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John Lothian Newsletter: Global fund managers face multi-asset skills shortage; Party Talk: Broker Chat With Libyans About Partying in Morocco; Delayed payments system stalls yuan’s global ambitions

What is the John Lothian Newsletter? Edited by John Lothian and Jon Matte, our flagship newsletter provides daily news and commentary about the global exchange traded derivatives, securities and related OTC markets. The newsletter is offered on a voluntary pay basis. If you find it useful, we ask that you pay for it. Free for students and journalists. Subscribe  Make a Payment

First Read

World Of Opportunity Chicago 2014: Tim McDermott (Promo)

Our MarketsWiki World of Opportunity Summer Intern Education Series in Chicago is quickly approaching. Tim McDermott, CEO of Nadex, will be discussing his career path in the financial industry and how his experiences have helped shape his career today.
For more information on the event and how to register, click here.

Watch the video »


How to Improve Market Structure
The United States has the deepest and most liquid stock market in the world. Over the last decade, regulation, technological advancements and competition have created an equity market structure that is easier to access and far more affordable for investors, including retail investors. The result is a strong market system that helps Americans achieve financial security and provides companies with access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

****Curt Bradbury is chief operating officer of Stephens Inc. and chairman of the market structure task force of the board of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or Sifma. Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr. is president and chief executive of Sifma.


Empty Floors Fray Traders’ Nerves; Is This a Temporary Slump or a Lasting Shift?
By Katy Burne, Justin Baer and Saabrira Chaudhuri, WSJ
UBS AG’s trading floor in Stamford, Conn., once teemed with traders occupying a space equal to two football fields. The Guinness World Records recognized it as the biggest such facility on the planet. And the Swiss bank used it to showcase its Wall Street credentials.
Stu Taylor, a former UBS managing director in trading who now runs trading-technology company Algomi Ltd., remembers when guests were brought around the gallery regularly. “It was very much a showpiece,” he said.

***** Aaron Lucchetti of the Wall Street Journal retweeted this story and said, “If you are a Wall Street trader, hearing echoes is a bad sign.” That about says it all.


Revved Up: CME Europe’s Knottenbelt Says Currencies Just The Beginning

CME Europe launched in March with an eye on currencies. William Knottenbelt, head of European business operations for CME Group and the CEO of CME Europe, says that the exchange has a core group of seven clearing members with more on the way and its currency products are positioned well for the market. And that, he says, is just the beginning for the European exchange.

“We’re starting now to see the volume beginning to come into the market,” Knottenbelt told JLN at the IDX conference in London. “As we get more and more clearing members and execution members coming on board, we’re getting a good flow of business and we just see that building.”

Watch the video »


Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) Appoints Stephan Wolf As CEO
The Directors of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) announce the appointment of Stephan Wolf as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GLEIF. Wolf currently holds the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Member of the Executive Board, Interactive Data Managed Solutions AG.

***** The first thing they did was give him a GLEI, which is “Steve.”


CME, Thomson Reuters win battle to replace century-old silver benchmark
By Clara Denina and Jan Harvey, Reuters
CME Group and Thomson Reuters will operate an electronic silver benchmark when the 117-year-old “fix” is disbanded in August, in a move widely seen preceding sweeping reforms of precious metals price-setting.

***** The fix in Chicago means something different.


CME delivers first physical aluminum contract
Joe Parsons, FOW
Chicago-based exchange to challenge the LME’s dominance of metals trading. CME Group is set to deliver the first lot of its North American aluminum futures, marking a milestone in the Merc’s challenge to the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) dominance of global metals. According to a delivery notice, CME’s precious metals platform Comex recorded a total of 201 metric tons (eight contracts)

***** After a summer weekend of beer drinking, I might be able to make the delivery.


DGCX Crosses Five Million Contracts in the first half of 2014
Precious metal contracts grow 7% in H1
Gold futures grow 21% in June
Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) crossed five million contracts in the first half of the year. The Exchange ended H1 2014 having registered more than 5.75 million contracts, with a value of over $172 billion.

***** This is one of those times when the word “crosses” is not a good choice. There are trades and there are crosses.


The Existential Crisis of the Nickel Broker-Dealer
by Joshua M Brown , The Reformed Broker
Bank of New York Mellon’s Brian Shea made some surprisingly candid comments to the Pershing correspondent broker-dealers present at a conference this summer. The gist of his talk seems to have been that models need to change and choices about what services to provide and to whom need to be decided. Before the disruption comes to make these choices for them.

***** The number of disappearing broker-dealers since 2008 is staggering.


Bridging the Week by Gary DeWaal: July 7 to 11 and 14, 2014 (MF Global Again; HFT Again and Again; ESMA, Position Limits)
By Gary DeWaal, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Halloween seems to have come early as old ghosts haunted the financial services industry last week with different forums again addressing market structure and high frequency trading, and one court issuing a ruling in a malpractice lawsuit arising from the demise of MF Global in October 2011.

***DA: For more on the week’s issues, visit Katten Law’s Corporate and Financial Weekly


Panorama of Options Opens Up for the Drone
New sensors and software mean that unmanned aircraft have an optimistic future in the commercial arena
UNMANNED AIRCRAFT, first designed for militaries, have been given a host of new sensors and software to make them more useful—and safe—as they enter the commercial market.

***** Non-market story, but something to watch. Drones are getting better and better.



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Companies, Organizations and Groups

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50,982,540 pages viewed, 7,992 articles, 184,384 edits
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Lead Stories

Global fund managers face multi-asset skills shortage
By Olivia Hardy and Yousra Elbagir, Reuters
Global fund management firms are struggling with a skills shortage as the industry moves towards multi-asset investing in an attempt to improve returns, a study showed on Monday.

Party Talk: Broker Chat With Libyans About Partying in Morocco
by David Enrich, WSJ MoneyBeat
As authorities look into brokers’ efforts to win business in Libya, they are scouring thousands of pages of transcripts of electronic-chat sessions and emails. The transcripts, some of them reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, show London-based brokers from Switzerland-based Tradition Financial Services discussing ways to impress their Libyan clients, including taking them on trips to Marrakesh, Morocco, and inviting them to a London lingerie-modeling party. The transcripts also show brokers recounting some of this entertainment in graphic terms, interspersed with snippets of market talk. Here are some edited excerpts. All typos are as written.

Delayed payments system stalls yuan’s global ambitions
South Chine Morning Post
Roll-out of CIPS network won’t be ready before 2016 due to technical glitches and policy snags

Investigators Probe the Ways a Swiss Broker Courted Libyan Business; U.S., U.K. Look at Tradition Financial Services and Parties Held for Libyan Officials in Marrakesh
By David Enrich, Michael Rothfeld and Margaret Coker, WSJ
At a luxury villa in the Moroccan desert, an international brokerage firm hosted getaways for Libyans connected to the country’s oil-rich sovereign-wealth funds. The men spent their days lounging poolside and nights partying at clubs in Marrakesh.

SEC Suspends Cynk Technology Stock; But Which Way Was The Manipulation Working?
By Tim Worstall, Forbes
As everyone expected it would (and the only people wondering were those puzzled as to why it hadn’t happened sooner) the SEC has stepped in and suspended trade in the stock of Cynk Technology. This is the company with negative net assets, no turnover, a barely functioning website and a stock market valuation that soared, at one point, to $6 billion.

A Call for Stricter Takeover Rules in Britain
LONDON – Vince Cable, the British business secretary, is calling for stricter rules to regulate acquisitions of British companies by overseas competitors.

Junior traders offered immunity in forex probe
By Daniel Schäfer and Caroline Binham in London and Kara Scannell in New York, FT
US prosecutors are offering immunity deals to junior traders in London as they try to gather evidence against banks and more senior staff in the investigation into alleged currency market manipulation.

U.S. prosecutors offer junior UK traders immunity in forex probe: FT
Prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice are offering immunity deals to junior traders in London as they continue to investigate the alleged rigging of foreign exchange rates by banks and senior traders, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.

Dark pool scrutiny no slam dunk for traditional exchanges
By Lionel Laurent and Clare Hutchison, Reuters
* Regulators raise awareness of risks at some types of trading venue
* Exchanges will need work, effort to pull back share
* More volume seen increasing fees, data revenue
* Big fund managers still see appeal in dark pools
The regulatory noose is tightening around dark pools, private share-trading venues that promise anonymity for specialist investors, offering a chance for rival exchanges in the United States and Europe to take back market share.

Dark pool probe builds pressure on Barclays boss
By Steve Slater, Reuters
* NY lawsuit alleges Barclays equities dark pool deceived some customers
* Barclays is conducting its own investigation into the allegations
* Barclays boss has vowed to close areas where misconduct is found
* The equities business is an area he had planned to keep
Barclays boss Antony Jenkins faces one of the biggest tests of his leadership this month when he decides whether the bank, Britain’s third largest, should fight accusations it deceived and defrauded customers in the United States.

Wall Street’s need for speed spurs debate
By Peter Schroeder, The Hill
The explosion of high-frequency trading in recent years has chipped away at public confidence in financial markets and forced regulators to up their game to keep up with traders seeking a millisecond edge.
Accusations that lightning-quick traders are gaining an unfair advantage have hurt Wall Street’s public image, but the question of whether the technology is harming ordinary investors is a matter of fierce debate.

Grumbling foreign banks bend to US rules
Financiers may grumble that the United States is acting like an imperial power in punishing foreign banks for dealings far beyond U.S. territory, but in the end they are more likely to bow to Washington than kick against its dollar muscle.


Bundesbank concerned by U.S. penalties for European banks
The Bundesbank is concerned by penalties European banks are paying the United States to settle investigations into sanctions violations involving Sudan, Iran and Cuba, Spiegel magazine reported, quoting an official at the German central bank.

Temporary restriction in short selling – extension
The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) notifies that it extends the temporary prohibition in short selling applied on 11 July 2014 under Article 23 (2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps. This follows a decision made by another EU Competent Authority.

SIFMA Statement On ‘Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act’
SIFMA today issued the following statement from Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA president and CEO, on the “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014″ (S. 2588), which was passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week:

National Futures Association: Composition of Board — Proposed Amendments to NFA’s Articles of Incorporation to Increase CPO/CTA Representation on NFA’s Board of Directors
National Futures Association: Composition of Board — Proposed Amendments to NFA’s Articles of Incorporation to Increase CPO/CTA Representation on NFA’s Board of Directors

SEC, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney, and FBI Charge Five with Attempted Manipulation of Microcap Company
The Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation today announced charges against five individuals whose attempt to manipulate shares of Boston-based Amogear Inc. was caught by an FBI undercover operation.

CFTC Seeking Public Comment on Request from ICE Clear Europe Limited for Order Permitting Portfolio Margining of Futures and Foreign Futures Contracts
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) is requesting public comment on a petition submitted by ICE Clear Europe Limited (ICE Clear Europe) for an order regarding Section 4d(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act (Act).

SEC Charges Group of Amateur Golfers in Insider Trading Ring
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a group of friends, most of them golfing buddies, who made more than $554,000 of illegal profits from trading on inside information about Massachusetts-based American Superconductor Corporation.

CFTC Staff Issues Time-Limited No-Action Relief for Futures Commission Merchants from Requirement to Obtain an Acknowledgement Letter from Certain Depositories
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (Commission) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) recently announced in a no-action letter that DSIO will provide additional time for futures commission merchants (FCMs) to comply with Commission regulations requiring FCMs to obtain acknowledgement letters from certain depositories. DSIO will provide no-action relief until October 17, 2014.

The Financial Conduct Authority consults on guidance to clarify the boundary between different investment advice models
Guidance to support firms which want to provide simplified advice or sales without a recommendation has been published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today. The guidance has been issued following ongoing FCA policy work and the output from a thematic review into the growth of new advice models, including simplified advice.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

CME Group Statement
CME Group
LONDON, July 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — CME Group, today released the following statement regarding the London Bullion Market Association’s London Silver Price Market Consultation: “We are honoured to have been appointed by the OTC silver market participants and the London Bullion Markets Association to provide an electronic solution that will transform the London OTC silver spot price,” said William Knottenbelt, Senior Managing Director, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) for CME Group. “CME Group’s transparent, transaction-based OTC auction platform, combined with Thomson Reuters’ independent Benchmark Administration services will deliver a strong London footprint, a deep understanding of the silver markets, and a fully IOSCO-compliant, FCA-regulated solution to the London bullion marketplace. As an industry leader in precious metals price discovery, we understand how important the silver spot benchmark is to the physical metals industry, and we look forward to continuing to engage with key metals industry stakeholders to deliver our new solution on August 15th.”

ICE Brent Crude Benchmark Sets New Daily Volume Record
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced that ICE Brent Crude futures achieved a daily volume record of 1,451,481 contracts on July 11, 2014. The previous daily volume record was 1,221,190 on June 23, 2011.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Prudent valuation vs confidence accounting
By David Rowe
As the financial crisis showed, the market sometimes does not know what something is worth. David Rowe argues explicit estimates of value uncertainty would be a better way of addressing this than so-called prudent valuations

As some high-risk assets take a hit, investors fear worse is to come
By David Gaffen and Jennifer Ablan, Reuters
World financial markets became reacquainted with fear last week, and even if it was short-lived, the ructions in some riskier assets looked to some like a precursor to a much rougher ride down the road.

Singapore economy contracts in Q2 amid broad-based weakness
By Jeremy Grant in Singapore, FT
Singapore’s economy contracted on a quarterly basis for the first time in two years, in a sign that the tiny Asian nation is struggling to improve productivity at a time of weaker labour force growth as the government weans it off years of dependence on foreign workers.

Banks & Brokers

Goldman Sachs Declares Preferred Stock Dividends
Goldman Sachs
NEW YORK, July 11, 2014 — The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) today announced that it has declared dividends on the following series of its non-cumulative preferred stock

Holder to Cite Citigroup’s ‘Egregious’ Misconduct in Mortgage Settlement; Citigroup Expected to Settle Mortgage Probe for $7 Billion on Monday
By Andrew Grossman, WSJ
WASHINGTON— Citigroup Inc. C +0.21% committed “egregious” misconduct by covering up problems with loans it was packaging into securities and selling to investors, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to say Monday when the Justice Department announces a $7 billion settlement with the bank to resolve the government’s mortgage probe.

Clearing & Settlement

BATS Chi-X Europe Extends Interoperable Clearing To Include Exchange Traded Funds – First European Exchange To Offer Participants Greater Clearing
LONDON – 14 July 2014 – BATS Chi-X Europe (BATS), Europe’s leading stock exchange, has extended interoperable clearing to include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded products (ETPs), as it continues its campaign to address inefficiencies in the European market so as to increase participation and liquidity for all investors and traders.

Indexes & Products

S&P warns on hidden risks in corporate loan market
By?Tracy?Alloway?in?New?York, FT
Ultra-low interest rates and a tidal wave of liquidity unleashed by central banks are masking dangers in the market for corporate loans as investors willingly give up protections to lend to riskier companies, Standard & Poor’s has warned.


Updata Launches ‘Integrate’ Database Tool for Firms to Chart In-House Data
Faye Kilburn,
UK-based technical analysis software provider Updata has released a new tool, dubbed Updata Integrate, which maps data from client firms’ in-house databases to the vendor’s Professional analytics workstation, enabling users to display their own data in Updata’s charts and visual analytics.


CalPERS Ex-CEO Buenrostro Guilty Plea Explains Why Bankers Make So Much Money
By Tim Worstall, Forbes
The ex-CEO of CalPERS, Fred Buenrostro, has just pleaded guilty to accepting doucers, cash bribes and fees for placing investment business with a specific firm. The economic point that this helps us elucidate is why bankers and fund managers make such vast incomes normally. It’s a concept called “efficiency wages”.

Citigroup to Pay $7 Billion to Resolve Mortgage Probe; Settlement Includes $4 Billion Fine
By Saabira Chaudhuri And Christina Rexrode, WSJ
Citigroup Inc. said it will pay $7 billion to settle the government’s accusations that it misled investors about the quality of mortgage securities it sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Environmental & Energy

Pollution Permits to Gain 28% as EU Cuts Supply Glut
Mathew Carr and Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg
European pollution permit prices are poised to rise as lawmakers work on a proposal to permanently cut a record supply in their system.

***LB: Also in this story “UBS AG in Zurich says prices will rise 71 percent, while Paris-based Société Générale SA expects gains of about 11 percent.”

Europe risks ?significant? gas shortages this winter
Peggy Hollinger, Christian Oliver and Jack Farchy, Financial Times
Europe faces a ?significant risk? of gas shortages this winter if there is any disruption to Russian supplies through Ukraine, one of the continent?s leading energy executives has warned.

UK cities will exceed EU pollution limits until 2030, figures show
Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
Air pollution levels in London, Birmingham, and Leeds will exceed European limits until at least 2030, newly-published figures show.


Japan Exchange Group And Bank Of China Sign A Memorandum Of Understanding
On June 11 Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) and Bank of China Limited (BOC) signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding (MOU) on establishing and developing a yuan-denominated financial instruments market in Japan.

China gives regulatory approval for iron ore, thermal coal swaps -sources
China’s central bank has approved the launch of the country’s first iron ore and thermal coal swap contracts, two industry sources said on Monday, giving industry participants new financial tools to hedge the risk of volatile prices.

Japan’s samurai bond issuance on track to set record this year
By Lisa Twaronite, Reuters
Japan’s samurai bond market is on track for a record year, as low issuance costs and yield-starved Japanese investors tempt more foreign companies to issue yen-denominated debt.

Thai Bourse Launches Code Of Conduct Handbook For IR Professionals

SEC to tighten rules for securities firms
Nuntawun Polkuamdee, Bangkok Post
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to tighten the net capital rule governing securities firms with the aim of upgrading the brokerage industry to meet international standards.

Consolidation way forward for brokerage sector
by Enoch Yiu, South Chine Morning Post
Brokers are complaining that government policy has caused them to lose out to fund houses, which have done well in recent years.

How do rich Chinese elude foreign exchange laws to move their money abroad? Take your pick of ways
Keira Lu Huang, South China Morning Post
A number of methods exist to circumvent Chinese restrictions on individual foreign exchange, from the complex to the very simple

Frontier Markets

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) Monthly Statistical Report June 2014
Total number of listed companies on the main market amounted to 214 at the end of June 2014. Meanwhile, the number of listed companies on Nilex reached 25 at the end of the month.

Amman Stock Exchange: Project Of Updating The Electronic Trading System
Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) represented by Mr. Marwan Al-Bataineh, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Nader Azar, the Acting CEO and Eng. Adel Abu Assaf, the Head of Information and Communication Technology Department participated in the UTP-Hybrid Launch Workshop, held in Paris / France during 16 -17 June, 2014. The Workshop was attended by the ASE and Muscat Securities Market, Beirut Stock Exchange and Bourse De Tunis. During the workshop all the details related to the project such as signing final contracts, and discussing practical procedures to develop the new system were discussed.

MCX paid Rs.600 cr CTT
The Business Standard
Major impact was seen on MCX because most of the volumes have been happening in metals and precious metals and energy
In last 12 months from July ’13 to June ’14 government is understood to have collected total Rs.680 to Rs.700 crore from the tax on commodities traded on recognized national commodity exchanges. Known as Commodity transactions tax (CTT) it was imposed effective July 2013 and initially government had estimated Rs.900 to 1000 crore revenues which has fallen short.

FTIL might exit MCX this week
the Business Standard
Market sources say a binding agreement to sell 15% stake could be signed this week for a share price Rs 700-750
On the one hand, Financial Technologies, the promoter of Multi-Commodity Exchange, is strongly opposing the latter’s move to transfer its stake to an escrow account and is fighting the case in the Bombay High Court. On the other, it has started selling its stake in the open market.


Swiss Chocolate Maker Lindt Will Buy Russell Stover Candies
LONDON – The Swiss chocolate maker Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli said on Monday that it had reached an agreement to acquire Russell Stover Candies, the American maker of boxed chocolates.

Wall Street excesses threaten U.S. economy
By Mark Connolly,
Is the U.S. stock market a rigged game? I am often asked this question. This concern re-surfaced in earnest this past spring with the release of Michael Lewis’s book, “Flash Boys,” a well-written examination of how Wall Street routinely manipulates our stock and bond markets. Lewis’ prior book, “The Big Short,” also created quite a stir upon its publication in 2010 because it describes Wall Street’s frenetic and self-dealing environment that in large part led to the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

Jeff Bergstrom
Jeff Bergstrom CIO & Editor Bergstrom is chief information officer of John J. Lothian & Co. He edits MarketsWiki and JLN Options. Author Archive  |  MarketsWiki Bio  |  LinkedIn  |  Email