not disappoint.


tZERO Security Tokens Now Tradable by Non-Accredited Investors
tZERO, the global leader in blockchain innovation for capital markets, announced today that its preferred equity security tokens (TZROP), which were issued in a private placement in August 2018, and which have been traded by accredited investors since January 2019, are now available to be resold to non-accredited investors, too. Investors with an account at Dinosaur Financial, LLC may trade their tZERO security tokens on the PRO Securities alternative trading system (ATS).

Blade raises $4.3M from Coinbase, SV Angel to reshape cryptocurrency derivatives trading
Lucas Matney – Tech Crunch
Exchanges like Coinbase have ballooned in size by taking the mechanics of equity markets and fitting them to cryptocurrency markets, but as the space expands in its scope and craftiness, new exchanges trading asset classes native to cryptocurrency are taking off and attracting the attention of top Silicon Valley VCs. Oh, and Coinbase, too.

Payments Companies Like Square, Skrill And Circle Now Driving The Bitcoin Revolution
Darryn Pollock – Forbes
While Bitcoin flutters between being viewed as a store of value or a digital currency, veterans of the FinTech space, payments companies like Square, Skrill, PayPal and Circle are firmly honing in on driving the Bitcoin revolution.

What Happens To My Bitcoin When I Die? Simplifying Estate Planning Of Digital Assets
Jamie Hopkins – Forbes
The attention and money flowing into digital currencies have never been higher. Bitcoin has seen a resurgence in valuation in 2019 and Facebook continues to explore its own digital currency offering, Libra.

A Goldman Sachs Analyst Is Bullish on Bitcoin. But Is Goldman?
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
In a packet of slides sent to clients yesterday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. technical analyst Sheba Jafari said that Bitcoin could go up by 23% in the short term, and that later the coin could go even higher. That doesn’t mean the bank is bullish on Bitcoin, though. The views “are not an ‘official view’ of Goldman Sachs,” cautions a note introducing the 28-page packet of slides titled “The Charts That Matter Next Week.”

Congressional Research Service Finds Potential Blockchain Uses for Energy Sector
Daniel Kuhn – Coindesk
The U.S. Congressional Research Service has released a report detailing the potential uses for blockchain in the national energy sector. In a report published August 9, the legislators detailed the current state of energy consumption related to cryptocurrency mining, both nationally and internationally. They also explored possible ways to regulate the energy-intensive mining process and to integrate blockchain technology in current energy systems.

Exit Scams Swindled $3.1 Billion From Crypto Investors in 2019: Report
William Foxley – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency crime made good money last quarter, although less than in the first quarter of 2019. According to an initial release of CipherTrace’s Q2 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report to CoinDesk, aggregate crypto losses reached $4.3 billion this year. Hacking thefts amounted to $125 million, adding to a 2019 total of $227 million. Excluding the QuadrigaCX hacking of $195 million, hackers stole $161 million in Q1.

How This Company Is Pushing The Limits Of Blockchain Technology To Achieve Scalability
Joresa Blount – Forbes
Momentum is gaining among blockchain proponents that the next generation of applications, free from the centralized data monopoly of big tech, is just over the horizon. At the core of the race towards more scalable, decentralized applications (dApps) is the hope that recent advances in the underlying technology, ranging from sharding to proof-of-stake, can provide the type of infrastructure that these dApps need to become widely adopted.

Investors Who Lost Big in Poloniex Flash Crash Receive Bitcoin Refunds
William Foxley – Coindesk
Poloniex is now crediting trading fees to lenders who lost funds in a May market crash involving the obscure cryptocurrency ClAMS.


Trump’s Currency War Smacks of the 1930s; Too many have forgotten the searing pain of the last “uncoordinated break-up” of the world’s currency regime.
Stephen Mihm – Bloomberg
A trade war between China and the U.S. has become something bigger: a currency war. Beijing’s weakening of the yuan prompted the Treasury Department to brand it a “currency manipulator.” Central banks around the world, including Thailand, India and New Zealand, promptly followed China’s lead nonetheless.

Trump Is Making The Same Trade Mistake That Started The Great Depression
John Mauldin – Forbes
We all wonder if Trump’s trade actions are as random as they appear or if there is a broader strategy. Some of my contacts argue that the relatively strong U.S. economy allows the administration to take a harder line than would normally be advisable.

The World Turns, America Sleeps; Protest movements no longer fall within the U.S. field of vision.
Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
Since the protests in Hong Kong started two months ago, I have been struck by the coolness of the American response. I am referring not just to President Donald Trump, who has reiterated that the dispute is an internal Chinese matter. Both the social media I sample and the people I know have been fairly quiescent. I haven’t seen that much cheering and rooting for the protesters, nor have the major Democratic presidential candidates made a show of stressing their dissent from Trump on this issue.

Betting Markets See Warren As Likeliest Democratic Nominee for the First Time
Adam K. Raymond – NY Magazine
For the first time since the beginning of the Democratic presidential primary, Elizabeth Warren took the lead in PredictIt’s online betting markets over the weekend. Shares of the Massachusetts senator were going for as high 29 cents on Sunday, one cent more than Joe Biden’s. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders were a fairly distant third and fourth.

Farmers Reel After Sonny Perdue Mocks Them As ‘Whiners’ Amid Trade War Bankruptcies; Minnesota Farmers Union president calls the agriculture secretary’s dig “very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise.”
Mary Papenfuss – Huffington Post
America’s farmers have apparently been demoted by the Trump administration from “great patriots” to “whiners,” according to a tone-deaf joke by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Farmers, struggling with plunging income and bankruptcies amid President Donald Trump’s trade war, were stunned.


SEC Charges Investment Banking Analyst with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged an analyst at a large international investment bank with insider trading based on confidential information that he learned about Siris Capital Group’s plans to acquire Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (EFII).

ASIC’s responsible lending case dismissed by Federal Court
On 1 March 2017, ASIC commenced Federal Court proceedings against Westpac to test the responsible lending provisions of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) (17-048MR). The matter was heard in May 2019 and today Justice Perram handed down his decision.

Junior RBC analyst charged with insider trading; Bill Tsai allegedly made profits of almost $100,000 trading on confidential information
Kadhim Shubber – FT
A junior analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York has been arrested and charged with insider trading barely a year after joining the bank from college.

Investing and Trading

Bank Stocks Are Having a Rough August; So far, bank investors aren’t betting on a rebound
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
Falling interest rates, fears of a global economic slowdown and unrest in the Asian financial hub of Hong Kong have conspired to beat up bank stocks this month.

Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress.com Owner; Carrier sheds blogging site for nominal amount as part of media unit revamp
Sarah Krouse – WSJ
Verizon Communications Inc. VZ -0.16% has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress.com, unloading for a nominal amount a site that once fetched a purchase price of more than $1 billion.


BNY Mellon launches round-the-clock dealing for Irish ETFs; The new dealing services will enable distribution of Irish UCITS ETFs to the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
BNY Mellon has introduced extended dealing hours for Irish-domiciled exchange traded funds (ETFs) to enable global distribution of the products.

Vanguard ditches over two dozen stocks from ESG funds; Murdoch media companies among those ‘erroneously’ included in ethical ETFs
Billy Nauman – FT
A private prison operator, a gun manufacturer and Rupert Murdoch’s media groups are among a number of stocks that have been thrown out of Vanguard funds created to invest in companies with strong environmental, social and governance records.

African Americans underserved by U.S. banks: study
Imani Moise – Reuters
Many African Americans have difficulty accumulating savings in part because they lack access to mainstream financial services like banking, a new study on the contributing factors to the U.S. racial wealth gap by McKinsey & Co found on Tuesday.

Vanguard Put Gun Stocks in a Gun-Free Fund After Index Error
Emily Chasan, Annie Massa and Rachel Evans – Bloomberg
Fund shop apologized to shareholders, called exposure ‘modest’; Error raises questions about the rapid growth in ESG products
Vanguard Group Inc.’s biggest sustainable exchange-traded fund bought shares of gun maker Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc. and held them for more than a month, mimicking an error in the benchmark it tracks.


Investors would be wise to be wary of Chinese assets
Diana Choyleva – FT
Bridgewater Associates did not become the world’s largest hedge fund by getting many big bets wrong. But the firm’s founder, Ray Dalio, is mistaken in arguing that now is the time to buy into China. Far from it. For two sets of reasons ó one external, one made at home ó Beijing is facing the sternest test yet of its economic development model.

New Zealand legalises salaries paid in cryptocurrencies; Tax ruling brings digital currencies in line with mainstream forms of payment
Nikou Asgari – FT
New Zealand has become the first country legally to back companies that are paying employees in cryptocurrencies, in a move that brings the oft-maligned asset class in line with mainstream forms of payment.

As Gold Surges, So Does Illegal Mining Tied to Crime and Illness
Laura Millan Lombrana, David Biller and Felix Njini – Bloomberg
Fragile environments at risk from the Amazon to South Africa; Native people suffer from threats, danger, mercury poisoning
The gold rally fueled by the U.S.-China trade war is unleashing a growing wave of illegal miners who are increasingly pushing into fragile environments that range from Latin America’s Amazon to South Africa.

Shares shunted after Argentina crash, safe-havens shine
Marc Jones – Reuters
Share markets fell for a third straight day on Tuesday as fears about a drawn out global trade war, protests in Hong Kong and a crash in Argentina’s peso currency kept investors huddled in bonds, gold, and the Japanese yen for safety.

Sweltering Texas Is Most Expensive Place to Buy Power in America
Millicent Dent and Naureen S Malik – Bloomberg
Electricity averaged $6,537.45 a megawatt-hour on Texas grid; Heat to peak on Tuesday, after temperatures top 100 degrees
The extreme heat that sent electricity demand and power prices surging to record levels in Texas on Monday is threatening to do it all over again Tuesday.


Bolton Says U.S. Strongly Backs Brexit Even if No EU Deal Is Reached; Trump’s national security adviser held meetings in London on trade, defense
Vivian Salama – WSJ
President Trump’s national security adviser said he told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson the administration would strongly support the U.K.’s exit from the European Union in late Octoberódeal or no deal.

German financial sector ‘expects No Deal’ and wants no more concessions from EU
Justin Huggler – The Telegraph
The German financial sector expects a No Deal Brexit and does not believe the European Union should make any further concessions to the UK to prevent one, a respected survey has found.


Tourism Is Eating the World; Congestion taxes seem like the inevitable answer.
Noah Smith – Bloomberg
In 1953, mountaineers Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first confirmed summiting of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. Recently, Everest has grown so popular that photos are surfacing showing huge lines of climbers waiting to surmount that same peak. On rarefied ground where once only Norgay and Hillary tread, now climbers are dying because of overcrowding.

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